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Beer Barrel Polka: Wikis


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"Škoda lásky"
("Beer Barrel Polka")
Roll Out the Barrel

Beer Barrel Polka, also known as Roll Out the Barrel, is a song which became popular worldwide during World War II. The music was originally composed by the Czech musician Jaromír Vejvoda in 1927. Eduard Ingriš wrote the first arrangement of the piece, after Vejvoda came upon the melody and sought Ingriš' help in refining it. At that time, it was played without lyrics as Modřanská polka ("Polka of Modřany"). Its first text was written later (in 1934) by Václav Zeman – in this way come into existence original Czech song with the title Škoda lásky ("Wasted Love").

The polka became famous around the world. In June 1939, "Beer Barrel Polka", as recorded by Will Glahé, with English lyrics, was #1 on the Hit Parade. This version was distributed by Shapiro Bernstein. Glahé's earlier 1934 recording sold many copies in its German version Rosamunde (it is possible the reason for the rapid spread was due to the occupation of Czechoslovakia by Nazi Germany, and subsequent emigration of thousands of Czechs to other parts of the world, bringing this catchy tune with them). The authors of the English lyrics were Lew Brown and Wladimir Timm. Meanwhile, the song was played also by many others such as Andrews Sisters in 1939, Glenn Miller Orchestra, Benny Goodman, and Billie Holiday.

During World War II, versions in many other languages were created and the song was popular among soldiers, regardless of their alliances. It was claimed many times that the song was written in the country where it had just become a hit. Its actual composer was not widely known until after the war.

A former Foreign Minister of Germany Hans-Dietrich Genscher even made a bet that it was a German song. He lost.


This hit later became a signature song of well-known entertainer Liberace. Since the 1970s, it (usually the Frankie Yankovic version) has been played during the seventh inning stretch at Milwaukee Brewers baseball games, and more recently Brave Combo and Jimmy Sturr & His Orchestra made their own compositions of "The Beer Barrel Polka". Arthur Miller's play Death of a Salesman features a recording of a young boy whistling this song. Leonard "Chico" Marx of the Marx Brothers played a variation of this song in the movie At the Circus and again in the movie A Night in Casablanca. The Wiggles sang this song on their album and video Sailing Around the World.

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