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"McNamara's Band" is a popular song recorded in late 1945 by the singer Bing Crosby. It is the tongue-in-cheek story of a small Irish band written and composed by the song-writing team of O'Connor and Stamford.
The tale is based on an actual band, the St Mary's Fife and Drum Band , formed in Limerick in 1885. In the late 19th century the band featured four brothers, Patrick, John, Michael and Thomas McNamara, and became famous for playing shows all across Ireland.  In the early 20th century Patrick and Thomas emigrated to the United States and formed the "McNamara's Band" with Patrick "Patsy" Salmon, another Limerick emigre. After Salmon left the group Patrick and Thomas formed "McNamara's Trio" with Thomas on piccolo, Patrick on violin and Patrick's daughter, Eileen, on the piano. The trio recorded and released several songs for Voralion Records.
There are several versions of the lyrics, mostly with errors. The actual words (and spellings, caps and punctuation) were originally as follows. (Reprinted with permission).
My name is McNamara, I'm the Leader of the Band,
And tho' we're small in number we're the best in all the land.
Oh! I am the Conductor, and we often have to play
With all the best musicianers you hear about to-day.
Whenever an election's on, we play on either side-
The way we play our fine ould airs fills Irish hearts with pride.
Oh! if poor Tom Moore was living now, he'd make yez understand
That none could do him justice like ould McNamara's Band.
We play at wakes and weddings, and at every county ball,
And at any great man's funeral we play the "Dead March in Saul,"
When the Prince of Wales to Ireland came, he shook me by the hand,
And said he'd never heard the like of "McNamara's Band."
The American version is correctly attributed as "by Red Latham, Wamp Carlson and Guy Bonham (The Three Jesters) . . . c 1940, Jerry Vogel Music Co., Inc." The words are very different, the politics of "Ould Ireland" are removed; the words are made more "Irish" (e.g. "Me name is . . ." rather than "My name is . . ." ). Stereotypes are added in the final lines to make the selection essentially a comedy song. (Reprinted with permission).
Oh!, me name is McNamara, I'm the Leader of the Band,
And tho' we're few in numbers we're the finest in the land.
We play at wakes and weddings, and at every fancy ball,
And when we play at funerals we play the march from Saul.
Right now we are rehearsin' for a very swell affair,
The annual celebration, all the gentry will be there.
When General Grant to Ireland came, he took me by the hand,
Says he, "I never saw the likes of McNamara's Band."
Oh me name is Uncle Yulius and from Sweden I have come,
To play with McNamara's Band and beat the big bass drum,
And when I march along the street the ladies think I'm grand,
They shout "There's Uncle Yulius playing with an Irish band".
Oh! I wear a bunch of shamrocks and a uniform of green,
And I am the funniest looking Swede that you have ever seen.
There's O'Briens and Ryans and Sheehans and Meehans, they come from Ireland,
But by Yimminy I'm the only Swede in McNamara's Band.
Oh the whistle blows the cockerel crows, and now we're in the game,
It's up to you, you Lilywhites, to play the Tottenham way.
Oh there's many a team from many a town and some are great and small,
But the famous Tottenham Hotspur are the greatest of them all.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (March 2012)|
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (November 2013)|
It has been suggested by older Spurs supporters, and in some books, that it was because Spurs had a Manager, Peter McWilliam (1912–27 & 1938–42) and that this is the reason McNamaras Band (Macs band) was adopted. Whatever the origin many fans will remember the tingle of excitement when the music started to play as the captain appeared coming up the steps of the old West Stand that led to the pitch, always exactly as the music started. The last player out of the dressing room pressed a button on the wall of the passage which rang a bell which in turn prompted the tape to be played.