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Intro

In a Nutshell

“Take Me Out to the Ball Game” is as American as apple pie and, well, baseball. But the seventh inning stretch hymn was not written for the ballpark; it was written for Vaudeville, a term that describes both a style of entertainment and a circuit of theaters popular around the turn of the century. Even as the song was soaring to the top of the Vaudeville charts, though, Vaudeville itself was dying. By 1930, Vaudeville was dead, rendered obsolete by a new, more exciting form of entertainment: the movies.

“Take Me Out to the Ball Game” survived, though. It jumped off the stage and onto the diamond where it belonged. Today it is the third most frequently sung song in America. (Can you name the first two?) But how exactly did the song get so popular? And when did it first make the leap from stage to sandlot? And most importantly, what’s the deal with those extra verses? Who on earth is Katie Casey??? Keep reading to find out.

About the Song

ArtistN/A Musician(s)N/A
AlbumN/A
Year1908
LabelN/A
Writer(s)Jack Norworth (lyrics), Albert Von Tilzer (music)
Producer(s)N/A
Learn to play: http://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/m/misc_traditional/take_me_out_to_the_ball_game_ver2_crd.htm
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Shmoop Connections

Explore the ways this song connects with the world and with other topics on Shmoop
America’s entertainment tastes have always been fluid. Through much of the 19th century, minstrel shows were Americans’ first entertainment choice. During the 1920s, people began flocking to the movies instead. In terms of music, ragtime was popular in the 1890s until replaced by jazz in the 1920s, and country music had a growing audience through the 1950s until rock and roll pushed it aside. “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” has survived for over a century by shifting with Americans’ entertainment tastes. It was written for the Vaudeville stage, but when Vaudeville died, it migrated to the ballpark, where it probably belonged.

“Take Me Out to the Ball Game” also reveals important details about America at the time it was written. While most people today only recognize the song’s chorus, there are also several verses to the tune, and it is probably no accident that the songwriter chose an Irish heroin for those verses. His decision says something about both Irish immigration and the history of women in America.

On the Charts

While “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” isn’t exactly at the top of the Billboard charts these days, it’s still one of the most popular songs in America, sung during the 7th inning stretch of almost every baseball game in the country.
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