Appalachia Music

There’s A Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere

Theres a star spangled banner waving somewhere

According to Wikipedia, There’s A Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere was written in 1942 by Paul Roberts and Shelby Darnell…Darnelle was actually Bob Miller writing under a different name.

The song became one of the most popular war songs of the day. The Folk Archive Website shares this magazine article detailing the success of the song, as well as Miller’s angst about the spreading popularity of the song he helped pen:

With Bob Miller, it’s either hillbilly or it isn’t, and no compromises. He tries to confine his offerings to authentic outlets, and this has caused him some embarrassment. When ‘There’s A Star-Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere’ hit its third million in record and sheet music sales, Miller inserted an ad in Variety asking big-name band leaders ‘not’ to play it, please. And when the song made the Hit Parade he threatened to sue if it was played. He explains that his reputation as a writer and publisher was at stake. This music, he insists, must have the common touch. It is violated unless done by a true son of the soil, one to the manner born…. To streamline such a number is, says Miller, to break faith with his clientele.

~DORON K. ANTRIM, Colliers magazine, reprinted in Dorothy Horstman, Sing Your Heart Out, Country Boy, New York, NY, 1976, p. 285

Very interesting that the success of the song caused Miller such intense feelings about who actually performed the song.

Over the years many performers have recorded the song. Among them-Elton Britt, Hank Snow, Ray Price, Jimmy Wakely, and the Blind Pig Gang.


There’s a Star-Spangled Banner waving somewhere
In a distant land so many miles away.
Only Uncle Sam’s great heroes get to go there
Where I wish that I could also live some day.
I’d see Lincoln, Custer, Washington and Perry,
And Nathan Hale and Colin Kelly, too.
There’s a Star-Spangled Banner waving somewhere,
Waving o’er the land of heroes brave and true.

In this war with its mad schemes of destruction
Of our country fair and our sweet liberty,
By the mad dictators, leaders of corruption,
Can’t the U. S. use a mountain boy like me?
God gave me the right to be a free American,
And for that precious right I’d gladly die.
There’s a Star-Spangled Banner waving somewhere,
That is where I want to live when I die.

Though I realize I’m crippled, that is true, sir,
Please don’t judge my courage by my twisted leg.
Let me show my Uncle Sam what I can do, sir,
Let me help to bring the Axis down a peg.
If I do some great deed I will be a hero,
And a hero brave is what I want to be.
There’s a Star-Spangled Banner waving somewhere,
In that heaven there should be a place for me.

written by Paul Robers and Shelby Darnell (aka Bob Miller)


Paul and Pap change the words slightly. In most instances they were probably learning the song from Pap’s memory-which was probably a little off. Their changing of the list of sur-names might have been intentional. Either way their version is recorded forever on the cd they produced several years ago,  Lamp Lighting Time. (click below to hear the song)

I believe Bob Miller would surely agree Paul and Pap do a fine job on his song. I hope you enjoyed the song too.


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  • Reply
    Harmon Miller
    October 25, 2021 at 5:27 am

    Wow! What a great rendition. More Americana than Country. There is only a handful of artists that harmonize the vocals on that song and Paul and Pap pull it off as well as anyone.
    Truth be told, Elton Britt’s (who made it a hit) version was not very countrified. It had an acoustic guitar plucking the chords and a couple of trumpets to give a revelry feel to it. There are some violin flourishes but I wouldn’t call them fiddles; they give more of an orchestra feel to the song. So there is no guitar picking, no banjo and no southern accents or references to pickup trucks. Bob Miller, who was influential at the time at Bluebird Records, co-wrote the song and published it. He was an accomplished jazz orchestra leader in the 20’s with a background in formal music training, so I’m betting he was the arranger for the song. I think his tirade in the trade magazines regarding keeping the song true to country roots was just an angle to promote the song. Paul and Pap get my vote for my favorite arrangement. If you want to hear a real “hillbilly” vibe to the song then check out the Elkville Stringband on YouTube and the antithesis version of that is Pat Boone’s, also on YouTube. If you want a version to dance the Cha-Cha then check out Dave Dudley’s version.

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    November 10, 2014 at 12:02 am

    well remembered – I seem to have been fond of singing “war time” songs including Coming In On a Wing and a Prayer, The Marines Hymn and this one! 🙂
    I agree with it being performed with simplicity and true emotion. As usual,Pap and Paul do a great job. I would so love to be a fly on the wall when you all get together making music.

