New Music Monday – “Waltzing Matilda” + Vote for Valentine’s Day Song

Today’s song is a little change in direction again. I told the story some time ago about playing the song “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda” in New York and the reaction I got. Since then, I’ve been asked a number of times to record the song. This week, I got around to it. I’ve kept it simple, just me and an acoustic as befits the stark, powerful lyrics, which I’ve included below:

If you can’t play the song or are on an iPhone or Android phone, click here.

There was a HUGE reaction to the Valentine’s ‘Choose Your Own Song’. I didn’t want to leave anyone out so I’ve printed the entire list below (including some ‘anti-love’ songs from the cynics amongst you!). But I just want you to vote for ONE song. To do so, just the leave the song name or number in the comments.

  1. ‘First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’ – Roberta Flack
  2. ‘My Funny Valentine’ – Various
  3. ‘The One I Love’ – REM
  4. ‘Save your Love’ – Renee and Renatta
  5. ‘More Than Words’ – Extreme
  6. ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’ – The Communards
  7. ‘Bed of Roses’ – Bon Jovi
  8. ‘Shelter’ – Birdie
  9. ‘Come Rain or Come Shine’ – Ray Charles
  10. ‘Fix You’ – Coldplay
  11. ‘Wonderful Tonight’ – Eric Clapton
  12. ‘Just Like Heaven’ – The Cure
  13. ‘Straight To You’ – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
  14. ‘You Are So Beautiful’ – Joe Cocker
  15. ‘Together Alone’ – Crowded House
  16. ‘Stay or Leave’ – Dave Matthews
  17. ‘Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis’ – Tom Waits
  18. ‘The Dance’ – Garth Brooks
  19. ‘It Makes No Difference’ – The Band
  20. ‘Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now’ – Starship
  21. ‘Still in Love With You’ – Thin Lizzy
  22. ‘Make You Feel My Love’ – Bob Dylan
  23. ‘Martha’ – Tom Waits
  24. ‘Drive All Night’ – Bruce Springsteen
  25. ‘She’ – Elvis Costello
  26. ‘It Must be Love’ – Madness
  27. ‘Have I Told You Lately’ – Van Morrison
  28. ‘Someone Like You’ – Adele
  29.  ‘Let Me Kiss You’ – Morrissey
  30. ‘Love and Pride’ – King
  31. ‘Throw Your Arms Around Me’ – Crowded House
  32. ‘Running Up That Hill’ – Kate Bush
  33. ‘With or Without Out You’ – Scala & Kolacny version
  34. ‘In My Life’ – Beatles
  35. ‘Sky Blue and Black’ – Jackson Browne
  36. “True Love Ways” – Buddy Holly
  37. “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” – Elvis Presley
  38. “Total Eclipse of the Heart” – Bonnie Tyler
  39. “Wish You Were Here” – Pink Floyd

Anti-love songs

  1. Alone Again (Naturally) – Gilbert O’ Sullivan
  2. ‘I Touch Myself’ – The Divinyls
  3. ‘You Make Me Sick’ – Pink
  4. ‘Master & Servant’ – Depeche Mode
  5. ‘Gay Bar’ – Electric 6
  6.  ‘I’ll Never Fall in Love Again’ – Deacon Blue
  7. ‘A Little Time’ – The Beautiful South
  8. ‘17’ – Janis Ian
  9. ‘If You Love Someone, Set Them On Fire’ – Dead Milkmen
  10. ‘I’m Leaving You Because I Don’t Love You’ – Jens Lekman


The Band Played Waltzing Matilda

When I was a young man I carried me pack
And I lived the free life of the rover
From the Murray’s green basin to the dusty outback
I waltzed my Matilda all over
Then in 1915 my country said: Son,
It’s time to stop rambling, there’s work to be done
So they gave me a tin hat and they gave me a gun
And they sent me away to the war

And the band played Waltzing Matilda
When the ship pulled away from the quay
And amid all the tears, flag waving and cheers
We sailed off for Gallipoli

It well I remember that terrible day
When our blood stained the sand and the water
And how in that hell they call Suvla Bay
We were butchered like lambs at the slaughter
Johnny Turk, he was ready, he primed himself well
He rained us with bullets, and he showered us with shell
And in five minutes flat, we were all blown to hell
He nearly blew us back home to Australia

And the band played Waltzing Matilda
When we stopped to bury our slain
Well we buried ours and the Turks buried theirs
Then it started all over again

Oh those that were living just tried to survive
In that mad world of blood, death and fire
And for ten weary weeks I kept myself alive
While around me the corpses piled higher
Then a big Turkish shell knocked me arse over head
And when I awoke in me hospital bed
And saw what it had done, I wished I was dead
I never knew there was worse things than dying

Oh no more I’ll go Waltzing Matilda
All around the green bush far and near
For to hump tent and pegs, a man needs both legs
No more waltzing Matilda for me

They collected the wounded, the crippled, the maimed
And they shipped us back home to Australia
The armless, the legless, the blind and the insane
Those proud wounded heroes of Suvla
And when the ship pulled into Circular Quay
I looked at the place where me legs used to be
And thank Christ there was no one there waiting for me
To grieve and to mourn and to pity

And the Band played Waltzing Matilda
When they carried us down the gangway
Oh nobody cheered, they just stood there and stared
Then they turned all their faces away

Now every April I sit on my porch
And I watch the parade pass before me
I see my old comrades, how proudly they march
Renewing their dreams of past glories
I see the old men all tired, stiff and worn
Those weary old heroes of a forgotten war
And the young people ask “What are they marching for?”
And I ask myself the same question

And the band plays Waltzing Matilda
And the old men still answer the call
But year after year, their numbers get fewer
Someday, no one will march there at all
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49 thoughts on “New Music Monday – “Waltzing Matilda” + Vote for Valentine’s Day Song

    1. I missed the list request… one of the most beautiful love songs is Al Green ‘Simply Beautiful’ Is it too late to add it?

