The following is a guest post by retired cataloger Sharon McKinley.
It’s midsummer here in sweltering Washington, DC, and overheated hearts turn to the music of love. It won’t cool anything down, but going for a nice swim ought to do the trick.
“They Had to Swim Back to the Shore,” by Joe McCarthy and James V. Monaco, is a racy little number, filled with jaunty ragtime syncopation. The cover, with its fully-clad bathers, leaves the listener wondering how they managed all the hanky-panky that’s suggested in McCarthy’s lyrics.
McCarthy and Monaco were both famous songwriters. Monaco got his start as a ragtime performer, and made his name writing music for films. One of his greatest hits was another song he produced with Joe McCarthy: “You Made Me Love You (I Didn’t Want to Do It)” was a huge hit when Al Jolson introduced it in 1913. McCarthy would become better known for his 1918 lyrics for “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows.” But I’m sure this little syncopated piece of fluff delighted its audiences in 1914.
Some choice lines:
“Way out in the sea in the water there they spoon…”
“Nobody knew what they went down there to do, but they’d come up laughing in a minute or two.”
The idea of spooning in those heavy bathing suits just makes me giggle!
I didn’t expect to find a recording of this song, but you can listen to the Victor Military Band perform it, the first piece in a spritely medley.