The ori­gin of the Navy’s ‘An­chors Aweigh’

Baltimore Sun - - MARYLAND - By Paul McCardell THEN AND NOW paul.mccardell@balt­sun.com

Back in 1906, Navy had not beaten Army on the foot­ball field since 1900. Mid­ship­man Al­fred A. “Monk” Miles fig­ured the team could use a lit­tle mu­si­cal in­spi­ra­tion. The re­sult was a song that’s ev­ery bit as pop­u­lar to­day as it was the year it was born.

For 110 years, “An­chors Aweigh” has been a Navy sta­ple.

It was Miles who would write the lyrics to the song, but it was the U.S. Naval Academy’s band­mas­ter, Lt. Charles A. “Zimmy” Zim­mer­mann, a grad­u­ate of Bal­ti­more’s Pe­abody Con­ser­va­tory, who would come up with the mu­sic. He was ap­proached by Miles, who said his class­mates “were eager to have a piece of mu­sic that would be in­spir­ing, one with a swing to it so it could be used as a foot­ball march­ing song, and one that would live for­ever,” ac­cord­ing to the Navy’s web­site.

Leg­end has it that Zim­mer­man and Miles worked on the song to­gether at the or­gan in the Naval Academy chapel in An­napo­lis.

The 1906 Army-Navy game was to be played Dec. 1. “‘An­chors Aweigh’ (class march of the Class of 1907) … will be sung when the Mid­dies have the ball and are pound­ing against the Army line,” ac­cord­ing to a re­port in the Dec. 1, 1906, edi­tion of The Bal­ti­more Sun.

(The say­ing “an­chor aweigh” means the an­chor is no longer touch­ing the bot­tom and the ship is of­fi­cially un­der­way.)

The fi­nal score was Navy, 10-0. “The jubu­la­tion of the An­napoli­tans be­gan all over again,” The Sun re­ported.

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