“Beer Barrel Polka“, also known as “Roll Out the Barrel“, is a song which became popular worldwide during World War II….as the music was composed by the Czech musician Jaromír Vejvoda in 1927….then 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”)….when 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….when in June 1939, “Beer Barrel Polka“, was recorded by Will Glahé,….which became # 1 on the Hit Parade. This version was distributed by Shapiro Bernstein. Glahé’s earlier 1934 recording sold many copies in its German version Rosamunde….which many attibute to the occupation of Czechoslovakia by Nazi Germany….causing the subsequent emigration of thousands of Czechs to other parts of the world….while bringing this catchy tune with them…..with the authors of the English lyrics being 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.”
In this video seen herewith….Willie Nelson & The Family Band perform the instrumental version live on stage at Austin City Limits in 1981….as it becomes readily obvious of how this music has been viable and enjoyed by many still today….and over the past 93 years.