The Fame of Tipperary Group present...


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- the story of the famous song.

Downloads a complete recording of the music by the band of The Royal Irish Rangers in MP3 format

Click on the songsheet image (above, right) to download the music of this famous wartime marching song onto your P.C. You can choose to do this temporarily by selecting the "open file from this location" option using the radio button. (This means clicking into one of the small white circles to make a black dot appear in its centre, then clicking 'O.K.'). When the 'play' window with its slider appears, click on the left-hand forward arrow to play the music while you read this page. Click on the button with a black square to stop it. "Quick March" !

[You can play the music again on the next page where you will also find the words to the song]

Jack Judge 1872 - 1938

Jack Judge was a music-hall entertainer, and composer of popular songs. He was born in 1872, and died in 1938. He achieved his main fame for being the composer of the world famous song "It's a Long Way to Tipperary", which he wrote in 1912. This song was adopted by the 7th. Battalion of the Connaught Rangers Regiment of the British Army. The Rangers were mostly Irishmen, and the regiment had connections with Tipperary Town. No doubt the 7th. Battalion taught the song to their comrades who were transported from Ireland to England in 1914 to muster before The Connaught Rangers went to France at the start of 'The Great War' in August 1914. From the battlefields of France & Belgium, the fame of the song spread far and wide, and it is still known and sung today. It is the main thing for which the town of Tipperary is known worldwide.
On 30 January 1912, Jack Judge ( a native of Oldbury, Birmingham, Worcestershire, England) was performing at "The Grand" theatre, Stalybridge, Cheshire, England with his younger brother Ted (Edward) Withey in a Music Hall production. After the evenings performance, he went to a club near the theatre. At the club, he was teased by his companions about a song he had written called "How are yer?". As Judge and his friends left the club not long before 1 A.M. on the 31st.January, someone challenged him with a bet that he could not write a new song that day and then perform it on stage during that evening's performance. The bet was for five shillings, which in those days was the price of a bottle of whisky plus 6 dozen cigarettes. Jack Judge took up the challenge, but had no idea what he was going to write the song about, until on his way back to 20 Portland Place, Stalybridge, during the early hours of the morning after leaving the club, he heard a fragment of a conversation between two men, one of whom said to the other "It's a long way to.........." in the course of giving someone directions.

He seized upon that phrase as a song-title, and then added the word "Tipperary" to it. He thought about writing the song a little before going to bed, and then 'slept on' the idea. The next day, he arose, ate a fish breakfast; and then went to a public house (bar) called The New Market Inn, in Corporation Street, Stalybridge. This establishment was at that time kept and managed by a Mr. George Lloyd, and Jack Judge often went there. That morning, he wrote the song there in a very short time. His friend, Horace Vernon, wrote down the musical notation by listening to Jack Judge singing the song, and his participation in this historic event made him an hour and a half late for his lunch that day. Horace Vernon was theMusical Director of The Grand Theatre, Stalybridge (later called The Hippodrome). Another friend of Jacks was Harry Williams, who lived next door to his boyhood home. Harry and his brother kept a small country pub in Oldbury, called "The Malt Shovel". Jack Judge had a daytime stall in the local fish market, and was an entertainer in the evenings. Harry often lent him money when trade was poor, and Jack promised in return that is he ever wrote a best-selling song, he would put Harry's name on it also. From the copy of the original song-sheet shown on the next page, we can see that he kept his promise. Both men made a small fortune from the song's royalties.

Jack Judge won his bet by singing "It's a Long Way to Tipperary" for the first time, on the stage of The Grand Theatre during the evening's performance on 31 January 1912. It quickly became a favourite of his repertoire, and its catchy tune soon caught the imagination of the public. Mr. Bert Maden of Stalybridge offered to buy the copyright of the song from Jack Judge, but it was actually purchased by Music Publisher Bert Feldman of London. He then popularised the song on the Music-Hall circuit in Britain by having it sung by singer Florrie Forde, who was a very popular music-hall artiste of the time.