Tune of the Day: Lightly Row
This song probably originated during the 19th century in Germany, where it is known under the name of “Hänschen klein”, or “Alles neu macht der Mai”.
Originally it told of a boy (‛Little Hans’) who ventures to the world and returns as a man to his family. It gained much more popularity around 1900, when it came to be adopted as the very first song to be taught to small children, whether at home or in kindergarten. Now it is about a boy who is going away but returns immediately, since his mother, left alone, began crying. Other countries have written new lyrics for the tune. In the United States, the song is about a family rowing a boat and having a happy time.
It is the theme song of the 1977 war film Cross of Iron with James Coburn.