The Info List - When The Saints Go Marching In

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"When the Saints Go Marching In", often referred to as "The Saints", is a Black Spiritual. Though it originated as a Christian hymn, it is often played by jazz bands. This song was famously recorded on May 13, 1938 by Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong
and his Orchestra.[1] The song is sometimes confused with a similarly titled composition "When the Saints Are Marching In" from 1896 by Katharine Purvis (lyrics) and James Milton Black (music).[2]


1 Uses 2 Lyrics 3 Analysis of the traditional lyrics 4 Artists who have performed and recorded the song

4.1 As gospel hymn 4.2 With traditional lyrics 4.3 With non-traditional lyrics 4.4 With no lyrics 4.5 Popular culture

5 See also 6 References 7 External links


The Forerunners of Christ with Saints and Martyrs, a painting by Fra Angelico, 15th century.

The origins of this song are unclear.[2] It apparently evolved in the early 1900s from a number of similarly titled gospel songs including "When the Saints Are Marching In" (1896) and "When the Saints March In for Crowning" (1908).[3] The first known recorded version was in 1923 by the Paramount Jubilee Singers on Paramount 12073. Although the title given on the label is "When All the Saints Come Marching In", the group sings the modern lyrics beginning with "When the saints go marching in". No author is shown on the label. Several other gospel versions were recorded in the 1920s, with slightly varying titles but using the same lyrics, including versions by The Four Harmony Kings (1924), Elkins-Payne Jubilee Singers (1924), Wheat Street Female Quartet (1925), Bo Weavil Jackson (1926), Deaconess Alexander (1926), Rev. E. D. Campbell (1927), Robert Hicks (AKA Barbecue Bob, 1927), Blind Willie Davis (1928), and the Pace Jubilee Singers
Pace Jubilee Singers
(1928).[4] The earliest versions were slow and stately, but as time passed the recordings became more rhythmic, including a distinctly up tempo version by the Sanctified Singers on British Parlophone
in 1931. Even though the song had folk roots, a number of composers claimed copyright in it in later years, including Luther G. Presley[5] and Virgil Oliver Stamps,[6] R. E. Winsett,[7] and Frank and Jim McCravy. Although the song is still heard as a slow spiritual number, since the mid-20th century it has been more commonly performed as a "hot" number.[citation needed] The tune is particularly associated with the city of New Orleans. A jazz standard, it has been recorded by a great many jazz and pop artists. Both vocal and instrumental renditions of the song abound. Louis Armstrong was one of the first to make the tune into a nationally known pop tune in the 1930s. Armstrong wrote that his sister told him she thought the secular performance style of the traditional church tune was inappropriate and irreligious.[citation needed] Armstrong was in a New Orleans
New Orleans
tradition of turning church numbers into brass band and dance.[clarification needed] Lyrics[edit] As with many numbers with long traditional folk use, there is no one "official" version of the song or its lyrics. This extends so far as confusion as to its name, with it often being mistakenly called "When the Saints Come Marching In". As for the lyrics themselves, their very simplicity makes it easy to generate new verses. Since the first and second lines of a verse are exactly the same, and the third and fourth are standard throughout, the creation of one suitable line in iambic tetrameter generates an entire verse. It is impossible to list every version of the song, but a common standard version runs:

Oh, when the saints go marching in Oh, when the saints go marching in Oh Lord I want to be in that number When the saints go marching in

Oh, when the drums begin to bang Oh, when the drums begin to bang Oh Lord I want to be in that number When the saints go marching in

Oh, when the stars fall from the sky Oh, when the stars fall from the sky Oh Lord I want to be in that number When the saints go marching in

Oh, when the moon turns red with blood Oh, when the moon turns red with blood Oh Lord I want to be in that number When the saints go marching in

Oh, when the trumpet sounds its call Oh, when the trumpet sounds its call Oh Lord I want to be in that number When the saints go marching in

Oh, when the horsemen begin to ride Oh, when the horsemen begin to ride Oh Lord I want to be in that number When the saints go marching in

Oh, when the fire begins to blaze Oh, when the fire begins to blaze Oh Lord I want to be in that number When the saints go marching in

Oh, when the saints go marching in Oh, when the saints go marching in Oh Lord I want to be in that number When the saints go marching in.

