Glory, Glory Belongs to Georgia!

Glory, Glory BELONGS TO GEORGIA!!!!!!!!!!!

by 72RCDawg

Originally posted on the DawgVent circa 1998 (?)

I saw a thread below, wondering why Auburn lays claim to Georgia’s “Glory, Glory to Old Georgia”. I will speak accurately as possible, but I cannot pretend that the following is completely scholarly research: First of all, “Glory” is NOT derived from “Battle Hymn of the Republic” as everyone supposes but is actually adapted from “John Brown’s Body”.

John Brown’s body lies a’ moulderin’ in the grave
John Brown’s body lies a’ moulderin’ in the grave
John Brown’s body lies a’ moulderin’ in the grave
But his soul goes marching on…….

Glory, Glory, Hallelujah
Glory, Glory, Hallelujah
Glory, Glory, Hallelujah
His soul goes marching on!

This is a song adapted first from the old Methodist Hymn, “Say Brothers, Will You Meet Us?”. When Lincoln visited Fort Warren, accompanied by Julia Ward Howe, and heard “John Brown’s Body” sung by the 12th Massachussetts regiment singing it, Lincoln was so stirred, that he asked J.W. Howe to make a hymn of it. She did and we know it today as “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”. The University of Georgia student body would have almost certainly recognized the tune as “John Brown’s Body”, the story of an Abolishlionist who was caught leading a raid on Harper’s Ferry and was subsequently hanged. In Reconstruction times, this would have been a very politically incorrect theme, and thus, very appealing to the post-war southerners, many who had lost relatives in
the war. Notice that the only portion of the song, or of “Battle Hymn”, for that matter, that was retained, was the refrain, “Glory, Glory ________________”.

By 1906, the tune “Glory, Glory to Old Georgia” was already well established and has been documented. It is mentioned by the Atlanta Journal in it’s coverage of the Georgia/Georgia Tech game where it says, “The bands of the two schools put on a battle of music, both blaring away at the same time. The University’s band stuck to the incessant playing of ‘John Brown’s Body’.” At the 1907 Georgia/Georgia Tech game: “The band from the University of Georgia continued to rake the bones of ‘John Brown’ up and down the chilly air and Tech came right back with ‘Mary’s Little Lamb’.” The students were singing “Glory,Glory, to Old Georgia, nonetheless.

The bottom line here folks, is that unless Auburn can document the playing of John Brown’s Body” while singing “Glory to Old Auburn” earlier than we can, then I say “Glory” belongs to Georgia!


Addendum by Amy (Toon Dawg):

I’ve been asked by various people why Georgia would base its fight song on an abolitionist (assuming this would be anti-Southern). After doing some research, the tune John Brown’s Body is not based on the abolitionist John Brown, but on a Scotsman in the Massachusetts Volunteer Militia.

Regardless, someone might ask why a Southern school would base its fight song on a song about a Northern person. My guess is that by the turn of the century, catchy tunes and ditties were popular regardless of their origin. People did not have the communication systems that we do today, so tunes and songs were carried in person. When you heard a song you liked, it stuck in your head, and you sang and played it to your friends. Even today, we sing songs (whether aloud or to ourselves) without thinking about the lyrics or what the singer actually meant.

I think we are reading too much into it and putting too much importance into the meaning of songs and how things were chosen as “fight songs” when football just began to get popular. Football games and school colors, mascots, and fight songs weren’t as organized and compartmentalized as they are today.

The above note about Georgia using “Glory, Glory” before Auburn from 72RCDawg can be confirmed in a June 2, 1906 Red & Black article covering the athletics meeting. (See graphic for excerpt)

June 2nd, 1906 Red & Black excerpt

June 2nd, 1906 Red & Black excerpt

Addendum #2: And here’s a 1903 recording of John Brown’s Body sung by J.W. Myers. This recording is made from either a cylinder or 78 RPM record, which shows that “John Brown’s Body” was a popular song at the time.


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