|by Charles A. Zimmermann|
The original sheet music cover for "Anchors Aweigh"
A modern recording of "Anchors Aweigh", as performed by the United States Navy Band.</td></tr></table>
"Anchors Aweigh" is the fight song of the United States Naval Academy, and as a result, the song is strongly associated with the United States Navy. It was composed in 1906 by Charles A. Zimmermann with lyrics by Alfred Hart Miles. When he composed "Anchors Aweigh," Zimmermann was a Lieutenant, and had been bandmaster of the United States Naval Academy Band since 1887. Miles was Midshipman First Class at the Academy, in the class of 1907, and asked Zimmermann to assist him in composing a song for that class, to be used as a football march. Another Academy Midshipman, Royal Lovell (class of 1926) later wrote what would be adopted into the song as its third verse.
To "weigh anchor" is to bring it aboard a vessel in preparation for departure. The phrase "anchor's aweigh" is a report that the anchor is clear of the sea bottom and, therefore, the ship is officially underway.
"Anchors Aweigh" is often misspelled as "Anchors Away," leading to confusion of the terms and the misunderstanding that it means 'to drop anchor' (i.e. 'away'). But that is the opposite of what it really means.
"Weigh" as a verb means to "bear" or "move", thus giving it several shades of meaning and derivation, including "weight" or heaviness. This lends itself to obvious plays on words, as with Flip Wilson's old routine about Christopher Columbus. "Columbus cried, 'Weigh anchor'. A few minutes later, a crewman reported, 'Two thousand, one hundred thirty six pounds'."
The song was first played during the Army–Navy football game on December 1, 1906, at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Before a crowd in excess of 30,000 Navy won the game 10–0, their first win in the match up since 1900.
The song was gradually adopted as the song of the U.S. Navy; although there is a pending proposal to make it the official song, and to incorporate protocol into Navy regulations for its performance, its status remains unofficial. Its lyrics were considered too specific to the Academy and not representative of the Navy at large, and so were rewritten by George D. Lottman (note the reference to "farewell to college joys"). Its melody was also slightly rewritten by Domenico Savino.
The song has joyful, brisk melody, and it has been adopted by several other navies around the world, such as the Finnish Navy.
Anchors Aweigh (1906 version)
Stand Navy down the field, sail set to the sky;
Get underway, Navy, Decks cleared for the fray;
Blue of the Mighty Deep; Gold of God's Sun
Stand Navy out to sea, fight our battle cry!
Anchors Aweigh, my boys, Anchors Aweigh!
Blue of the mighty deep, Gold of God's great sun;
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