You're A Grand Old Flag

Marie Sharp

Joined March 2008

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You’re a grand old flag,
You’re a high flying flag
And forever in peace may you wave.
You’re the emblem of
The land I love,
The home of the free and the brave.
Music and lyrics by George M. Cohan

“You’re a Grand Old Flag” is a patriotic song of the United States. The song, a spirited march written by George M. Cohan, is a tribute to the U.S. flag. In addition to obvious references to the flag, it incorporates snippets of other popular songs, including one of his own. Cohan wrote it in 1906 for George Washington, Jr., his stage musical.

The song was first publicly performed on February 6, the play’s opening night, at Herald Square Theater in New York City. “You’re a Grand Old Flag” quickly became the first song from a musical to sell over a million copies of sheet music.

The original lyric for this perennial George M. Cohan favorite came, as Cohan later explained, from an encounter he had with a Civil War veteran who fought at Gettysburg. The two men found themselves next to each other and Cohan noticed the vet held a carefully folded but ragged old flag. The man reportedly then turned to Cohan and said, “She’s a grand old rag.” Cohan thought it was a great line and originally named his tune “You’re a Grand Old Rag.” So many groups and individuals objected to calling the flag a “rag,” however, that he “gave ’em what they wanted” and switched words, renaming the song “You’re a Grand Old Flag.”
In the play itself, the scene with the Civil War soldier was replicated. The soldier’s comment was the lead-in to this song. Thus the first version of the chorus began, “You’re a grand old rag / You’re a high-flying flag”. Despite Cohan’s efforts to pull that version, some artists such as Billy Murray recorded it under its original title, “The Grand Old Rag”. Cohan’s second attempt at writing the chorus began, “You’re a grand old flag / Though you’re torn to a rag”.

The song was used in a major production number in Cohan’s 1942 film biography, Yankee Doodle Dandy.

Recordings by Pride of the 48 and Catalina Strings, were used in the film “Born on the Fourth of July (film)” (1989).

In Australia, the tune of the song formed the basis of the club song of the Melbourne Football Club and other regional Australian Rules Football clubs.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

As of October 5, 2010 ~ Sold 4 cards and 1 Large Mounted Print
As of July 1, 2013 ~ 2447 Views

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