“The Man Behind”


The singer's father warns, "Don't ever be too forward, lad, but act with modesyt; In battle it's the man in fromt that's always shot... But the general gets the credit, for he's the man behind." Other examples show that it's best to be "the man behind"


Shellans speculates that this might have originated in Vaudeville. I agree that it has that sort of feeling (or, even more, the music hall or comic opera), but I failed to turn up any versions in web searches. (The fact that the title is a very common phrase doesn't help...).

The Pankakes say that their fragment is sung to "The Wearing of the Green." Not so the version in Shellan -- so, at the very least, there has been folk processing. - RBW


  1. Shellans, pp. 82-83, "The Man Behind" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Pankake-PHCFSB, p. 86, "The Man Behind (1 fragment, tune references)
  3. Roud #7358 and 12812
  4. BI, Shel082


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1960 (Collected by Shellans from John Daniel Vass)
Found in: US(SE)