[Sheet music] I Hear You Calling Me

Accession Number RC10924.010
Collection number Sheet Music Collection 439
Collection type Published Collection
Record type Item
Item count 1
Measurement Overall: 34 cm x 26 cm
Object type Sheet Music
Maker Marshall, Charles
Hartford, Harold
Place made United Kingdom: England, Greater London, London
Date made c 1908
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918
Copying Provisions Digital format and content protected by copyright.

Sheet music for the song titled 'I hear you calling me', with music composed by Charles Marshall and lyrics written by Harold Lake. The song was published in 1908 with several editions appearing in different keys. Lyrics from this song also appeared on a series of postcards published in 1915. This copy of the song was included in the compilation album titled 'Australian Y.M.C.A songs, Vol. IV', which was published about 1918. The sheet music for the song itself, was published by Boosey & Co and sold for 2/-. The cover also features the comment that performances of parodies of the song in public were prohibited. The back cover features a list of other titles of music available from Boosey & Co.

In 'The Edwardian Song Book', Turner and Miall mention Marshall visited the tenor singer, John McCormack, so that he could hear the song. McCormack recorded the song a total of six times and is credited to have been responsible for making the song famous. This copy of the sheet music for the song also attests 'Sung by Mr John McCormack' at the top of the front cover. The lyrics of the song emphasise remembering the sound of someone's voice, no matter how much time has passed, while visiting the grave of a loved one.

Harold Lake, a journalist who used the pen name of Harold Harford, had been encouraged by a friend in the Westminster Choir to write lyrics for some time before these lyrics were put to paper. The words reportedly came to Lake after waking up one morning and were composed within 20 minutes. Lake relays the story behind the lyrics, as: ‘A 16 year old pupil teacher at an elementary school in Canterbury [England] met a girl nearly a year his junior. Then followed three years of utter devotion as only the very young can know, then a fortnight of galloping consumption, and a lad of 19 standing on a November day grave.’

The song became a very popular gramophone recording with the Brisbane Courier, upon Lake's death in 1933, reporting that he made a 'small fortune' from the royalties for recordings of the song but ony a few pounds for the sale of the song.

Towards the bottom of this page is a sound recording of this sheet music, or a parody, that was created as part of the Music and the First World War project. More information about this recording, including names of the performers, can be found on the catalogue record for the sound recording. A link to the catalogue record for the sound recording can be found at the bottom of this page, under the heading ‘Related objects’ where it can be identified with the prefix [sound recording].