  1. I haven’t heard that song since I was in school, this is a lovely version. The post on the reaction you got in New York actually brought a tear to my eye.

    As for Valentine’s songs, I’m gonna stick with ‘Fix You’ (though ‘Running Up That Hill’ comes a close second).

  2. You have a fabulous voice Derek which allows all the emotion in that song to just pour out. It’s no wonder this was voted as one if Australia and New Zealand’s all time pieces of music. Everyone related to an ANZAC combatant in Gallipoli must feel sone of this soldier’s pain. “I never knew there was worse things than dying” is a great lyric isn’t it? Let’s hope we never find out.

  3. Excellent. Your blog about the song was especially poignant. We did an different version of the song in school last year & the kids loved it. Did suggest Tom Baxter ‘better’ for v day but also love ‘Fix you’ as someone else suggested above.

  4. Alone Again (Naturally) – slow, gravelly, and no instrumentation, hum vital chords with low natural vocal. add backing vocal with your own voice, some minimal boss delay pedal to it. layer produce,

  5. Fab version of Waltzing Mathilda your voice was made for such sings wonderful well done

    No surprise my choice for Valentines Day is Come Rain or come shine by Ray Charles 🙂

  6. Elvis costello,She……obviously!Also ,Iris is V good….and Words(Mr David….)She’s always a woman-B Joel,and Oasis-she’s electric.
    Good job on W Matilda Derek

  7. Absolutely lovely Derek, beautiful song sang amazingly.
    I’m going to leave Tom for another time so has to be 35 Sky Blue and Black.
    I think you’d do a great version of that.. 🙂

  8. Pity there wasn’t a ‘Loved’ icon I could have clicked. Sitting here with a cuppa and a tear in my eye – I hate sad, and Derek, that was heart-wrenchingly sad – but I really enjoyed every minute of it. I had to read your post too about playing it in New York so now I’m torn between my original choice of 21 or choosing number 2 because of the girl in the bar . . .

  9. Ok, this is the toughest one yet! While I’d love to hear you doing some Garth Brooks 😉 out of that list I’d have to pick ‘Still in Love With You’ – how’s yer Gary Moore?! 😉

    I’m actually really disappointed – I was so sure I’d left you a comment this night last week suggesting “Someone to Talk To” by the Devlins, as I thought it’d really suit your voice, but it doesn’t seem to be here. Second time I’ve failed to hit The ‘Post Comment’ button properly – what a Luddite!! It’ll have to keep for another time I guess 😉

  10. No wonder the NY crowd loved this. You are a good actor too, very dramatic. I vote for:

    1. My Funny Valentine
    2. Alone Again, Naturally (ha, ha… let’s see you act that out!)

  11. Derek, This is so wonderful. SO sad and beautifully done!

    As for my votes, well, I’m gonna have to go with Bob Dylan #22 with the King a close second #37.

    For anti-love, and for almost anything else, if you put the DEAD MILKMEN on the list, they will get my vote! But there is a great anti-love song that isn’t on the list that you may want to check out for next year, it is the little known BREATHE by ALL. I think it is on their album PERCOLATOR, but I could be wrong.

  12. Great version Derek. And for the song ‘First Time …’ by Roberta Flack is the favourite but closely followed by ‘Martha’ – Tom Waits was great but Freddie White did an excellent version too

  13. Heya, I must admit I have not heard this song before (maybe it’s because I’m Turkish -or maybe I have an aversion to the name Matilda 😛 ); having listened to it and read your previous post, I have to say you have done a smashing job with covering it. Your voice is beautiful; it brings out the poignant words and allows us to take in the moment. Thank you for choosing to share this with us.

    As for voting, I choose Fix You by Cold Play; I think your voice will be just perfect for it. 😀

  14. Wow, Derek! You’ve surpassed yourself here. Your voice is so suited to Waltzing Matilda. Really beautiful. As for the love song, it would have to be #25 ‘She’ by Elvis Costello. Adore that song. But the anti-love? G’wan and make aul snerky-head Jane happy and do ‘I Touch Myself’!

  15. This song gave me chills; wonderful rendition!!!! Thank you. My vote for Valentine’s is #34, but I’m really curious to see what you’ll pick. The suspense is lovely!!!

  16. This brought back memories – and my Mom reminded me that I sang Waltzing Matilda as a toddler, but due to speech issues it somehow became “Mousy the Turtle”. As for voting, Wonderful Tonight has always been a fave of mine.

  17. My Hub sang the Band played Waltzing Matilda to our new born baby girl in the delivery room.
    My favourite on your list is Number 1. Roberta Flack The first time ever I saw your face.
    My favourite not on your list would be Elton John Your song.

  18. Loved you’re rendition of Waltzing… and the story through the link. You’re story-telling is as good as your singing! I missed this round, but voted out of the final 3 for Costello!

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