"It's a Long Way to Tipperary" is a British music hall song written in 1912 by Jack Judge and Henry James "Harry" Williams.
In fact it had been written 3 years earlier, and then put aside as "It's A Long Way To Connemara", a ballad to appeal to the Irish emigrants, who were missing their homeland.
Here's a photograph of the 2 composers Judge (left) and Williams (right):
Harry Williams ' It's A Long Way To Tipperary came to life because of a bet | Daily Mail Online
The song was allegedly written for a 5-shilling bet in Stalybridge on 30 January 1912 and performed the next night at the local music hall. Jack Judge, who took the bet, fished out "Connemara" from the original song and rewrote it as a marching song.
Now commonly called "It's a Long Way to Tipperary", the original printed music calls it "It's a Long, Long Way to Tipperary."
Here's the sheet music
It's a long, long way to Tipperary (n1187) - Historic American Sheet Music - Duke Libraries
096.186 - It's a Long, Long Way to Tipperary. The Song They Sing as They March Along. | Levy Music Collection
First sung on the British music hall stage in 1912 by Jack Judge at the Grand Theatre in Stalybridge and later popularised by the music hall star Florrie Forde.
In 1914 it became popular among soldiers in the First World War and is remembered as a song of that war.
It's a Long Way to Tipperary - Wikipedia
According to the Alan Kelly Archive, the first recording of the song was only 1 month after it was published. The Alan Kelly Archives can be consulted here: Simple Search
(o) Harry Fay (1913) (as "It's A Long Way To Tipperary")
Recorded November 15, 1912
Matrix: y 16010 e (X-2-42505)
Released July 1913 on Zonophone 1070
SEE PAGE 66 IN THE NEXT CATALOGUE:
78 RPM - Harry Fay - It's A Long Way To Tipperary / P.C. 49 - Zonophone - UK - 1070
Listen here (many thanks to John from Geelong for uploading it on YT)
(c) Ted Yorke (=Jack Charman) (1913)
Recorded ca May 1913
Matrix 3610 (fact # 636)
Released June 1913 on The Winner label # 2482
Ted Yorke / H. Cove* And T. Yorke* - It's A Long, Long Way To Tipperary / You're My Baby (Shellac) at Discogs
In 1915, when the song became world-famous, one of the 2 composers, Jack Judge, also recorded a version on the The Winner label.
(c) Jack Judge (1915)
Recorded ca. August 1915
Matrix: 4712-2 (fact # 1689)
Released October 1915 on The Winner label # 2875
Listen here (many thanks to Norman Field for uploading it on YT)
(c) Stanley Kirkby (=James Baker) (1913)
Recorded ca March 1913 in London
Released June 1913 on Columbia 2163
Re-released in May 1914 on Regal G 6671
78 RPM - Stanley Kirkby - Where Shall We Go To-Night? / It's A Long Way To Tipperary - Regal - UK - G 6671
Also released in 1914 in the USA on Columbia # A 1608
Stanley Kirkby / Columbia Band - It's A Long, Long Way To Tipperary / Old Comrades March (Shellac) at Discogs
Columbia matrix 28490. It's a long, long way to Tipperary / Stanley Kirkby - Discography of American Historical Recordings
And re-released in the USA on Oxford 28490
Stanley Kirkby also recorded the song for the Jumbo and Scala Record labels
Recorded 1914 in London
Released on Jumbo A 410 and Scala Record # 609 (SEE NEXT LINK: Scala)
(c) Mr. Will Thompson (1913) (as "Long, Long Way To Tipperary")
Released after September 1913 on Invicta # 275
78 RPM - Mr Will Thompson - Long, Long Way To Tipperary / I'm Lonesome - Invicta - UK - 275
Also recorded in 1914 on Clarion Cylinder # 825
Clarion Record: 825.. W. [Will] Thompson. | UCSB Cylinder Audio Archive
Listen here: cylinders.library.ucsb.edu/mp3s/9000/9596/cusb-cyl9596d.mp3
(c) Bob Cannon (=Alf Gordon) (1913)
Recorded November 11, 1913
Matrix X-2-42798 (ak 17168 e)
Released January 1914 on Cinch 5160
78 RPM - Bob Cannon - It's A Long Way To Tipperary / What A Game It Is, Wow ! Wow ! - Cinch - UK - 5160
During the First World War, Daily Mail correspondent George Curnock saw the Irish regiment the Connaught Rangers singing this song as they marched through Boulogne on 13 August 1914 and reported it on 18 August 1914. The song was quickly picked up by other units of the British Army, who even recorded it.
