Over There

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"Over There"
1917 sheet music cover with Nora Bayes
Song by Nora Bayes
GenreWar-time song , March , Tin Pan Alley
Songwriter(s)George M. Cohan

"Over There" is a 1917 song written by George M. Cohan that was popular with the United States military and public during both world wars. It is a patriotic song designed to galvanize American young men to enlist and fight the "Hun". The song is best remembered for a line in its chorus: "The Yanks are coming."[1]


It has been revived on various occasions during and after World War II.[1] It was not heavily used during the Vietnam War, but has been used since the September 11 terrorist attacks.[2]


Sheet music from 1917 featuring sailor William J. Reilly of the USS Michigan.
Cover drawing of soldiers from sketch by Henry Hutt.

As sung by early 20th century recording artist Billy Murray:

Verse 1

Johnny,[3] 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.

Verse 2

Johnny, get your gun, get your gun, get your gun.
Johnny, show the "Hun"[4] you're a son-of-a-gun.
Hoist the flag and let her fly
Yankee Doodle[5] do or die.
Pack your little kit, show your grit, do your bit.
Yankee[6] to the ranks from the towns and the tanks.[7]
Make your Mother proud of you
And the old red-white-and-blue[8]


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 everywhere.
So prepare, say a prayer,
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.

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Mondello, Bob (December 20, 2018). "George M. Cohan, 'The Man Who Created Broadway,' Was An Anthem Machine". American Anthem. NPR. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
  2. ^ *Collins, Ace (2003). Songs Sung, Red, White, and Blue: The Stories Behind America's Best-Loved Patriotic Songs. HarperResource. ISBN 0060513047., pages 138-145.
  3. ^ "Johnny" is a very common English given name and is used to address any anonymous man or men.
  4. ^ Now usually sung "Johnny on the run...".
  5. ^ Now usually sung as "Like true heroes..."
  6. ^ Now usually sung as "Soldiers..."
  7. ^ Short for "tank town", meaning any town so small its primary purpose was to provide water for steam locomotives.
  8. ^ Now usually sung as "And to liberty be true."

External links[edit]