Essential Question: What can we learn from the lyric of popular songs of 1776?

Songs and Symbols of the United States of America

Musical Baby Bears.png

America the Beautiful.png

The Flag Day Project

You're a Grand Old Flag.png
Click on the image to hear the music

There's a feeling comes a stealing and sets my brain a reeling,
When I'm list'ning to the music of a military band.
Any tune like "Yankee Doodle" simply sets me off my noodle,
It's that patriotic something that no-one can understand.
"Way down South in the land of cotton," melody untiring,
Ain't that inspiring!
Hurrah! Hurrah! We'll join the jubilee,
And that's going some for the Yankees, by gum!
Red, White and Blue,
I am for you,
Honest you're a grand old rag.
You're a grand old flag, tho' you're torn to rag,
And forever in peace may you wave.
You're the emblem of the land I love,
The home of the free and the brave.
Ev'ry heart beats true under Red, White and Blue,
Where there's never a boast or a brag;
"But should auld acquaintance be forgot,"
Keep your eye on the grand old flag.
I'm no cranky, hanky panky, I'm a dead square honest Yankee,
And I'm mighty proud of that old flag that flies for Uncle Sam.
Though I don't believe in raving ev'ry time I see it waving,
There's a chill runs up my back that makes me glad I'm what I am.
Here's a land with a million soldiers, that's if we should need 'em,
We'll fight for freedom!
Hurrah! Hurrah! For ev'ry Yankee Tar
And old G.A.R., ev'ry stripe, ev'ry star.
Red, White and Blue,
Hats off to you,
Honest you're a grand old rag.

By George M. Cohan, 1906

Source: Library of Congress

Dueling "Yankee Doodle Dandies"

Click here to listen and read the lyrics

The song "Yankee Doodle" was a favorite of both the British soldiers and the British-born colonists in 1776. As a matter of fact, both sides had different verses that they sang AT each other! Look at the differences in the lyrics of both versions.

Yankee Doodle Contrast.png

"The Rich Lady Over the Sea" - The Lionel Train Show - Sing an American Sog

This song was sung by the American colonists as a protest against the British tax on tea.

Click here to listen to the music and read the lyrics.

"The Girl I Left Behind Me"

This song is just wonderful. No wonder it was beloved in its day.

The Girl I Left Behind Me.png
Painting by Eastman Johnson, The Girl I Left Behind Me, 1870-75

Photo Source

Click here to listen and read the lyrics

"Barbara Allen"

Ever wonder what song George Washington danced to with his wife at the Victory Ball? It was very probably this one song, "Barbara Allen". It was the most popular song of its day.

Victory Ball.png
Painting by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris

Roud and Bishop described the song, Barbara Allen, as, "...far and away the most widely collected song in the English language — equally popular in England, Scotland and Ireland, and with hundreds of versions collected over the years in North America."

(Roud, Steve & Julia Bishop (2012). The New Penguin Book of Folk Songs. Penguin. pp. 406–7. ISBN 978-0-141-19461-5.)

Barbara Allen.png

Photo Source

Click here to listen and read the lyrics

"The Ballad of Bunker Hill"

Bunker Hill.png
The Battle of Bunker Hill by Percy Moran (1909)

Photo Source

Click here to listen and read the lyrics

"The Cruel War"

The song was sung in the 1960's by Peter, Paul and Mary, but originated far earlier.

Click here to listen and read the lyrics

"The World Turned Upside Down"

It is believed that this song was played by the British troops when General Cornwallis surrendered to General George Washington on October 19, 1781, effectively ending the American Revolutionary War.

Screen Shot 2013-07-04 at 6.46.50 PM.png

Photo Source

Click here to listen and read the lyrics

Note that the Colonists reportedly played "Yankee Doodle Dandy" in response! Take that!

Dancing in 1776

British Dancers 1776.png

Popular Songs of the 1860's

Green Grow the Lilacs.png Clementine short.png

Sweet Betsey From Pike.png I've Been Working on the Railroad.png