Yankee Doodle Dandy

by


The Yankee Doodle Boy is the alternate title for (I'm a) Yankee Doodle Dandy, a patriotic song written by Cohan for his musical, Little Johnny Jones (1904). In 1942, it was sung by James Cagney in Cohan's film, Yankee Doodle Dandy. Earlier versions of the song Yankee Doodle originated by the British disparaging the sloppy "Yanks," then the Americans adopted it as a song of defiance during the American Revolution when England's General Cornwallis' troops surrendered at Yorktown to end the War. The song remains the state song of Connecticut.
Cohan is responsible for several other patriotic tunes, including You're a Grand Old Flag and the World War I hit, Over There.
The word "dandy" refers to a man overly concerned with style and physical appearance. "All the candy" was an expression meaning "hot stuff" or in more current vernacular: "you're the man." In spite of its pejorative etymology, "Yankee Doodle Dandy" became a symbol of American patriotic pride, if not a bit self-effacing as well.

An illustration for the story Yankee Doodle Dandy by the author George M. Cohan
"The Yankee Doodle Boy" sheet music, 1904
An illustration for the story Yankee Doodle Dandy by the author George M. Cohan
"The Yankee Doodle Boy" sheet music, 1904
An illustration for the story Yankee Doodle Dandy by the author George M. Cohan
Chorus

I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy,
A Yankee Doodle, do or die;
A real live nephew of my Uncle Sam,
Born on the Fourth of July.
I've got a Yankee Doodle sweetheart,
She's my Yankee Doodle joy.
Yankee Doodle came to London, just to ride the ponies;
I am the Yankee Doodle Boy.

Yankee Doodle Dandy movie opening, 1942
Verse 1

I'm the kid that's all the candy, 
I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy,
I'm glad I am,
So's Uncle Sam.
I'm a real live Yankee Doodle,
Made my name and fame and boodle,
Just like Mister Doodle did, by riding on a pony.
I love to listen to the Dixie strain,
I long to see the girl I left behind me;
That ain't a josh,
She's a Yankee, by gosh.
Oh, say can you see,
Anything about a Yankee that's a phony?

Verse 2

Father's name was Hezikiah,
Mother's name was Ann Maria, 2
Yanks through and through.
Red, White and Blue
Father was so Yankee-hearted,
When the Spanish war was started,
He slipped on a uniform and hopped upon a pony.
My mother's mother was a Yankee true,
My father's father was a Yankee too:
That's going some,
For the Yankees, by gum.
Oh, say can you see
Anything about my pedigree that's phony?

Chorus

I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy,
A Yankee Doodle, do or die;
A real live nephew of my Uncle Sam,
Born on the Fourth of July.
I've got a Yankee Doodle sweetheart,
She's my Yankee Doodle joy.
Yankee Doodle came to London, just to ride the ponies;
I am the Yankee Doodle Boy.

Featured in our collection of American Patriotic Songs. Enjoy comparing this song with the earlier version, Yankee Doodle


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