|English title||"Beer Barrel Polka"|
|Written||1927 (music), 1934 (lyrics)|
|Composer(s)||Jaromír Vejvoda (from "Modřanská polka")|
"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. The music was composed by the Czech musician Jaromír Vejvoda in 1927. Eduard Ingriš wrote the first arrangement of the piece, after Vejvoda came upon the melody and sought Ingriš's help in refining it. At that time, it was played without lyrics as "Modřanská polka" ("Polka of Modřany"). Its first text was written later (in 1934) by Václav Zeman – with the title "Škoda lásky" ("Wasted Love").
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 (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). 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."
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. 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.