Thursday, November 20, 2008

Yankee Doodle Dandy

I don't have time for a real post, but I thought you might like this.

Yankee Doodle went to town
A-riding on a pony
Stuck a feather in his hat
And called it macaroni.

Yankee Doodle, keep it up
Yankee Doodle dandy
Mind the music and the step
And with the girls be handy.

Father and I went down to camp
Along with Captain Gooding
And there we saw the men and boys
As thick as hasty pudding.

Yankee Doodle, keep it up
Yankee Doodle dandy
Mind the music and the step
And with the girls be handy

There was Captain Washington
Upon a slapping stallion
A-giving orders to his men
I guess there was a million.

Yankee Doodle, keep it up
Yankee Doodle dandy
Mind the music and the step
And with the girls be handy.
Why did yankee doodle stick a feather in his hat and call it macaroni? Back in Pre-Revolutionary America when the song "Yankee Doodle" was first popular, the singer was not referring to the pasta "macaroni" in the line that reads "stuck a feather in his hat and called it macaroni". "Macaroni" was a fancy ("dandy") style of Italian dress widely imitated in England at the time. By sticking a feather in his cap and calling himself a "dandy," Yankee Doodle was proudly proclaiming himself to be a gentleman of some social standing.
British troops used the song to make fun of the American colonists during the Revolutionary War. Yet it became the American colonists' rallying anthem for that war. At the time the Revolutionary War began, Americans were proud to be called yankees and "Yankee Doodle" became the colonists most stirring anthem of defiance and liberty. During Pre-Revolutionary America when the song "Yankee Doodle" first became popular, the word macaroni in the line that reads "stuck a feather in his hat and called it macaroni" didn't refer to the pasta. Instead, "Macaroni" was a fancy and overdressed ("dandy") style of Italian clothing widely imitated in England at the time. So by just sticking a feather in his cap and calling himself a "Macaroni", Yankee Doodle was proudly proclaiming himself to be a country bumpkin (an awkward and unsophisticated person), because that was how the English regarded most colonials at that time.

Yankee Doodle Dandy-James Cagney 1942

7 comments:

  1. Wow...I never knew that! And your little place card for me on your sidebar pic....well, I wouldn't miss your dinner for anything! What time do we eat? :)

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  2. You don't have time for a post because you're on your way to my house to do Thanksgiving for me. Right?

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  3. This is a very interesting history. But you know, Steviewren, it may just be that there are some Englishmen that *still* regard us "colonials" as, well, colonials! Did you ever see "A Fish Called Wanda", it portrayed this concept in a most humourous way.

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  4. Hey...thanks for the post. I really enjoyed it. I have always wondered about the song. Great piece of American history....much obliged!

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  5. How cool, I really liked this post! :)

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  6. I always wondered why he called it macaroni! Interesting post, Stevie. Love Jimmy Cagney!!

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  7. Fun post! Thanks for the history lesson....I love the look on James Cagney's face in that photo.

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