4:51 pm October 21, 2011, by Jay
I posted a more traditional, sedate version of this much-traveled song earlier, in the post about the coming end of U.S. military involvement in Iraq. It began its life as “Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye,” an early 19th-century Irish folksong that bewails the fate of Irishmen lured into fighting on Britain’s behalf overseas.
From there it became a favorite song of the U.S. Civil War, insinuating itself into the American military tradition as “When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again.” As kids, we used to sing our own playground parody of the song, in that case about ants that go “marching down, to the ground, to get out of the rain….”
And here, with their own much-different version, the great English band the Clash, from 1979:
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