There's a Long Long Trail A-Winding

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"There's a Long, Long Trail"
Song
Published 1914
Composer(s) Alonzo Elliot
Lyricist(s) Stoddard King

"There's a Long, Long Trail" is a popular song of World War I. The lyrics were by Stoddard King (1889–1933) and the music by Alonzo "Zo" Elliott, both seniors at Yale.[1] It was published in London in 1914, but a December, 1913 copyright for the music is claimed by Zo Elliott.

In Elliott's own words to Marc Drogin shortly before his death in 1964, he created the music as an idle pursuit one day in his dorm room at Yale in 1913. King walked in, liked the music and suggested a first line. Elliott sang out the second, and so they went through the lyrics. And they performed it—with trepidation—before the fraternity that evening. The interview was published as an article in the New Haven Register and later reprinted in Yankee Magazine. It then appeared on page 103 of "The Best of Yankee Magazine" ISBN 0-89909-079-6 In the interview, he recalled the day and the odd circumstances that led to the creation of this historic song.

1914 Sheet Music Edition

Lyrics[edit]

THERE'S A LONG, LONG TRAIL

Nights are growing very lonely,
Days are very long;
I'm a-growing weary only
List'ning for your song.
Old remembrances are thronging
Thro' my memory
Till it seems the world is full of dreams
Just to call you back to me.

Chorus:

There's a long, long trail a-winding
Into the land of my dreams,
Where the nightingales are singing
And the white moon beams.
There's a long, long night of waiting
Until my dreams all come true;
Till the day when I'll be going down
That long, long trail with you.


All night long I hear you calling,
Calling sweet and low;
Seem to hear your footsteps falling,
Ev'ry where I go.
Tho' the road between us stretches
Many a weary mile,
I forget that you're not with me yet
When I think I see you smile.

Chorus:

There's a long, long trail a-winding
Into the land of my dreams,
Where the nightingales are singing
And the white moon beams.
There's a long, long night of waiting
Until my dreams all come true;
Till the day when I'll be going down
That long, long trail with you.

(From the 1914 sheet music)

Recordings[edit]

  • James Reed and James F. Harrison (single) 1915
  • George W. Ballard (Edison Diamond Disk) 1916
  • John McCormack (single) 1917, mp3 and lyrics at [1]
  • Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby sang it as a duet on radio in the 1950s.
  • New Victory Band on One More Dance and Then (1978) as "Long, Long Trail"
  • Roberts and Barrand on A Present from the Gentlemen (1992) as "Long, Long Tail" in "Great War Trilogy"
  • Friends of Fiddler's Green on The Road to Mandalay (1994) as "The Long, Long, Trail"
  • Sons of the Pioneers 1941
  • Harp and a monkey recorded a version called 'Long, long Trail' on their 2016 'War Stories' album using the choruses and melody from the original song. The verses used a spoken word story by a woman from Rochdale recounting the story of her father being wounded in World War I.


Film[edit]

  • There's a Long, Long Trail (1926) by H. Brian White. Black and white animated cartoon.
  • Smilin' Through (1941). Sung by Jeanette MacDonald with a male chorus.
  • For Me and My Gal (1942). Sung by The King's Men.
  • Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944). Sung by officers and guests in Goodbye Dance scene.
  • Oh What A Lovely War (1969) by Richard Attenborough.
  • "Escape from Tomorrow" (2013) chorus sung by Roy Abramsohn.

Television[edit]

Fiction[edit]

  • In The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain, the first two verses of the chorus are quoted at the beginning of Chapter 7. (ISBN 0-679-72325-0 (pbk.), p. 39).
  • In author Russell Kirk's short story "There's a Long, Long Trail A-Winding".
  • In John Dos Passos's novel, 1919, the lyric is featured in Newsreel XXII.
  • in R.C. Sheriffs play, "Journeys End", the song is sung in Act 3, Scene 3.

External links[edit]

Words of the chorus appear at the end of Anthony Powell's Dance to the Music of Time: Third Movement

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Long, Long Trail". Retrieved 2008-02-03.