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Red Wing

Composer: Mills Kerry

Instruments: Voice Piano

Tags: Song


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String instrument (Fine, Elaine) Piano (Unknown)
"Red Wing" is a popular song written in 1907 with music by F.A Mills and lyrics by Thurland Chattaway. Mills adapted the music of the verse from Robert Schumann's piano composition "The Happy Farmer, Returning From Work" from his 1848 Album for the Young, Opus 68. The song tells of a young Indian girl's loss of her sweetheart who has died in battle.
The song has been recorded numerous times in many different styles. It was sung by John Wayne in the 1943 film In Old Oklahoma and again by John Wayne and Lee Marvin in the 1961 film The Comancheros and finally by John Wayne and Lauren Bacall in the 1976 film The Shootist. In 1950 Oscar Brand recorded a bawdy version in his Bawdy Songs & Backroom Ballads, Volume 3.
In 1940 Woody Guthrie wrote new lyrics to the tune, retitled "Union Maid". Guthrie's are perhaps the most famous of alternative words for the song; his song begins:
Red Wing was parodied in a version popular among British troops during the First World War, which begins with the line, "Now the moon shines bright on Charlie Chaplin." This variant originated in response to the comedian's refusal to enlist, and was featured in the movie Oh! What A Lovely War. It was subsequently perpetuated among British schoolchildren. During the 1970s, Harry Boardman and the Oldham Tinkers folk group recorded a version incorporating all of the verses that they remembered from their childhood.
The following version was published in 1916 by B. Feldman.
A variant of the refrain goes
Another variant (some years later, and without the war reference) goes