Hail, Hail, the Gang's All Here

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Hail, Hail, the Gang's All Here is an American popular song first published in 1917. The lyrics were written by D. A. Esrom (pseudonym of Theodora Morse) to a tune originally written by Arthur Sullivan[1] for the 1879 comic opera The Pirates of Penzance. The tune occurs in Act II as part of "With Cat-Like Tread" and echoes the Anvil Chorus from Giuseppe Verdi's opera Il Trovatore.[2][3]

Hail, hail, the gang's all here
What the heck do we care
What the heck do we care
Hail, hail, the gang's all here
What the heck do we care now

(Original lyrics by W. S. Gilbert)

Come, friends, who plough the sea
Truce to navigation
Take another station
Let's vary piracy
With a little burglary

It appears that the lyric "Hail, hail, the gang's all here" had unofficially been added to Sullivan's melody many years before 1917. It was referenced in American newspapers as a familiar song as early as 1898, sung at political and other gatherings.[4][5] A Philadelphia Inquirer news item from April 1, 1898, for example, stated that during a raucous meeting, members of the Philadelphia Common Council loudly sang, "Hail, hail, the gang's all here, what the h--- do we care! What the h--- do we care!"[6][7] Likewise, a Delaware state legislature session in March 1901 was disrupted when Democratic members loudly sang the song.[8][9] The title line of the song is also quoted in the closing measures of the 1915 song "Alabama Jubilee".[10]

The song is referred to in Kurt Vonnegut's book, Slaughterhouse-Five: "The door was flung open from inside. Light leaped out through the door, escaped from prison at 186,000 miles per second. Out marched fifty middle-aged Englishmen. They were singing "Hail, Hail, the Gang's All Here" from the Pirates of Penzance."[11]

By the 1950s, the chorus of the song (with revised lyrics) had become popular in Irish and Scottish communities as being part of "The Celtic Song", sung by the fans of Glasgow Celtic in Scotland and later other teams. Glen Daly recorded an "official version" of "The Celtic Song" that is commonly played at Celtic Park prior to matches.[12]

External resources[edit]


  1. ^ Hail, Hail, the Gang's All Here. Worldcat. 1917. OCLC 60677181. Retrieved 4 October 2014.
  2. ^ William Berger (23 June 2010). Verdi With a Vengeance: An Energetic Guide to the Life and Complete Works of the King of Opera. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. p. 286. ISBN 978-0-307-75633-6.
  3. ^ Richard Taruskin (14 August 2006). "12". Music in the Nineteenth Century: The Oxford History of Western Music. Oxford University Press. pp. 596–597. ISBN 978-0-19-979602-1. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  4. ^ "Creamery Men Here - Two Hundred and Forty-One in the Excursion". Newspapers.com. The Wichita Daily Eagle. 26 February 1898. p. 6. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  5. ^ "Keep Griffin Under Cover". Newspapers.com. The St. Paul Globe (Minnesota). 16 April 1898. p. 2. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  6. ^ "Riotous Commoners: Scenes of Disorder in the Lower Chamber". Newspapers.com. The Philadelphia Inquirer. 1 April 1898. p. 2. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  7. ^ "Riotous Commoners: Scenes of Disorder in the Lower Chamber," Philadelphia Inquirer, April 1, 1898, p. 2
  8. ^ "Delaware Deadlock Bars Election of U.S. Senators". Newspapers.com. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. 8 March 1901. p. 2. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  9. ^ "Wild Times in Dover," Batavia (NY) Spirit of the Times, March 1901
  10. ^ "Alabama Jubilee (Lyrics)". International Lyrics Playground. lyricsplayground.com. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  11. ^ Kurt Vonnegut (11 August 2009). "5". Slaughterhouse-Five: A Novel (Dial Press Trade Paperback ed.). Random House Publishing Group. p. 118. ISBN 978-0-440-33906-9.
  12. ^ "Songs - History of Hail Hail and The Celtic Song". The Celtic Wiki (Celtic Football Club). Retrieved 23 October 2018.