(c) Descriptive Record (1914) (as "British troops passing through Boulogne")
Medley incorporating soldiers singing "It's A Long, Long Way To Tipperary".
Recorded August 28, 1914 in Hayes, Middlesex, England
Matrix ak 18232 e
Released on His Master's Voice 9473 in the UK
SEE PAGE 207 OF THE HMV CATALOGUE:
This version was also released in the USA on Victor 17696.
Gramophone matrix ak18232e. British troops passing through Boulogne / Gramophone Company Orchestra ; [Gramophone Company] Chorus - Discography of American Historical Recordings
(c) Cecilian Quartette (1914)
Cecilian Quartette = Pike, Wilde, Gardner, Howe
Recorded September 25, 1914 in London
Released on His Master's Voice 2-4206
SEE PAGE 113 OF THE NEXT CATALOGUE:
Listen here: It's a long, long way to Tipperary / The Cecilian quartette | Gallica
In the USA the song was also a big success with 2 versions topping the US charts.
(c) American Quartet (1914) (No. 1 US Hit)
Recorded September 15, 1914 in Camden, New Jersey
Released on Victor 17639.
78 RPM - American Quartet - It's A Long, Long Way To Tipperary / Soldiers Of The King - Victor - USA - 17639
Victor matrix B-15190. It's a long, long way to Tipperary / American Quartet - Discography of American Historical Recordings
(c) Albert Farrington (1915) (No. 8 US Hit)
Recorded September 29, 1914
Released on Edison Blue Amberol # 2487
78 RPM - Albert Farrington - It's A Long, Long Way To Tipperary - Edison Blue Amberol - USA - 2487
Also released on Edison Disc # 50184
Recorded September 16, 1914
Albert Farrington And Male Chorus* / Joseph A. Phillips - It's A Long, Long Way To Tipperary / The Soldiers Of The King (Edison Disc) at Discogs
Listen here: https://ia800202.us.archive.org/15/items/AlbertFarrington/AlbertFarrington-ItsaLongLongWaytoTipperary1915a.mp3
(c) John McCormack (1914) (No. 1 US Hit)
Recorded November, 23, 1914
Released on Victor 64476
Victor matrix B-15415. It's a long, long way to Tipperary / John McCormack - Discography of American Historical Recordings
It's a Long, Long Way to Tipperary : John McCormack with Male Chorus : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive
Listen here: It's a Long, Long Way to Tipperay - John McCormack with Male Chorus.mp3
John McCormack's version is also featured in the Collectors Anniversary Edition of the soundtrack "Titanic: Music from the Motion Picture" (2012).
James Horner - Titanic (Music From The Motion Picture) (Collectors Anniversary Edition) (CD, Album) at Discogs
(c) Willem Kila and Jos Schouten (1914/1915)
Released on Jumbo Record # 16685
78 RPM - Willem Kila And Jos. Schouten - It's A Long Way To Tipperary / De Blauwe Kiel - Jumbo - Netherlands - 16685
(c) Gid Tanner and his Skillet Lickers (1927)
Recorded October 31, 1927 in Atlanta, Georgia
Released on Columbia 15249-D
Gid Tanner And His Skillet-Lickers* With Riley Puckett And Clayton McMichen - It's A Long Way To Tipperary / Bile Them Cabbage Down (Shellac) at Discogs
Columbia matrix W145050. It's a long way to Tipperary / Clayton McMichen ; Riley Puckett ; Skillet Lickers ; Gid Tanner - Discography of American Historical Recordings
In 1927 the University Dance Orchestra (in fact the Grey Gull Studio Orchestra) recorded a reworking of "It's A Long Way To Tipperary", using "Connemara" as the place of destination.