Often the first two words of the common third verse line ("Lord, how I want...") are sung as either "Oh how", "Oh, Lord" or even "Lord, Lord" as cue notes to the simple melody at each 3rd line. Arrangements vary considerably. The simplest is just an endless repetition of the chorus. Verses may be alternated with choruses, or put in the third of 4 repetitions to create an AABA form with the verse as the bridge. One common verse in "hot" New Orleans
New Orleans
versions runs (with considerable variation) like thus[citation needed]:

I used to have a playmate Who would walk and talk with me But since she got religion She has turned her back on me.

Some traditional arrangements often have ensemble rather than individual vocals. It is also common as an audience sing-along number. Versions using call and response are often heard, e.g.:

Call: Oh when the Saints Response: Oh when the Saints!

The response verses can echo the same melody or form a counterpoint melody, often syncopated opposite the rhythm of the main verses, and a solo singer might sing another counterpoint melody (solo soprano or tenor) as a 3rd part in more complex arrangements. Analysis of the traditional lyrics[edit] The song is apocalyptic, taking much of its imagery from the Book of Revelation, but excluding its more horrific depictions of the Last Judgment. The verses about the Sun and Moon refer to Solar and Lunar eclipses; the trumpet (of the Archangel Gabriel) is the way in which the Last Judgment
Last Judgment
is announced. As the hymn expresses the wish to go to Heaven, picturing the saints going in (through the Pearly Gates), it is entirely appropriate for funerals. Artists who have performed and recorded the song[edit] As gospel hymn[edit]

First recorded by the Paramount Jubilee Singers on Paramount 12073, mid-November 1923. This group may be related to the Elkins-Payne Jubilee Singers.[8] Four Harmony Kings, Vocalion 14941, mid-November 1924.[9] Elkins-Payne Jubilee Singers, Okeh 8170. c.November 24, 1924. Bo Weavil Jackson, c. August 1926 in Chicago, IL, under the title "When the Saints Come Marching Home", Paramount 12390 [10][11] Recorded by bluesman Sleepy John Estes
Sleepy John Estes
accompanied by second guitar and kazoo for Bluebird Records
Bluebird Records
in Chicago, 1941 [12] This song is available in the Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley
compilation Peace in the Valley: The Complete Gospel Recordings. Sony BMG/Elvis Music [13]

With traditional lyrics[edit]

Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong
helped make The Saints into a jazz standard with his 1938 Decca recording. The tune was brought into the early rock and roll repertory by Fats Domino as one of the traditional New Orleans
New Orleans
numbers he often played to rock audiences. Domino would usually use "The Saints" as his grand finale number, sometimes with his horn players leaving the stage to parade through the theater aisles or around the dance floor. Judy Garland
Judy Garland
sang it in her own pop style. Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley
performed the song during the Million Dollar Quartet
Million Dollar Quartet
jam session and also recorded a version for his film, Frankie and Johnny. Bing Crosby
Bing Crosby
included the song in a medley on his album 101 Gang Songs (1961) Other early rock artists to follow Domino's lead included Jerry Lee Lewis and Tony Sheridan
Tony Sheridan
(featuring then-unknown band The Beatles
The Beatles
as a backing group). In 1990, John Rutter
John Rutter
arranged a lively version of the song for the Cambridge Singers, piano or organ accompaniment, and a Dixieland jazz-style clarinet obbligato. Tears for Fears
Tears for Fears
performed the song and on the Live from Santa Barbara CD. Bruce Springsteen with The Seeger Sessions Band Tour
Bruce Springsteen with The Seeger Sessions Band Tour
includes the song as an encore for some shows. Etta James
Etta James
performed the song during the 1984 Summer Olympics
1984 Summer Olympics
opening ceremony.[14] Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton
has also included the song in a gospel medley, as has Trini Lopez
Trini Lopez
in a mixed gospel/folk medley ( Trini Lopez
Trini Lopez
at PJ's) as part of a medley with "Gotta Travel On", "Down by the Riverside", "Marianne", and "Volare". The Rivieras
The Rivieras
performed a surf music version for their 1964 album Let's Have A Party, titled "When The Saints". Actor Hal Linden
Hal Linden
performed the song with Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem during his guest appearance on The Muppet Show. St. Lawrence University
St. Lawrence University
sports teams use it as their theme song. The Weavers The Kidsongs
Kids and audience members perform this song on their 1989 video A Day at Camp during the grand finale of the Sizzling Summer Revue. In a Wee Sing 1992 video, The Marvelous Musical Mansion, Alex, Kelly, Benji, Auntie Anabella, Great-Uncle Rubato and everybody else sing this song to celebrate what they have found today.

