"Over There" is a 1917 song popular with United States soldiers in both world wars. It was written by George M. Cohan during World War I. Notable early recordings include versions by Nora Bayes, Enrico Caruso, Billy Murray, and Charles King.
According to Michael Duffy of FirstWorldWar.com, "Cohan later recalled that the words and music to the song came to him while travelling by train from New Rochelle to New York shortly after the U.S. had declared war against Germany in April 1917."
This song, as well as "It's a Long Way to Tipperary", were popular patriotic songs during the First World War. In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt awarded Cohan the Congressional Gold Medal for this and other songs.
Film appearances include Yankee Doodle Dandy starring James Cagney in his Oscar-winning performance. In that otherwise Hollywoodized film, this song was used effectively as an illustration of the creative process. The way the film portrays it, Cohan is watching a military band parade by, and a segment of one of their songs catches his ear, a simple triad that he finds himself whistling. Late at night he is seen slowly working out the complete new song on a piano, note by note. The next scene unveils the song, as Cohan (Cagney) and woman dressed in uniform (Frances Langford) sing it to a large and appreciative audience. The song is reprised at the very end of the film. As Cohan is leaving the White House grounds, a group of soldiers march past the now-aged Cohan, singing the song. Another bystander, also elderly, does a startled take as he finds himself standing next to the author of that song. Cohan (along with other citizens) begins to march alongside and in step with the soldiers. One of them, not knowing who the old man is, teases him into joining the singing. The film irises-out on a closeup of Cohan (Cagney) singing the final line of the song's chorus.
DRAMA OF WAR 'OVER THERE' SERIES COMMANDS CRITICAL SCRUTINY AS IT DEPICTS THE CONFLICT IN IRAQ ON THE HEELS OF NEWSCASTS ABOUT THE FIGHTING.(Spotlight)
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