And as we saw above "Connemara" was in fact the place used in the very first incarnation of the song.
(c) Universal Dance Orchestra (1927) (as "Carry Me Back To Connemara")
Listen here; GreyGullStudioBand 78rpm Carry Me Back To Connemara.mp3
During the Second World War "Tipperary" was again a big support for soldiers far from their homes.
(c) Bob Crosby's Bob Cats (1942)
Recorded January 29, 1942 in Los Angeles
Released on Decca 18355
Bob Crosby's Bob Cats* - It's A Long, Long Way To Tipperary / Sweethearts On Parade (Shellac) at Discogs
It's a Long, Long Way to Tipperary : Bob Crosby's Bob Cats : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive
Listen here: its-a-long-long-way-to-tipperary_bob-crosbys-bob-cats.mp3
(c) Dinah Shore and Bing Crosby (1943)
Recorded fall 1943
Released on V-Disc # 24B
V-Disc Recordings - Page One
It's a Long, Long Way to Tipperary, Dinah Shore & Bing Crosby (1943)
Listen here: Its_A_Long_Long_Way_To_Tipperary-Dinah_Shore-Bing_Crosby-vdisc24b.mp3
(c) Lt. (USMC) Bob Crosby and his V-Disc Bob-Cats (1945)
Released December 1945 on V-Disc # 554B
78 RPM - Louis Prima - Just A Gigolo (I Ain't Got Nobody) / It's A Long Way To Tipperary - V Disc - USA - 554
Louis Prima And His Orchestra / Lt Bob Crosby (USMC) And His V-Disc Bob Cats /* - Just A Gigolo / It's A Long Way To Tipperary (Vinyl) at Discogs
Listen here (at 4 min and 25 sec in the YT below)
(c) Jimmy Dorsey and his Original "Dorseyland" Jazz Band (1950)
Recorded Mar. 7, 1950
Released on Columbia 38879
78 RPM - Jimmy Dorsey - It's A Long, Long Way To Tipperary / You Don't Have To Be A Baby To Cry - Columbia - USA - 38879
A piano version of the song is performed by Schroeder in TV's "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" (1966) in which Snoopy dances when the song is played jauntily, but cries and sobs (and howls) when the song is played sadly and mournfully or wistfully.
Watch it here (at 57 sec in the YT below)
(c) Tiny Tim (1969)
with Harry Roy and his Band recorded on the David Frost TV show.
78 RPM - Tiny Tim - There'll Always Be An England / Bless 'em All - Reprise - UK - RS27004
In 1977 Bill Caddick wrote a song about the history of "the writing of Tipperary", incorporating a version of "It's A Long Way To Tipperary"at the end.
It's the last track on his album "Sunny Memories".
Bill Caddick - Sunny Memories (Vinyl, LP, Album) at Discogs
(c) Pete Townshend (1983) (as "Tipperary")
Vinyl Album - Pete Townshend - Scoop - Atco - USA
In 2000 June Tabor covered Bill Caddick's version.
(c) June Tabor (2000)
June Tabor - A Quiet Eye (CD, Album) at Discogs
There was always a bit of a debate over who acually wrote the song, but nowadays Henry James "Harry" Williams is officially credited as co-composer of the song.
Song that won war: It's a long way to Tipperary and a long time to pay royalties - Mirror Online
I'd like to thank Norman Field for supplying me with some data in this post, and John from Geelong for uploading the Harry Fay YT
More versions here:
Cover versions of It's a Long, Long Way to Tipperary written by Jack Judge, Harry Williams | SecondHandSongs
The Originals © by Arnold Rypens - IT'S A LONG, LONG WAY TO TIPPERARY