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Sheet Music Spotlight: Beat The Heat Edition

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“They had to swim back to the shore,” By Joe McCarthy and James V. Monaco. New York : Broadway Music Corp., c1914.

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.

Comments (2)

  1. Wonderful anytime to discover something by Tin Pan Alley pros like Monaco and McCarthy. Other similar songs–the better-known “By the Beautiful Sea” by Harry Carroll and Harold Atteridge (“Over and under, and then up for air, / Pa is rich, Ma is rich, so now what do we care? / I love to be beside your side, beside the sea, / Beside the seaside, by the beautiful sea!”), and the 1921 “I Love To Go Swimmin’ with Women,” by Sigmund Romberg and Ballad MacDonald, but cut from Love Birds before opening night–“I get some navy notions when I see floating queens, / I dive right in the ocean and I play submarine.”

  2. Dear Sharon, another great find! I love the cover; that water makes it all work, doesn’t it? Can you make out the illustrator? I can’t quite see it well enough. Thanks so much for your sheet music blogs, they are very popular down my way,

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