With non-traditional lyrics[edit]

Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong
and Danny Kaye
Danny Kaye
performed a comedy duet version in the 1959 film The Five Pennies, naming composers and musicians who would play "on the day that the saints go marching in". Woody Guthrie
Woody Guthrie
sang a song called "When The Yanks Go Marching In" in 1943. Tony Sheridan
Tony Sheridan
made a successful Rock-And-Roll arrangement of the song, which he recorded with The Beatles
The Beatles
in 1961, significantly deviating some verses from the original lyrics. Abrasive Wheels, a hardcore band from Leeds, Great Britain, came out of the so-called 'UK82' Punk scene with a version called "When the Punks Go Marching In" off their first album of the same name, in 1982. They replaced 'Saints' with 'Punks', 'Skins', 'Pigs', and 'Wheels' respectively, otherwise repeating the same verse four times. All other traditional lyrics remain intact, save in the third verse, which states: "I want to be in that meat van...when the pigs go marching in!" (Leading to the culmination of "Oh when the Wheels...go marching in...[...]..I want to be in that number, when the Wheels!...Go!...Mar!...Ching!...In!" for a self referential climax, complete with echoed call-and-response, ideal for live situation sing-a-longs.). In 1983, Aaron Neville, along with New Orleans
New Orleans
musicians Sal and Steve Monistere and Carlo Nuccio and a group of players for the New Orleans Saints American football
American football
team, recorded a popular version of the song incorporating the team's "Who Dat?" chant.[15] French group Dionysos's album La Mécanique du Cœur
La Mécanique du Cœur
(2007, The Mechanic of the Heart) contains a version of this song, in collaboration with the French singer Arthur H. Many supporters of association football teams sing versions of the song, "Saints" is often replaced with the name or nickname of the club, for example, "When the Saints Go Marching In" (St Mirren F C) and (Southampton F.C), "When the Reds Go Marching In (Liverpool FC)", "When the Posh Go Steaming In" (Peterborough United F.C.), "When the Spurs Go Marching In" (Tottenham Hotspur) or "When the Stripes Go Marching In", "When the blues Go Marching In" (Bengaluru FC), as a rally song during football matches.[16][17][18][19] It is also used within Rugby Union
Rugby Union
where Northampton Saints
Northampton Saints
sing a traditional version of the song. It is also used in Rugby League
Rugby League
where St. Helens RLFC
St. Helens RLFC
sing a version of the song. The St Kilda Football Club, an Australian rules football
Australian rules football
club use a variation as their theme song. The main variation being in the chorus 'oh how I want to be in St Kilda'. Bill Haley & His Comets released a rock and roll version (with lyrics referencing the members of the Comets) in 1955 on Decca Records, entitled "The Saints Rock and Roll". The group also recorded new versions of the song for Orfeon Records in 1966 and Sonet Records in 1968, as well as numerous live versions. Japanese voice actress Kotono Mitsuishi performed a cover in 1995. The Rock-afire Explosion
The Rock-afire Explosion
of ShowBiz Pizza Place
ShowBiz Pizza Place
covered the song in the "New Years Eve '82" showtape, sung by Fatz Geronimo (Burt "Sal" Wilson), with new lyrics naming off every member of the band. Abrasive Wheels, an English Punk band from Leeds, part of the so called UK82 scene

