Escar UK Bronze : Bronze Commissioned Statues

JACK JUDGE : STALYBRIDGE : TAMESIDE : GREATER MANCHESTER : UK

Jack Judge : The Statue

The statue of Jack Judge was the fourth of six commissioned bronze statues produced by Escar UK Bronze for Greater Manchester Council, UK

This fine bronze statue depicts Jack sitting on a granite rock  studying the Tipperary Song Sheet, whilst a First World War soldier leans over his shoulder and plays the song on his mouth organ

The statue of Jack Judge the Tipperary Man, is sited in Lord Pendry Square in Stalybridge, Tameside, Greater Manchester outside the newly renovated Stalybridge Town Hall, a mere few hundred yards away from what was once the Grand Theatre

Jack Judge : The Unveiling

The statue was unveiled on December 16th 2005 by Councillor Frank Robinson while the local brass band, the oldest in the world, did the honours and fittingly, several members of the Judge family were also in attendance to also honour him

The plaque is carefully phrased to sidestep controversy by stating that the song was conceived in Stalybridge, rather than composed there as is widely believed

This wording is used because many people contest this claim, asserting instead that the song was written in his hometown of Oldbury

Jack Judge : The Man

Jack Judge, born in 1872 in Oldbury, Worcestershire, England, is best remembered as the composer of the iconic World War One song, ‘It’s a Long Way to Tipperary’

This song became an anthem for British soldiers during the war, symbolizing the longing and resilience of those stationed on the front lines

Jack, a consummate performer with a perfect voice for music hall, began supplementing his main income as a fish seller by taking to the stage in order to support his growing family

He made his debut in 1909 at a variety concert in Birmingham with the song ‘John Bull’s Cold’ and despite his humble beginnings, Judge’s talent for creating memorable tunes set him apart and at 38 he found great success performing at major music halls as well as distributing sheet music to retailers

Jack Judge : It's a Long Way to Tipperary : The Lyrics

‘It’s a long way to Tipperary’ is a Music Hall and Marching Song, written by Jack Judge in 1912

The well known chorus is:

It’s a long way to Tipperary,
It’s a long way to go,
It’s a long way to Tipperary
To the sweetest girl I know!

Goodbye Piccadilly,
Farewell Leicester Square!
It’s a long long way to Tipperary,
But my heart’s right there

Jack Judge : It's a Long Way to Tipperary : Writing the Song

The story behind “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary” is both legendary and serendipitous, highlighting Jack’s talent and quick wit

Jack’s family hailed from County Mayo and in 1909 he wrote ‘It’s a Long Way to Connemara,’ tapping into the popularity of sentimental Irish ballads among emigrants longing for home

In January 1912 after a performance at the Grand Theatre in Stalybridge, Cheshire, a fellow artist bet Jack he couldn’t write and perform a new song within 24 hours

Rising to the occasion Jack adapted his unpublished song ‘Connemara, changing the title to ‘It’s a Long Way to Tipperary’

He composed the new version overnight, performed it the next day and very quickly its catchy melody & heartfelt lyrics resonated with audiences and it caught on, solidifying its place in music history

Jack Judge : His Other Songs

Jack penned dozens of music hall songs with his first major hit being ‘How Are Yer?’ in 1912

Other popular songs included ‘Michael O’Leary’, ‘Paddy Maloney’s Aeroplane’, ‘Sing a Song,’ ‘The Magic of Cremalt’, ‘The Way the Wind Blows’ and ‘When the Band Begins to Play’

But despite his many compositions, unfortunately none managed to achieve the same level of fame as, ‘It’s a Long Way to Tipperary’

Jack Judge : World War One

As World War One unfolded, ‘It’s a Long Way to Tipperary’ was adopted by British soldiers as a marching song

Its themes of homesickness and hope struck a chord with the troops and the song spread rapidly throughout the ranks, becoming an international hit

On August 13, 1914, George Curnock of the Daily Mail, while on holiday in Boulogne, observed the British Expeditionary Force landing in France

He noted the soldiers singing familiar tunes like ‘Soldiers of the Queen’ and ‘Dolly Grey’ were followed by a new poignant song, sung by Irish voices

Curnock’s report on the ‘Tipperary’ song was cabled worldwide and people everywhere embraced the song

Jack Judge : His Legacy

Jack Judge’s contribution to music and cultural history is significant and ‘It’s a Long Way to Tipperary’ remains a timeless classic, a reminder of music’s power to uplift and unite people during hardship

Judge’s story is one of talent, perseverance and the enduring impact of a simple song, written in a moment of inspiration

Escar UK Bronze : Jack Judge
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