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Beer Barrel Polka

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Škoda lásky"
Praha Zbraslav - Jaromir Vejvoda.jpg
Memorial plaque of the author with the song's name in Czech, German and English
English title"Beer Barrel Polka"
Written1927 (music), 1934 (lyrics)
Composer(s)Jaromír Vejvoda (from "Modřanská polka")
Lyricist(s)Vašek Zeman

"Beer Barrel Polka", also known as "The Barrel Polka" and "Roll Out the Barrel", is a song which became popular worldwide during World War II.[citation needed]


In 1927, the music for the polka was composed by the Czech musician Jaromír Vejvoda.[1]

Eduard Ingriš wrote the first arrangement of the piece, after Vejvoda came up with the melody and sought Ingriš's help in refining it. At that time, it was played without lyrics as "Modřanská polka" ("Polka of Modřany").[citation needed]

In 1934, the first text for the polka was written by Vašek Zeman – with the title "Škoda lásky"("Wasted Love").[2]

The polka became famous around the world. In June 1939, "Beer Barrel Polka", as recorded by Will Glahé, was number one on the Hit Parade. This version was distributed by Shapiro Bernstein. Glahé's earlier 1934 recording sold many copies in its German version Rosamunde.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

The authors of the English lyrics were Lew Brown and Wladimir Timm. Meanwhile, the song was recorded and played by many others such as The Andrews Sisters in 1939, the Glenn Miller Orchestra, Benny Goodman, Bobby Vinton, Billie Holiday, and Joe Patek, who sold over a million copies of his album "Beer Barrel Polka".[3]

During World War II, versions in many other languages were created and the song was popular among soldiers, regardless of their allegiances. On VE Day, 9 May 1945, Humphrey Lyttelton played it standing on a handcart outside Buckingham Palace, a performance that could be heard in the BBC broadcast from the victory celebrations.[4][5]

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.[clarification needed][citation needed]

Names in other languages

Covers and homages



  • Since the 1970s, it (usually the Frankie Yankovic version) has been played during the seventh inning stretch at Milwaukee Brewers baseball games, as well as becoming one of the state of Wisconsin's unofficial state songs as it is also played at numerous University of Wisconsin sporting events, as well as Green Bay Packers home games, and Milwaukee Bucks basketball games, including after every home win.
  • The 2016 Premiership winning Australian National Rugby League club Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks use the tune of Beer Barrel Polka for their victory song Up Up Cronulla.
  • At San Jose Giants home games, a batter from the opposing team is designated the "beer batter." If the San Jose pitcher strikes out that batter, beer is half price in the beer only lines for the 15 minutes immediately following the strike out. The beer batter promotion is in effect only for the first six innings of the game. The PA system plays Beer Barrel Polka whenever the beer batter comes to the plate and after every strike during the beer batter's at-bat (through the first six innings). After the sixth inning, the beer batter becomes the apple juice batter and if he strikes out, fans get half-priced Martinelli's apple juice.
  • Pro wrestler Crusher Lisowski used the song as his entrance music, and would often growl out a few bars of it during interviews.
  • The German football club Bayern München use the tune of Beer Barrel Polka for their song FC Bayern, lala lalala lala.[7]
  • The Italian football club Padova use the tune of Beer Barrel Polka for their goliardia song Dolce fiasco (Sweet flagon).

Plays and movies


  • It is sung in the final scene of the Rumpole of the Bailey television episode, "Rumpole and the Alternative Society" (1977).
  • In an episode of Mr. Bean: The Animated Series, the Queen of the United Kingdom sings a portion of the song with a piano accompaniment.
  • In an episode of The Critic, a trained bear plays the song for Jay Sherman, the critic, trying to stay a part of his show.
  • It was played by Amanda McBroom as Eleanor Carlyle on piano at officers' club in M*A*S*H season 10 episode 1 ("That's Show Biz") after she says that "Even Dvorak and Brahms wrote folk dances" to Major Winchester.
  • In the Hogan's Heroes season 1 episode "Papa Schultz - Top Hat, White Tie and Bomb Sights", Colonel Hogan convinces the Luftwaffe that he knows the details of the Norden Bombsight and has pro-Nazi leanings. To firm up the subterfuge, Colonel Hogan describes a vacuum cleaner named "The Norden" in front of a wiretap with the prisoner crew singing "Beer Barrel Polka" loudly, interrupting lines of dialog. Commandant Klink believes the performance because the various details not covered up by singing appear to describe a bombsight.
  • In the Family Matters episode, "Chick-a-Boom", Steve Urkel creates a powder that explodes up when the song "Roll Out the Barrel" is played.
  • In the Frasier episode, "Where Every Bloke Knows Your Name", Frasier Crane and his new friends sing "Roll Out the Barrel" in a British-style pub as a frustrated, and bewildered Daphne Moon looks on.


  • In the Girl Genius comic and webcomic, the titular inventor Agatha Heterodyne creates a fleet of defensive robots from carnival wagons and one from a barrel; that robot plays the polka while wielding a pair of axes.


  1. ^ Greene, Victor. A Passion for Polka: Old-Time Ethnic Music in America. University of California Press, 1992, p. 131.
  2. ^ Greene 1992, p. 131.
  3. ^ "PATEK, JOSEPH | The Handbook of Texas Online| Texas State Historical Association (TSHA)". Retrieved 2016-10-10.
  4. ^ Gardiner, Juliet (2004). Wartime: Britain 1939-1945. Headline Book Publishing.
  5. ^ "Humphrey Lyttelton: Obituary". The Independent. 25 April 2008. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  6. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 330. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  7. ^ Südkurve München Lieder
  8. ^ "Intolerance | Kanopy". Retrieved 2021-10-06.
  9. ^ Carl Davis / The Luxemburg Radio Symphony Orchestra – Intolerance (Original Film Score) (1990, CD), retrieved 2021-10-06

External links

This page was last edited on 2 June 2022, at 14:24
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