With no lyrics[edit]

The 1958 rock and roll instrumental song "Rebel Rouser" by Duane Eddy was loosely based on this tune. The rhythm of "When the Saints Go Marching In" was adapted by Dick Powell's Four Star Television
Four Star Television
for its legal drama, The Law and Mr. Jones starring James Whitmore, which ran on ABC from 1960-1962.[20] Big Chief Jazzband recorded the tune in Oslo
on May 10, 1953. It was released on the 78 rpm record
78 rpm record
His Master's Voice
His Master's Voice
A.L. 3307. Al Hirt
Al Hirt
released a version on his 1963 album, Our Man in New Orleans[21] and was also featured on his greatest hits album, The Best of Al Hirt.[22] Harry James
Harry James
released a version on his 1972 album Mr. Trumpet. ( Longines Symphonette Society SYS 5459/LS 217C/LS 217U) It was recorded under the title of "Revival" by Johnny and the Hurricanes. The band's management claimed authorship.[23] A portion of the song was also used in the "boss" music of the "Out of This Dimension" Easter egg stage in the game Star Fox for the SNES. A techno remix of this song, titled "Saints Go Marching," is a playable song in some versions of Dance Dance Revolution. The song has been used as a fight song for many schools, including Providence College
Providence College
and Saint Joseph's University. The Baylor University Golden Wave Marching band plays the song during Baylor football games right after a touchdown is scored. The song is also the inspiration for the nickname of the New Orleans
New Orleans
Saints. The musical Urinetown
includes a parody homage of "Saints" entitled "Run, Freedom Run" as its protest theme. John Williams
John Williams
and the Boston Pops Orchestra
Boston Pops Orchestra
recorded a version and included it on their 1995 compilation album Pops Stoppers!. An arrangement of "When the Saints Go Marching In" is also the official march of the Royal Hälsinge Air Force Wing (F 15 Söderhamn) in Sweden.[24] A New Orleans-style instrumental of this song titled "The Saints Will Never Come" is heard in The Parish level of Left 4 Dead 2, coming from a parade float attached to a tractor.

Popular culture[edit]

The song was the inspiration for the name of the National Football League team the New Orleans
New Orleans
Saints. The version sung by Fats Domino
Fats Domino
is used as the team's touchdown song. The children's television show Barney & Friends has a song called "Walk Across the Street" sung to this tune.[25] In the survival-horror video game Left 4 Dead 2, the song plays when the four survivors ride atop a parade float in New Orleans
New Orleans
to cross an overrun street. This song was used in the episode Dr. Horatio's Magic Orchestra in Disney's animated TV series, Goof Troop. Amy Rose
Amy Rose
sang the song for her audition of Sonic the Hedgehog's sidekick in the debut episode of Sonic Boom. A version by The US Navy Southwest Regional Band was used in the 2006 film Déjà Vu. In the Australian TV show Parallax, the character Martin can be heard singing the song while having a shower. In the second episode of The Flintstones
The Flintstones
entitled "Hot Lips Hannigan", Fred sings a rendition of the song at The Rockland. Towards the end of the Mrs. Brown's Boys
Mrs. Brown's Boys
episode "Mammy's Going", the title character sings the song before planning to head down to Foleys to celebrate her birthday, only to learn that her pet dog Spartacus has been put down. In the We Bare Bears
We Bare Bears
webisode Charlie's Opus, Charlie plays the first few bars of the song in F Major with a trombone. [26] In The Simpsons
The Simpsons
episode One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish, Lisa plays the song on her saxophone to cheer Homer Simpson up, when he believes he is dying after eating a poisonous blowfish. He even starts singing the song with slight altered lyrics such as "When the saints go over there, no over there". In The Real Ghostbusters
The Real Ghostbusters
episode, Play Those Ragtime Boos, the ghost of a trumpet player; Malachi and his jazz band plays the song throughout the episode, causing time to slip backwards back into the past. The song is also used by the West Block Blues
the fan club of the Indian football club Bengaluru FC
Bengaluru FC
as their team song but with the lyrics " When the Blues
Go Marching In".

