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"It's a Long Way to Tipperary" is a Britishmarker music hall and marching song written by Jack Judge (and co-credited but not co-written by Harry Williams (Henry James Williams)) that, allegedly, was written for a 5 shilling bet in Stalybridgemarker, on the 30 January 1912 and performed the next night at the local music hall. Judge's parents were Irish, and his grandparents came from Tipperarymarker.

Initial popularity

During the First World War the Irish regiment the Connaught Rangers were witnessed singing this song as they marched through Boulognemarker on 13 August 1914 by the Daily Mail correspondent George Curnock, who reported the event in that newspaper on 18 August 1914. The song was then picked up by other units of the British Army. In November 1914 it was recorded by the well-known tenor John McCormack, which helped contribute to its world-wide popularity.

In 1917, a Miss Alice Smyth Burton Jay sued song publishers Chapell & Co. for $100,000, alleging that the original music was written by her in 1908, for a song played at the Alaska-Yukon Fair promoting the Washington apple industry. The chorus began "I'm on my way to Yakima." The court selected Victor Herbert to act as expert advisor and, in 1920, dismissed the suit, based on evidence that the authors of Tipperary had never been to Seattle, and on testimony from Victor Herbert that the two songs were not so similar as to suggest piracy.


One of the most popular hits of the time, the song is typical in that it is not a war-like song, which incites the soldiers to glorious deeds. Popular songs in previous wars (such as the Boer war) frequently did this. In the first world war however, the most popular songs like this one and "Keep the Home Fires Burning" concentrated on the longing for home.


First sung on the British music hall stage in 1913 by Florrie Forde, it was featured as one of the songs in the 1960s stage musical and film Oh! What a Lovely War and the 1970 musical Darling Lili, sung by Julie Andrews. It was also sung by the prisoners of war in Jean Renoir's film La Grande Illusion, by the crew of U-96 in Wolfgang Petersen's Das Boot (that particular arrangement was performed by the Red Army Choir), as background music in The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming, and by the newsroom staff in the final episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. It is also the second part (the other two being Has Anyone Seen the Colonel? and Mademoiselle from Armentières) of the regimental march of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry. Mystery Science Theater 3000 used it twice, once for the final television episode, then sung again by Crow T. Robot in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie. It is also sung by British soldiers in the film The Travelling Players directed by the Theo Angelopoulos. Also sung by Czechmarker soldiers in the movie Černí baroni.

This song is not to be confused with a popular song from 1907 simply titled "Tipperary". Both were sung at different times by early recording star Billy Murray. Murray, with the American Quartet, sang "It's A Long Way To Tipperary" as a straightforward march, complete with brass, drums and cymbals, with a quick bar of "Rule Britannia" thrown into the instrumental interlude between the first and second verse-chorus combination[90860].

The song is often cited when documentary footage of World War I is presented. One example of its use is in the annual TV special It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Snoopy (who fancies himself as World War I flying ace) dances to a medley of WWI-era songs played by Schroeder. This song is included, and at that point Snoopy falls into a left-right-left marching pace. Schroeder also played this song in Snoopy Come Home at Snoopy's party. And Snoopy himself, in a series of strips about his going to the 1968 Winter Olympics was seen singing the song himself out loud.

The German U-boat crew sings the song as they start patrolling in the North Atlantic ocean to disturb convoy traffic to Britain, (morale is then boosted in the boat) in the World War II film Das Boot. The crew also sing it as they cruise toward home port after near disaster.

The song is the topic of Bill Caddick's song "The Writing of Tipperary," which was recorded by June Tabor on her 2000 CD "A Quiet Eye."

Verses as sung in early versions

Up to mighty London
Came an Irishman one day
As the streets are paved with gold
Sure, everyone was gay
Singing songs of Piccadillymarker,
Strandmarker and Leicester Squaremarker
Till Paddy got excited
Then he shouted to them there...

It's a long way to Tipperary,
It's a long way to go.
It's a long way to Tipperary
To the sweetest girl I know!
Goodbye Piccadilly,
Farewell Leicester Square!
It's a long long way to Tipperary,
But my heart's right there.


Paddy wrote a letter
To his Irish Molly-O,
Saying, "Should you not receive it
Write and let me know!"
"If I make mistakes in spelling,
Molly dear," said he,
"Remember, it's the pen that's bad,
Don't lay the blame on me!

It's a long way to Tipperary,
It's a long way to go.
It's a long way to Tipperary
To the sweetest girl I know!
Goodbye Piccadilly,
Farewell Leicester Square!
It's a long long way to Tipperary,
But my heart's right there.

Molly wrote a neat reply
To Irish Paddy-O
Saying Mike Maloney
Wants to marry me and so
Leave the Strand and Piccadilly
Or you'll be to blame
For love has fairly drove me silly:
Hoping you're the same!

It's a long way to Tipperary,
It's a long way to go.
It's a long way to Tipperary
To the sweetest girl I know!
Goodbye Piccadilly,
Farewell Leicester Square!
It's a long long way to Tipperary,
But my heart's right there...

An alternative concluding chorus, bawdy by contemporaneous standards:

That's the wrong way to tickle Mary
That's the wrong way to kiss
Don't you know that over here lad
They like it best like this
Hooray pour Les Francois
Farewell Angleterre
We didn't know how to tickle Mary
But we learnt how over there.

Other versions and adaptations

The Kannadiga playwright and poet, T.P. Kailasam, as part of a wager from a British friend, translated the song into Kannada, adding witty Kannada-specific lyrics. The resulting song, "Namma Tipparahalli balu Doora" (Halli meaning "village" in Kannada), is a popular song in Karnatakamarker.

The University of Missourimarker uses a version of "It's A Long Way To Tipperary" as a fight song, renamed "Every True Son/Daughter" [90861].

See also


External links

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