The Phono Project

Exploring the history of the groove

“It’s A Long, Long Way To Tipperary” by John McCormack

“It’s A Long, Long Way To Tipperary” was written in 1912 by Jack Judge and Harry Williams, and then recorded in 1914 by John McCormack. This was McCormack’s most notable work, telling the story of an Irish worker living in London that expresses his sorrow as he misses his homeland, Tipperary, Ireland. Welcoming signs in Tipperary say, “You’ve come a long way,” a nod to this iconic song. 

During this time period, many songs were war songs, which made this one stand out as it went against the crowd. However, due to the song’s meaning about missing home, it soon grew popular as a marching song with soldiers during World War One.  

There was an issue with the writers of this song. When Harry Williams passed away in 1924, Jack Judge rushed and claimed complete ownership of this song and the many others that the two wrote together. Despite the family of Harry disputing this, Judge got complete ownership. In 2012, however, the family of Harry Williams fought to have his name re-credited with this song, and their demands were met and Harry’s name was back on the track as a writer. 

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