John "Jack" Judge (3 December 1872 – 25 July 1938) was a British songwriter and music-hall entertainer best remembered for writing the song It's a Long Way to Tipperary. Judge originally wrote and sang the song in 1912, but the far more widely known John McCormack acquired greater name recognition with the song.
3 December 1872
Oldbury, Worcestershire, UK
|Died||25 July 1938
West Bromwich, Staffordshire, UK
|Monuments||Bronze statue, Lord Pendry Square, Stalybridge|
|Notable work||It's a Long Way to Tipperary|
|Home town||Oldbury, West Midlands, England, UK|
Judge was born in Worcestshire, England on the 3rd of December 1872. Judge's parents were Irish, from County Mayo. His grandparents came from County Tipperary. He was originally a fishmonger, and took to the stage after winning a talent contest.
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At the time his famous song was written, he was performing at "The Grand Theatre", Stalybridge, Cheshire. He allegedly wrote the song for a 5 shilling bet on 30 January 1912 and performed it the next night at "The Grand". However, many people, including the Judge family, dispute this and say the song was written in his home town of Oldbury.
The legal rights to "It's a Long Way to Tipperary" was purchased by a British music publishing company, Feldman, for £5. Harry Williams (died 1924), a neighbour of Judge, was co-attributed as composer. Later in his life when he became very unwell, the company gave him a weekly pension of £1.
John McCormack recorded the song in 1914, which gave it worldwide popularity. Judge had recorded The Place Where I Was Born in 1915, when he was aged 42 and already a big star. Written before the outbreak of war, this is one of his few serious songs, and is a sensitive comment about the working man's compassion for others during hard times. In the same year he recorded Paddy Maloney's Aeroplane and Michael O'Leary, V.C., both about Irishmen helping the war effort. As well as songs for the stage, he wrote a number of football songs in support of his beloved West Bromwich Albion F.C. He continued recording through the 1920s.
A bronze statue of Judge now adorns Lord Pendry Square in Stalybridge. The recently opened public library in his home town of Oldbury bears his name.
- Gibbons, Verna Hale (1999). The Judges: Mayo, to the Midlands of England. West Midlands: Sandwell Community Library Service.
- The Tipperary Star, 7 January 1989
- "A Tribute to Jack Judge". Staleybridge Online. 2002. Archived from the original on 6 July 2007. Retrieved 17 August 2007.
- Gibbons, Verna Hale (1998). Jack Judge: The Tipperary Man. West Midlands, England, UK: Sandwell Community Library Service. ISBN 1-900689-07-3.
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