See also[edit]

Communion of saints List of pre-1920 jazz standards "When the Saints Go Marching In" in sports


The Book of World Famous Music, Classical, Popular and Folk by James Fuld (1966)

^ "Music History for May 13 from On-This-Day.com".  ^ a b CyberHymnal: http://hymntime.com/tch/htm/w/s/a/wsamarch.htm ^ James J. Fuld, The Book of World-Famous Music, Classical, Popular and Folk, Fourth Edition, 1995 ^ Robert M. W. Dixon, John Godrich, & Howard Rye, Blues
and Gospel Records 1890-1943, Fourth Edition, 1997 ^ "LUTHER PRESLEY COLLECTION". 31 July 2007. Archived from the original on 31 July 2007.  ^ "When the Saints Go Marching In" arranged by Luther G. Presley & Virgil O. Stamps, Starlit Crown (Pangburn, AR: Stamps-Baxter Music Company, 1937), ^ Ruth Winsett Shelton, editor. Best Loved Songs and Hymns (Dayton, TN: R. E. Winsett Music Company, 1961), Item 158. ^ Robert M.W. Dixon, John Godrich, & Howard Rye, Blues
and Gospel Records 1890-1943, Fourth Edition, 1997. ^ Tim Brooks, Lost Sounds: Blacks and the Birth of the Recording Industry 1890-1919 (2004), 457-458. ^ "Paramoung 12000 series numerical listing (1922–1927)". www.78discography.com. Retrieved September 13, 2015.  ^ "Sam Butler/ Bo Weavil Jackson discography". wirz.de. Retrieved September 13, 2015.  ^ Illustrated Sleepy John Estes
Sleepy John Estes
discography ^ Noble, Barnes &. "Peace In The Valley: The Complete Gospel Recordings/I'll Be Home For Christmas".  ^ SpiritOf84 (6 September 2014). "Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Opening Ceremony Complete" – via YouTube.  ^ Dave Walker, "'Who dat?' popularized by New Orleans
New Orleans
Saints fans when 'everybody was looking for the sign'", Times-Picayune, January 12, 2010, pp. A1, A10 (Saint Tammany Edition). ^ [1][dead link] ^ Listen to When The Reds Go Marching In football song. Stoke MP3 FIFA 13 SCFC chant. Fanchants.co.uk. Retrieved on 2013-07-29. ^ Listen to Oh When The Spurs Go Marching In football song. Spurs MP3 FIFA 13 THFC chant. Fanchants.co.uk. Retrieved on 2013-07-29. ^ "BFC fans give Bangalore football an 'ultra' flavour".  ^ ClassicTVThemes, The Law and Mr. Jones: http://www.classicthemes.com/50sTVThemes/themePages/lawAndMrJones.html ^ Al Hirt, Our Man in New Orleans
New Orleans
Retrieved April 10, 2013. ^ Al Hirt, The Best of Al Hirt
Al Hirt
Retrieved April 11, 2013. ^ "Johnny and the Hurricanes".  ^ Sandberg, Bo (2007). Försvarets marscher och signaler - För och nu. Uppsala: Militärmusiksamfundet med Svenskt Marscharkiv. ISBN 978-91-631-8699-8.  Viewed 2012-05-09 (in Swedish). ^ Gretchen Marie-Goode, "Walk Around The Block With Barney", Hartford Courant, May 6, 1999. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aY4wm9jQOz0&t=27s

External links[edit]

When The Saints Go Marching In Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong
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