Friday, February 25, 2005

Johnny's Got A Gun


You are all probably familiar with the old song "When Johnny comes marching home" - it goes like this:

When Johnny comes marching home again, hurrah, hurrah!
We'll give him a hearty welcome then, hurrah, hurrah!
The men will cheer, the boys will shout, the ladies they will all turn out
and we'll all feel gay when Johnny comes marching home.

The old church bell will peal with joy, hurrah, hurrah!
To welcome home our darling boy, hurrah, hurrah!
The village lads and lassies say, wit hroses they will strew the way
and we'll all feel gay when Johnny comes marching home.

Get ready for the jubilee, hurrah, hurrah!
We'll give the hero three times three, hurrah, hurrah!
The laurel wreath is ready now to place upon his loyal brow,
and we'll all feel gay when Johnny comes marchig home.

What you probably do not know is that these lyrics were ordered by the US government during the WWI. These lyrics were made to replace the original, the much grimmer song that inspired the book and later the movie "Johnny Got A Gun". I can't remember now for sure, but the melody, I believe, is in the background of both the movie "Johnny Got A Gun" and the later movie "Dr.Strangelove". Here is one version of the original lyrics, transcribed from "This Is Judy Bright", the most cherished album I ever had (DOT records, 1964 - if anyone knows if Ms.Bright ever recorded anything else, or if she's alive, or if the album has been released on CD, please let me know):


With guns and drums and drums and guns, hurroo, hurroo
With guns and drums and drums and guns, hurroo, hurroo
With guns and drums and drums and guns, the enemy nearly slew ya
Oh, my darling dear you look so queer-a, Johnny I hardly knew ya.

It's glad I am too see ya home, hurroo, hurroo
It's glad I am too see ya home, hurroo, hurroo
It's glad I am too see ya home, back from the island of Ceylon,
Oh, so low in flesh, so high in bone, Johnny I hardly knew ya.

Where are those eyes that were so bright, hurroo, hurroo
Where are those eyes that were so bright, hurroo, hurroo
Where are those eyes that were so bright, when first my heart they beguiled
Oh, why did you run from me and the child-a, Johnny I hardly knew ya.

You haven't an arm you haven't a leg, hurroo, hurroo
You haven't an arm you haven't a leg, hurroo, hurroo
You haven't an arm you haven't a leg, you're a hopeless shell of a man on a peg
And you got to be put to a bowl to beg, Johnny I hardly knew ya.


They're rolling out the guns again, hurroo, hurroo
They're rolling out the guns again, hurroo, hurroo
They're rolling out the guns again, but they'll never take our sons again,
Oh, they'll never take our sons again, Johnny I'm swearing to ya.

posted by Bora Zivkovic @ 9:48 AM | permalink | (2 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink