Show Me the Way to Go Home

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"Show Me the Way to Go Home" is a popular song written in 1925 by the pseudonymous "Irving King" (the English songwriting team James Campbell and Reginald Connelly). The song is said to have been written on a train journey from London by Campbell and Connelly. They were tired from the traveling and had a few alcoholic drinks during the journey, hence the lyrics. The song is in common use in England, Ireland, Scotland and North America.

Lyrics[edit]

Show me the way to go home
I'm tired and I want to go to bed
I had a little drink about an hour ago
And it’s gone right to my head
Wherever I may roam
On land or sea or foam
You can always hear me singing this song
Show me the way to go home.

Publication[edit]

The music and lyrics were written in 1925 by Jimmy Campbell and Reg Connelly. They self-published the sheet music and it became their first big success, selling 2 million copies and providing the financial basis of their publishing firm, Campbell, Connelly & Co.[1] Campbell and Connelly published the sheet music and recorded the song under the pseudonym "Irving King".[2]

The song was recorded by several artists in the 1920s, including radio personalities The Happiness Boys,[2] Vincent Lopez and his Orchestra,[2] and the California Ramblers.[3] Throughout the twentieth into the twenty-first century it has been recorded by numerous artists.

Popular culture[edit]

Literature[edit]

  • Referenced several times in Norman Mailer's 1948 novel The Naked and the Dead.
  • George Orwell references the song in his 1934 novel Burmese Days.
  • Brick, a main character of the Tennessee Williams play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, sings this song toward the end while drinking liquor, leaving out the line "And it's gone right to my head" and the last two lines due to dialogue between other characters.
  • Albert Wendt references the song, slightly and purposefully revising it in his first novel, Sons For the Return Home (1973)

Film[edit]

Television[edit]

  • In the premiere episode of the World War II TV show Combat!, "Forgotten Front", Albert Paulsen plays a captured German soldier who shows his love for American music by singing this song.
  • In an episode of Family Guy ("A Fish out of Water"), where Peter and his friends are on his boat hunting a feared fish, they recreate the scene from Jaws and sing this song as they become weary.
  • The character Harry Hewitt sings a portion of this song in a drunken stupor in an early episode of Coronation Street, transmitted in early 1961.
  • Davy Jones sings this during the "Listen To The Band/Chaos" segment of The Monkees TV special "33 and a 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee" (NBC, 1968.)
  • In an episode of Red Dwarf ("Thanks for the Memory"), the main characters get drunk after finding a planet with a breathable atmosphere, afterwards singing the song while piloting a shuttle back to the ship, altering the words "And it's gone right to my head" with "To celebrate Rimmer's death" (BBC2, 1988.)
  • In the Babylon 5 episode "Meditations on the Abyss", Garibaldi is singing this to himself while he is very drunk.
  • In the English dub version of Ghost Stories, one of the main characters uses this song as a chant to trap a ghost.
  • In a season 3 episode of Lost ("Stranger in a Strange Land"), Sawyer sings this while paddling a boat with Kate back to the main island.
  • In the final episode of The Heavy Water War, Julie sings this song at a farewell party for the Norwegians.

Popular Music[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ J. J. Kennedy (4 November 2011). The Man Who Wrote the Teddy Bears' Picnic: How Irish-Born Lyricist and Composer Jimmy Kennedy Became One of the Twentieth Century's Finest Songwriters. AuthorHouse. p. 46. ISBN 978-1-4678-8569-0. 
  2. ^ a b c Marvin E. Paymer; Don E. Post (1999). Sentimental Journey: Intimate Portraits of America's Great Popular Songs, 1920-1945. Noble House Publishers. p. 80. ISBN 978-1-881907-09-1. 
  3. ^ Howard T. Weiner (6 November 2008). Early Twentieth-Century Brass Idioms: Art, Jazz, and Other Popular Traditions. Scarecrow Press. p. 115. ISBN 978-0-8108-6246-3. 
  4. ^ "Frank Crumit Collection 1925-1934 (COMPLETE)". 78 RPMs and Cylinder Recordings. Internet Archive. Retrieved 15 February 2015.