  • Reply
    Ida Hyden
    November 9, 2014 at 11:37 pm

    Tipper, Poure Ed…
    he really doesn’t care fer snow whyite or yeller…bless his little heart!
    Great job Pap and Paul just sounded wonderful!
    Great tribute to our VETERANS, THANKS GUYS AND GALS!

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    November 9, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    I’m late on Sunday night posting today, but loved Pap and Paul’s rendition of “There’s a Star-Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere”! I had not heard the song in a long time. It’s good to have it “revived” here through your post. And I also read my friend Eva Nell’s post of her reading from her book “Fiddler of the Mountains” at my hometown of Blairsville where her Uncle Johnny Mull, the fiddler, played for Dolly Parton to sing ‘way back in her early years of going public! Music is the language of the soul, and mountain/country music certainly bears much of that soul kind of music! Thanks!

  • Reply
    November 9, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    I remember parts of the song from somewhere in my distant past. It was so far back I don’t think I could pick out the words Paul and Pap changed.

  • Reply
    November 9, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    O my! I’ve not heard that song in years and years! Beautifully done and most timely, in my opinion.
    You can tell Paul that I said for him to mind how he handles those plastic flatpicks, lest they catch afire from the speed and friction and melt down between his fingers….

  • Reply
    Peggy R. Lambert
    November 9, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    I love the song and how nice it was sung and the meaning. We spent nearly 22 years in the Army. I say we because the children (3) were involved because we went every where he was sent except to Greenland and it was not allowed for families. God Bless all the Military!
    Peggy L.

  • Reply
    eva nell wike, PhD
    November 9, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    Tipper: Well spoken by folks who read your post. We got delayed on our departing Tennessee and missed C&C performance AGAIN! So sorry.
    Saturday evening ‘reading’ was wonderful! You would have been impressed at the number of folks who turned out for my READING OF “FIDDLER” Saturday evening at the NETWEST Writers Night in the Community Center in Blairsville. Probably 30 folks came out and THREE FOLKS FROM THE MATHESON COVE ATTENDED. I was swept away and had to wipe away a tear or two when those beautiful folks came up and talked privately after my reading. Don’t know how I have earned such regard from these wonderful people. But it makes all those many miles of travel seem easy!
    Kindest regards, Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    November 9, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    That is a beautiful song done in
    perfect harmony. All the instruments are blended just right.
    And it makes me proud to be friends
    with your mountain family…Ken

  • Reply
    November 9, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    What a treasure! I had almost forgotten about this great song. Paul and Pap certainly outdid themselves on this.

  • Reply
    November 9, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    Amen-Amen!Great job guys.Already have your CD.God Bless.

  • Reply
    November 9, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    May we never forget our precious freedom and those who have sacrificed to ensure it.

  • Reply
    November 9, 2014 at 10:56 am

    whirred Pap git that custard colored gitar?

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    November 9, 2014 at 10:52 am

    Pap and Paul certainly have the “common touch” mentioned in the article. That pair of words, by the way, is mindful of their use in Rudyard Kipling’s “If”

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    November 9, 2014 at 10:30 am

    You don’t to have to die to be a hero. You don’t even have to stand up and fight. You just have to be willing to do your best when you are needed.
    Most of this world’s heros go unnoticed. Their names will never be at the base of a statue. Their pictures will never adorn the halls of government. Their markers might not even have their names. They themselves deny their own nobility. Their deeds are unproclaimed and forgotten, but in the place of infinite possibilities, their stars will outshine the rest.
    Tipper-You are a hero of mine!

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    November 9, 2014 at 8:38 am

    You have to love a man that is true to self and not concerned with how much money his song will make. I am sure that back then money was important and yet he kept his integrity.
    Sons of the soil are different and I am proud to come from a long line of them. Unfortunately I am the last of my family.
    Those of us that are left must keep trying to preserve this great
    way of thinking and living.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    November 9, 2014 at 8:00 am

    Tipper–Interesting that one of those who recorded the song was Hank Snow, a Canadian. I imagine the cadence and nature of the song fit his style.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    November 9, 2014 at 7:43 am

    Ah! Such a timely song. We still have the need for brave young souls to keep this country safe. God bless our days as war hurts, but our freedom keeps us on our toes. Thanks to all who sacrifice and give to this country so we can all be free.

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