The Band Played Waltzing Matilda – lyrics and chords

The lyrics to The Band Played Waltzing Matilda tell the story of a man reflecting on his experience of fighting in the first World War. The chords are presented here in the key of A major. Use our chord converter to play the song in other keys.


A 
When I was a  
D 
young man I  
A 
carried my  
F# 
pack
 
And I  
A 
lived the free  
E7 
life of a  
A 
rover
 
From the Murray’s green  
D 
basin to the  
A 
dusty 
 
out
F#m 
back
 
I  
A 
waltzed my Ma
E7 
tilda all o
A 
ver
 
Then in  
E 
nineteen fifteen the  
D 
country said:  
A 
’Son
 
It’s  
E 
time to stop rambling there’s  
D 
work to be  
A 
done
 
And they gave me a  
F#m 
tin hat and they  
A 
gave me a  
F#m 
gun
 
And they  
A 
sent me a
E7 
way to the  
A 
war
 
And the band played  
D 
Waltzing 
 
Ma
A 
tilda
 
As our ship pulled a
D 
way from the  
E7 
quay
 
And a
D 
midst all the  
Bm 
cheers, flag waving and  
D 
tears
 
We  
A 
sailed off to  
E7 
Galipo
A 
li.

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How well I remember that terrible day
How the blood stained the sand and the water
And how in that town that they called Suvla Bay
We were butchered like lambs to the slaughter.
Johnny Turk he was ready, he primed himself well
He chased us with bullets, he rained us with shells
And in five minutes flat he’d blown us to hell
Nearly blew us right back to Australia.
But the band played Waltzing Matilda
As we stopped to bury our slain
We buried ours and the Turks buriwed theirs
Then we started all over again.

Now, those that were left, well we tried to survive
In a mad world of blood, death and fire
And for ten weary weeks I kept myself alive
But around me the corpses piled higher
Then a big Turkish shell knocked my arse over head
And I woke up in my hospital bed
I saw what it had done and I wished I was dead
Never knew there were worse things than dying
For I’ll go no more waltzing Matilda
All around the green bush far and near
For to hump tent and pegs, a man needs both legs
No more waltzing Matilda for me.

So they collected the cripples, the wounded, the maimed
And they shipped us back home, to Australia
The armless, the legless, the blind, the insane
Those proud wounded heroes of Suvla
And as our ship pulled into Circular Quay
I looked at the place my legs used to be
And thank Christ there was no one there waiting for me
To grieve and to mourn and to pity
And the band played Waltzing Matilda
As they carried us down the gangway
But nobody cheered, they just stood and stared
Then turned all their faces away.

And now every April I sit on my porch
And I watch the parade pass before me
And I watch my old comrades, how proudly they march
Renewing old dreams of past glory
And the old men march slowly, all bent, stiff and sore
The tired old men from a forgotten war
And the young people ask, ‘what are they marching for?’
And I ask myself the same question
And the band played Waltzing Matilda
And the old men answer the call
But year after year their numbers get fewer
Some day no one will march there at all.

Last chorus, sung to the tune of Waltzing Matilda.

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
Who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me
And their ghosts may be heard as you pass by the Billabong
Who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?

The Band Played Waltzing Matilda videos
The Band Played Waltzing Matilda lyrics and chords

The Band Played Waltzing Matilda lyrics and chords print version

[A]When I was a [D]young man I [A]carried my [F#]pack
And I [A]lived the free [E7]life of a [A]rover
From the Murray’s green [D]basin to the [A]dusty out[F#m]back
I [A]waltzed my Ma[E7]tilda all o[A]ver
Then in [E]nineteen fifteen the [D]country said: [A]’Son
It’s [E]time to stop rambling there’s [D]work to be [A]done
And they gave me a [F#m]tin hat and they [A]gave me a [F#m]gun
And they [A]sent me a[E7]way to the [A]war
And the band played [D]Waltzing Ma[A]tilda
As our ship pulled a[D]way from the [E7]quay
And a[D]midst all the [Bm]cheers, flag waving and [D]tears
We [A]sailed off to [E7]Galipo[A]li.

How well I remember that terrible day
How the blood stained the sand and the water
And how in that town that they called Suvla Bay
We were butchered like lambs to the slaughter.
Johnny Turk he was ready, he primed himself well
He chased us with bullets, he rained us with shells
And in five minutes flat he’d blown us to hell
Nearly blew us right back to Australia.
But the band played Waltzing Matilda
As we stopped to bury our slain
We buried ours and the Turks buriwed theirs
Then we started all over again.

Now, those that were left, well we tried to survive
In a mad world of blood, death and fire
And for ten weary weeks I kept myself alive
But around me the corpses piled higher
Then a big Turkish shell knocked my arse over head
And I woke up in my hospital bed
I saw what it had done and I wished I was dead
Never knew there were worse things than dying
For I’ll go no more waltzing Matilda
All around the green bush far and near
For to hump tent and pegs, a man needs both legs
No more waltzing Matilda for me.

So they collected the cripples, the wounded, the maimed
And they shipped us back home, to Australia
The armless, the legless, the blind, the insane
Those proud wounded heroes of Suvla
And as our ship pulled into Circular Quay
I looked at the place my legs used to be
And thank Christ there was no one there waiting for me
To grieve and to mourn and to pity
And the band played Waltzing Matilda
As they carried us down the gangway
But nobody cheered, they just stood and stared
Then turned all their faces away.

And now every April I sit on my porch
And I watch the parade pass before me
And I watch my old comrades, how proudly they march
Renewing old dreams of past glory
And the old men march slowly, all bent, stiff and sore
The tired old men from a forgotten war
And the young people ask, ‘what are they marching for?’
And I ask myself the same question
And the band played Waltzing Matilda
And the old men answer the call
But year after year their numbers get fewer
Some day no one will march there at all.

Last chorus, sung to the tune of Waltzing Matilda.

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
Who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me
And their ghosts may be heard as you pass by the Billabong
Who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?

The Band Played Waltzing Matilda videos
The Band Played Waltzing Matilda lyrics and chords

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