Irving Berlin compone melodía para la Expedición Punitiva (1916)

Irving Berlin (1888-1989) fue uno de los compositores populares más importantes de Estados Unidos durante el siglo XX. Entre sus creaciones está God Bless America, considerado el segundo himno norteamericano. También son suyas Alexander’s Ragtime BandWhite Christmas (Blanca Navidad) y There’s No Business Like Show Business.

Poco conocida es la canción que Irving Berlin compusó para las tropas de la Expedición Punitiva. La revista Variety (Vol. XLIII, No. 5, junio 20, 1916, p. 27) le dedicó toda una página al compositor y reprodujo la letra de la cancion. También se hace un recuento de todas las melodías que a través de los años se han relacionado con eventos bélicos norteamericanos desde la famosísima Yankee Doodle.

Si bien este blog se aboca al cine mudo, la importancia de éste durante la Revolución Mexicana, en especial con Pancho Villa y la posterior Expedición Punitiva fueron material cinematográfico de primer nivel, tanto para los norteamericanos como para los mexicanos. Por ello incluyo este dato musical sobre la obra de Irving Berlin.

Philadelphia «Press,» June 23,


«Mexico» Seems to Be the Favorite.

El sargento Irving Berlin en uniforme militar en 1918
El sargento Irving Berlin en uniforme militar (1918)

What will be the army’s song along the Mexican border?

The stirring songs and marches that have aroused the patriotism of righting men all over the world throughout all the years have been long remembered as outstanding features of a hundred campaigns.

In our own country the earliest songs of the Revolution have come down through the years and have been sung by the people long after those whose steps were livened and whose exhausted bodies were straightened to new endeavor by the music, had passed away. Everyone knows the refrain of ‘Yankee Doodle,» the earliest of the soldier songs of the republic and then came the «Star Spangled Banner» after the War of 1812, which later was accorded the honor of universal acceptance as the National Anthem.

The Civil War brought its scores of songs that everyone knows and sings yet, and appreciates for their lively marching rhythm and the stirring choruses, «The Girl I Left Behind Me» «We Are Coming, Father Abraham,» «Marching Through Georgia,» «John Brown’s Body,» «Dixie?,» «Maryland, My Maryland,» and all the others. The Spanish-American War made «A Hot Time in the Old Town» thrill with patriotism.

Off Singing Old Song

The Sixty-ninth Regiment of New York went away to camp the other day singing the «Girl I Left Behind Me.» Other contingents of the New York troops sang «America, I Love You.»

The question has caused much speculation among the Pennsylvania guardsmen and yesterday scores suggested favorite songs with a swing and a rousing chorus that would serve to cheer the men and keep them marching. Attention of most of the men seemed to have centered upon «Mexico,» Irving Berlin’s new song; «America, I Love You,” and George Cohan’s old song, «It’s a Grand Old Flag.”

The men who had learned the verses of «Mexico» were enthusiastic in their belief that it fits the present conditions and will provide lots of pep and swing for the men.

Irving Berlin song, Variety, Vol. XLIII, No. 5, Jun. 20, 1916, p. 27
Variety del 20 de junio de 1916 (Vol. XLIII, No. 5, p. 27)

The words of the song are:

They’re get-tin’ ready—they’re get-tin’ ready

We’ve had a row and now they’re going to war.

They’ve got their orders—to sail the waters

With heavy heart they start for a foreign shore.

They’re not excited, they’re just delighted

To go and shake them, make them stand up and roar

Like they never did before.


They’re on their way—to Mexico;

Just tee those Yankee fighters, foe exciters

Gettin’ ready to go.

They’re on their way—to win the day;

Just take a look at those Yankee brothers

Waving to their gray-haired mothers.

Good-by, they’re leaving, good-by, stop grieving.

Don’t cry: they’re glad to go.

They’ll make them run like a herd of cattle,

They’ll know they’ve had some battle.

Way down In Mexico.

Come over near them, come on and cheer them.

They’ve got a right to fight this battle because

They’ve been invited to go and fight it,

And so they’re in to win, and they’ll never pause

Until they take ‘em—and then they’ll make ‘em

With head erect respect America’s laws;

Give three cheers for them because.