Johny I hardy knew ye

I first heard this tune in Die Hard 3. After all I like Bruce Willis since third grade. It got stuck in my head. After a few days of out loud humming it was time to find it. It's called

Waltz of the Banker

After some time searching I found out that the original tune is actually a popular traditional Irish anti-war and anti-recruiting song. It is generally dated to the early 19th century. The original refers to the soldiers from Athy, County Kildare that fought in "Sulloon" (Ceylon - present day Sri Lanka) for the East India Company (in what history knows as the Kandyan Wars though the term was not familiar to the Irish). It has become a definitive anti-war song. It's called

Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye


Check out the refrain:
Ye haven't an arm, ye haven't a leg, hurroo, hurroo
Ye haven't an arm, ye haven't a leg, hurroo, hurroo
Ye haven't an arm, ye haven't a leg
Ye're an armless, boneless, chickenless egg
Ye'll have to be put with a bowl out to beg
Oh Johnny I hardly knew ye.

There's one more version I found. It's a popular song of the American Civil War that expressed people's longing for the return of their friends and relatives who were fighting in the war. That's called

When Johnny Comes Marching Home

One thought on “Johny I hardy knew ye”

  1. ...and we'll all feel gay when johnny comes marching home...
    this part made me laugh 🙂 of course gay had a different meaning back then

    p.s. good job on the blog

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