There'll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight
|"A Hot Time In The Old Town"|
Sheet music cover (1896).
|Songwriter(s)||Composer: Theodore A. Metz|
Lyricist: Joe Hayden
"A Hot Time in the Old Town", also titled as "There’ll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight", is an American popular song, copyrighted and perhaps composed in 1896 by Theodore August Metz with lyrics by Joe Hayden. Metz was the band leader of the McIntyre and Heath Minstrels.
One history of the song reports: "While on tour with the McIntyre and Heath Minstrels, their train arrived at a place called 'Old Town'. From their train window, [Metz] could see a group of children starting a fire, near the tracks. One of the other minstrels remarked that 'there'll be a hot time in the old town tonight'. Metz noted the remark on a scrap of paper, intending to write a march with that motif. He did indeed write the march the very next day. It was then used by the McIntyre and Heath Minstrels in their Street parades."
An alternative suggestion is that Metz first heard the tune played in about 1893 at Babe Connor's brothel, known as the Castle, in St Louis, Missouri, where it was one of the songs performed by the entertainer known as Mama Lou (or Mammy Lou), with pianist Tom Turpin.
And yet one more version is Metz and his Minstrels were in Hot Springs, SD, where Joe Hayden worked at the Evans Hotel. Hayden had the song from his "growing up" days in New Orleans, and he and Metz sat down and wrote the first version of "Hot Time" for a re-dedication ceremony for the local Chautauqua Park and Entertainment Center. The tale is part of the 2015 book And The Wind Whispered.
According to a 1930s newspaper report, Mama Lou's original lyrics went: "Late last night about ten o'clock / I knocked at the door and the door was locked / I peeked through the blinds, thought my baby was dead / There was another man in the folding bed....". Metz heard the tune, copyrighted the music in his own name, and had it incorporated into a minstrel show, Tuxedo Girls, with revised lyrics.
In popular culture
Films and musicals
- The song appears as an instrumental at the very end of the New Year's Eve scene in the stage and 1936 film versions of the musical Show Boat.
- The song is also featured in Citizen Kane (1941), in the line: "are we going to declare war on Spain or are we not?".
- Portions of the song are heard at various points throughout John Ford's film, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962).
- The Joker sings the title line from this song in a scene where he uses his "joy buzzer" to electrocute the character Antoine Rotelli in the film Batman (1989).
- Catwoman directly refers to the song title as Selina Kyle, while asking Bruce Wayne if he plans to attend the tree relighting ceremony in the film Batman Returns (1992).
- The melody was used for "The Chewing Song" in the Columbia Pictures film The Road to Wellville (1994).
The song was a favorite of the American military's around the start of the 20th century, particularly during the Spanish–American War and the Boxer Rebellion. The tune became popular in the military after it was used as a theme by Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders.
- The song is now frequently sung by fans of the Chicago Fire Soccer Club of Major League Soccer during matches, with lyrics reflecting the legend of Catherine O'Leary's cow's alleged role in the team's namesake, the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The Great Fire coincidentally burned much of the Old Town, Chicago neighborhood, where the Chicago Fire Soccer Club held their first team practice in 1998 at the Moody Bible Institute.
- The Eastern Illinois University marching band plays the song in conjunction with their fight song at athletic events.
- The chorus is used at the University of Kansas immediately after every touchdown in football and following each basketball game, during "The Waving of the Wheat".
- The song has been tradition at the University of Wisconsin since the late 1890s, when a Wisconsin-flavored arrangement was made. The University of Wisconsin Marching Band plays this arrangement regularly at sporting events, including the beginning of each period in hockey and basketball, and following touchdowns at football games. Prior to the adoption of "The Victors" as the University of Michigan's official fight song, it was considered to be Michigan's school song.
- Texas A&M University's "Aggie War Hymn" currently uses the chorus of this song as its finale, but it is sung with different lyrics.
- In 1964, the song was played for laughs at a "very" slow tempo by the Hooterville Volunteer Fire Department Band on the American sitcoms Petticoat Junction and Green Acres.
- The song is sung by Fozzie Bear and an ensemble (featuring some of the cast of Sesame Street) during the finale of a fifth season episode of The Muppet Show guest-starring Marty Feldman.
- Richard Nixon's 1968 U.S. Presidential campaign used part of the song (set to images of celebratory clips from the 1968 Democratic National Convention) mixed with more dissonant sounds accompanying pictures of poverty-stricken areas, soldiers wounded in Vietnam, and the recent unrest, including the riots at that same Convention.
- The song was played in the pilot episode of The Brady Bunch Variety Hour
- "Theodore Metz". A Composer's and Lyricists Database. Archived from the original on April 2, 2003.
- "The Fabulous Babe Connors". 1889 Victorian House Restoration (Reprint from an unknown newspaper ed.). 1930s.
- Cooperman, Jeannette (September 19, 2014). "Babe & Priscilla". St Louis. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
- Wright, John Aaron (2002). Discovering African American St. Louis: A Guide to Historic Sites. Missouri History Museum. pp. 11–12. ISBN 9781883982454.
- Finson, Jon W. (1997). The Voices That Are Gone: Themes in Nineteenth-Century American Popular Song. Oxford University Press. p. 222. ISBN 9780195354324. Retrieved July 25, 2012.
- "Quotes". Batman. 1989.
- Browne. The Story of Our National Ballads. p. 208. "The witchery of this tune was such, that during our brief war with Spain, the Spaniards in Cuba were quite convinced that our National Anthem was named 'There'll be a Hot Time in the Old Town To-night.' At all events, the frolicsome tones of this unpretentious popular song are the most intimately associated of any, with the already dimming recollections of that 'whirlwind campaign'."
- Tucker, Spencer C. (editor) (2009). The Encyclopedia of the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars: A Political, Social, and Military History. p. 768.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link) ABC-CLIO
- Victor Military Band (1917). "Hot Time in the Old Town". Library of Congress. .mp3 recording
- "ItemID 286". Section8chicago.com. Retrieved 2016-07-26.
- "Music: 'Hot Time'". badgerband.com. Archived from the original on 2007-12-30. Retrieved 2007-11-05.
- "Hot Time (Cheer, Boys, Cheer!)". University of Wisconsin Marching Band.
- "University of Michigan - Michiganensian Yearbook (Ann Arbor, MI), Class of 1999". E-yearbook.com. p. 186. Retrieved 2016-07-26.
- "Commercials - 1968 - Convention". The Living Room Candidate. Retrieved 2016-07-26.
- Browne, C.A. (1919). The Story of Our National Ballads. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company.
- Hayden, Joe & Metz, Theo A. Metz (m.) (1896). A Hot Time in the Old Town (sheet music). New York: Willis Woodward & Co.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
- Performing Arts Encyclopedia. Library of Congress.
- "A Hot Time in the Old Town". msstate.edu.
- "A Hot Time in the Old Town - The Band On a Vintage Truck". YouTube. Sedalia, MO. June 2007. Video.
- "The Charles Templeton Digital Sheet Music Collection". Mississippi State University.