American SocialHistory Project · Center forMedia and Learning
Reproduced below are the lyrics to America's best-known World War I song, "Over There." Written by George M. Cohan, the song was widely performed by various artists (initially by Charles King) from its publication in 1917. Cohan later recalled that the words and music to the song came to him while traveling by train from New Rochelle to New York shortly after the U.S. had declared war against Germany in April 1917. Just as "It's a Long Way to Tipperary" was a smash-hit success during the early days of the war in Europe, so "Over There" proved a nationwide hit in the months immediately following America's enthusiastic entry into the war. Cohan himself was formally recognized by Congress with the award of the U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor - albeit in 1940.
Johnnie, get your gun, Get your gun, get your gun, Take it on the run, On the run, on the run. Hear them calling, you and me, Every son of liberty. Hurry right away, No delay, go today, Make your daddy glad To have had such a lad. Tell your sweetheart not to pine, To be proud her boy's in line. (chorus sung twice)
Johnnie, get your gun, Get your gun, get your gun, Johnnie show the Hun Who's a son of a gun. Hoist the flag and let her fly, Yankee Doodle do or die. Pack your little kit, Show your grit, do your bit. Yankee to the ranks, From the towns and the tanks. Make your mother proud of you, And the old Red, White and Blue. (chorus sung twice)
Chorus Over there, over there, Send the word, send the word over there - That the Yanks are coming, The Yanks are coming, The drums rum-tumming Ev'rywhere. So prepare, say a pray'r, Send the word, send the word to beware. We'll be over, we're coming over, And we won't come back till it's over Over there.
Source | George M. Cohan, "Over There," recording, 1917, http://www.firstworldwar.com/audio/overthere.htm Creator | George M. Cohan Composer | George M. Cohan Lyricist | George M. Cohan Item Type | Music/Song Cite This document | George M. Cohan, “"Over There",” SHEC: Resources for Teachers, accessed October 26, 2021, https://shec.ashp.cuny.edu/items/show/847.