Show Me the Way to Go Home

"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, Wales and North America.

Publication

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.

A parody popular on Midwest American campuses in the 1950s went

Indicate the way to my abode
I'm fatigued and I want to retire
I imbibed a few about sixty minutes ago
And it percolated right through my cerebellum
Wherever I may perambulate
O'er land or sea or atmospheric vapor
You will always hear me rendering this melody
Indicate the way to my abode

or

Indicate the way to my abode
I'm fatigued and I wish to retire
I had a spot of beverage sixty minutes ago
And its risen right up to my cranium
No matter wherever I may perambulate
On land or sea or atmospheric vapour
You can always hear me chanting the melody
Indicate the way to my abode

Some similar versions substitute "terra firma" for land and/or "aqueous precipitate" for foam.

Lyrics

Show me the way to go home,
I'm tired and I want to go to bed,
Cos I had a little drink about an hour ago,
And it's gone right to me head,
No matter where I roam,
On land or sea or foam,
You will always hear me singing this song,
Show me the way to go home.

Literature

  • George Orwell references the song in his 1934 novel Burmese Days.
  • Norman Mailer's 1948 novel The Naked and the Dead references the song several times.
  • Brick, a main character of the Tennessee Williams 1955 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.
  • In the Truman Capote short story, A Christmas Memory (1956), the character, Miss Sook, sings the line "Show me the way to go home."
  • Albert Wendt references the song, slightly and purposefully revising it in his first novel, Sons For the Return Home (1973)
  • In Terry Pratchett's 1995 novel Maskerade, the witches hear this song being sung by a neighbour taking an evening bath, and are surprised when he switches from English to Italian when he thinks he is being overheard. When he believes the coast is clear, he switches back to English.

Film

  • The first two lines of the song are shown on screen in King Vidor's silent film, The Crowd (1928) after a scene where John goes to borrow some liquor from Bert but decides to stay and drink and dance with Bert and the two women at Bert's house instead of going home to spend Christmas Eve with his wife and her family.
  • This song was the basis for a 1932 Screen Songs animated short by Fleischer Studios.
  • In the movie Hell Below (1933), it is sung by Lt. JG "Brick" Walters, played by Robert Young.
  • On a street scene in Beauty for Sale (1933), a strolling trio of youths sing it.
  • Sung by the cast in Husbands (1970)
  • Famously used in the popular 1975 thriller film Jaws, the song was sung by the three principal characters Brody (Roy Scheider), Quint (Robert Shaw), and Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss), and their rhythmic thumping of the table prevents them from hearing the shark ramming the boat before it has severely damaged the hull.
  • Oliver Statham sings it as he completes a record-breaking cave dive in The Underground Eiger (1979), a British documentary.
  • In a stolen car scene from Eat My Dust! (1976) starring Ron Howard.
  • It is sung by an old man in the jail in A River Runs Through It (1992) when Paul is picked up by his brother.
  • In the Woody Allen film Cassandra's Dream (2007), Terry (Colin Farrell) and Ian (Ewan McGregor) sing this song on the maiden voyage of their boat.
  • In the opening scene of Piranha 3D (2010), Richard Dreyfuss (reprising/spoofing his character of Matt Hooper from Jaws) listens to this song as well as singing along.

Television

  • In the 1994 episode "Show Me The Way To Go Home" from the TV show Chespirito, the characters sing and dance to this song.
  • 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 ("Mind Over Murder"), where Stewie is intoxicated and singing this song.
  • 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 33⅓ 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.
  • In the English dub of the Pokémon episode "Showdown at the Po-ké Corral", James says "Show me the way to go home. I'm tired and I want to go to bed."
  • In a season 3 episode of America's Funniest Home Videos, Bob Saget remarks about a video, "Yet another version of Show Me the Way to Go Home."
  • In the NCIS episode “Third Wheel”, the song is repeated many times by a guest character named Philip Brooks. At the end of the episode, Brooks finally convinced Fornell and Gibbs to join in.

Football

Supporters of Wimbledon FC / AFC Wimbledon have sung an adapted version reflecting their team spending 25 years away from their Plough Lane home stadium: 'Show Me The Way To Plough Lane'

Supporters of Liverpool FC sing a version 'Show them the way to go home' to mock the away team and away fans that are visiting Anfield stadium:

Show them the way to home
They're tired and the want to go to bed (for a wank)
Cos they're only half a football team
Compared to the boys in red

Theme Parks

At Universal Studios Florida, in the WIzarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley, there is a window of animated shrunken heads. They banter with each other and often break into "Show Me The Way To Go Home". It is also one of the spots where you can use an interactive wand and use the Silencio wand movement to make them stop singing and make muffled sounds as if they suddenly can't move their lips. It is located across from Borgin & Burke's gift shop and next to the Dystal Phaelanges skeleton display. This along with several other design details throughout the Harry Potter themed section are a tribute to the former Jaws attraction which closed on January 2, 2012 and was replaced by Diagon Alley in 2014.

Recordings

References

  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. 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.
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