Sample Lyrics

Three songs from 45 Minutes From Broadway

"Forty-Five Minutes From Broadway"

Music and Lyrics by George M. Cohan

The Broadway musical Forty-Five Minutes From Broadway (1906) was the tale of Mary, a small town housemaid who unexpectedly inherits a fortune. She tosses it all aside so she can have Kid Burns, the wisecracking New Yorker she loves. In the popular title song, Burns (originally played by Victor Moore) gives a street-smart city boy's view of life in Mary's hometown. Note the use of period Broadway street slang, such as "jays" and "reubens" to describe country rubes or hicks.

This is the lyric as it appears in the original sheet music, published by F.A. Mills (NY) in 1905 – the sheet music was printed before the show opened on Broadway.

Verse 1
The West, so they say,
Is home of the jay,
And Missouri's the state
That can grind them.
This may all be,
But just take it from me,
You don't have to go
Out West to find them.
If you want to see
The real jay delegation,
The place where the
Real rubens dwell.
Just hop on a train
At the Grand Central Station.
Get off when they shout
"New Rochelle."

Refrain 1
Only forty-five minutes from Broadway,
Think of the changes it brings;
For the short time it takes,
What a diff'rence it makes
In the ways of the people and things.
Oh! What a fine bunch of rubens,
Oh! what a jay atmosphere;
They have whiskers like hay,
And imagine Broadway
Only forty-five minutes from here.

Verse 2
When the bunco men hear that their game is so near,
They'll be swarming here thicker than bees are.
In Barnum's best days, why he never saw jays
That were easier to get to than these are.
You tell them old jokes and they laugh till they sicken,
There's giggles and grins here to let.
I told them that one about "Why does a chicken,
The rubens are all laughing yet.

Refrain 2
Only forty-five minutes from Broadway,
Not a cafe in the town;
Oh! The place is a bird,
No one here ever heard
Of Delmonico, Rector or Browne.
With a ten-dollar bill you're a spendthrift;
If you open a bottle of beer
You're a sport, so they say,
And imagine Broadway
Only forty-five minutes from here.

"Mary's A Grand Old Name" (1906)

Music and Lyrics by George M. Cohan

In Forty-Five Minutes From Broadway (1906) the simple housemaid Mary explains how she got her name – and tells why she is happy to have it. The song was introduced by Broadway favorite Fay Templeton.

This is the lyric as it appears in the original sheet music, published by F.A. Mills (NY) in 1905 – it appears the sheet music was printed before the show opened on Broadway.

Verse I
My mother's name was Mary,
She was so good and true;
Because her name was Mary,
She called me Mary too.
She wasn't gay or airy,
But plain as she could be;
I hate to meet a fairy
Who calls herself Marie.

For it is Mary, Mary,
Plain as any name can be.
But with propriety, society
Will say Marie.
But it was Mary, Mary,
Long before the fashions came,
And there is something there
That sounds so square,
It's a grand old name.

Verse 2
Now, when her name is Mary,
There is no falseness there;
When to Marie she'll vary,
She'll surely bleach her hair.
Though Mary's ordinary,
Marie is fair to see;
Don't ever fear sweet Mary,
Beware of sweet Marie.

(Repeat Refrain)

"You're A Grand Old Flag" (1906)

Music and lyrics by George M. Cohan

Opening just days after 45 Minutes From Broadway (1906), the Broadway musical George Washington Jr. (1906) featured Cohan as a patriotic young American whose father (a US Senator) is trying to force him to marry foreign nobility. Cohan introduced this showstopper, which became one of his signature hits. Cohan was inspired to write the song after hearing an old veteran refer to a passing American flag as "a grand old rag." On opening night, the song was performed using the word "rag" – only one critic complained, but that was enough to persuade Cohan to change the lyric.

This is the lyric as it appears in the original sheet music, published by F.A. Mills (NY) in 1906.

Verse 1
There's a feeling comes a-stealing
And it sets my brain a-reeling
When I'm list'ning to the music of a military band.
Any tune like "Yankee Doodle"
Simply sets me off my noodle,
It's that patriotic something
That no one can understand.
"Way down South in the land of cotton,"
Melody untiring,
Ain't that inspiring!
Hurrah! Hurrah! We'll join the jubilee,
And that's going some
For the Yankees, by gum!
Red, White and Blue,
I am for you,
Honest, you're a grand old flag.

You're a grand old flag,
You're a high-flying flag,
And forever in peace may you wave.
You're the emblem of
The land I love,
The home of the free and the brave.
Ev'ry heart beats true
Under Red, White and Blue,
Where there's never a boast or brag.
But should auld acquaintance be forgot,
Keep your eye on the grand old flag.

Verse 2
I'm a cranky hanky panky,
I'm a dead square honest Yankee,
And I'm mighty proud of that old flag
That flies for Uncle Sam.
Though I don't believe in raving
Ev'ry time I see it waving,
There's a chill runs up my back
That makes me glad I'm what I am.
Here's a land with a million soldiers,
That's if we should need 'em,
We'll fight for freedom!
Hurrah! Hurrah! For ev'ry Yankee tar
And old G.A.R., 
Ev'ry stripe, ev'ry star. 
Red, White and Blue, 
Hats off to you, 
Honest, you're a grand old flag.

(Repeat Refrain)

Back to: Sample Lyrics