Danny By My Side
DESCRIPTION: "The Brooklyn Bridge on Sunday is known as lover's lane, I steal there with my sweetheart, oh, time and time again." As she walks, she sees lovers, mothers with their babies, all sorts of people. "What joy to me such sights to see with Danny by my side."
AUTHOR: Words: Edward Harrigan / Music: David Braham
EARLIEST DATE: 1891 ("The Last of the Hogans")
KEYWORDS: love courting nonballad
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Finson-Edward-Harrigan-David-Braham, vol. II, #162, pp. 275-278, "Danny By My Side" (1 text, 1 tune)
ADDITIONAL: E. J. Kahn, Jr., _The Merry Partners: The Age and Stage of Harrigan and Hart_, Random House, 1955, p. 77, "(Danny by My Side)" (1 partial text)
Mick Moloney, "Danny By My Side" (on HarriganBrahamMaloney)
NOTES [266 words]: For background on Harrigan and Braham, see the notes to "The Babies on Our Block."
"The Last of the Hogans" was first staged on December 22, 1891 (Moody, p. 259), making it the last real collaboration between Ned Harrigan and David Braham, and the last real Harrigan play (Moody, p. 192). His company was active into 1893, and Harrigan occasionally wrote and frequently acted after that, but there were no new hits.
The plot of "The Last of the Hogans" was a typical Harrigan complexity-fest; the title comes from a legal case about a bricklayer named Hogan who is thought to be dead; his presumed decease results in a wild chase for his papers, hidden inside a bricked-up vault (Franceschina, p. 203). Braham's tune for "Danny By My Side" was compared to his earlier "Maggie Murphy's Home," which was one of Braham's biggest hits (Franceschina, pp. 203-204). But "Maggie Murphy's Home" managed to make it into tradition in a small way; it doesn't appear that "Danny By My Side" did.
The Brooklyn Bridge opened in 1883; fifty years later, Al Smith (a lifelong Harrigan/Braham fan) sang "Danny By My Side" to celebrate the anniversary of its opening (Moody, p. 2; Kahn, p. 77, reports that Smith, when he was ten and the bridge was new, had been caught in a panic when someone reported it was in danger of falling, but that didn't stop him from celebrating both the bridge and the song!).
According to Williams, p. 207, "The [Tin Pan Alley] Irish-American girl began life as the tough 'chippie' characterized by Harrigan's Maggie Murphy and the somewhat gentler girl who sings 'Danny By My Side.'"
Last updated in version 5.2
- Franceschina: John Franceschina, David Braham: The American Offenbach, Routledge, 2003
- Kahn: E. J. Kahn, Jr., The Merry Partners: The Age and Stage of Harrigan and Hart, Random House, 1955
- Moody: Richard Moody, Ned Harrigan: From Corlear's Hook to Herald Square, Nelson Hall, 1980
- Williams: William H. A. Williams, 'Twas Only an Irishman's Dream, University of Illinois Press, 1996
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