Historic Sheet Music Collection


Oceana Roll

Document Type


Publication Date



Words by Roger Lewis. Music by Lucien Denni.

Published by Jerome H. Remick & Co. New York. Detroit.

Copyright MCMXI assigned to Aubrey Stauffer & Co.

“Some of these resources may contain offensive stereotypes. Such materials should be seen in the context of the time period and as a reflection of the attitudes of the time. The items are part of the historical record, and do not represent the views of the library or the institution.”


Billy McCoy was a musical boy
On the cruiser Alabama,
He was there on that “piana”
Like a fish down in the sea
When he rattled off some harmony;
Ev’ry night out on the ocean
He would get that raggy notion,
Start that syncopated motion lovin’ly;
No one could sleep ‘way out there on the deep,
When Billy cut loose out at sea.

Each fish and worm begins to twist and squirm,
The ship starts in to dip and does a corkscrew turn;
Just see that smoke so black sneak from that old smokestack!
Its floatin’ right to heaven and it won’t come back;
Now here and there you’ll see a stool and chair
A slippin’ ‘round the cabin shoutin’ “I don’t care!”
And then the hammock starts a swingin’
And the bell begins a ringin’
While he’s sittin’ at that “piano”,
There on the Alabama,
Playin’ the Oceana Roll.

England or Spain, it was always the same,
He’d be there at that “piana”
On the cruiser Alabama,
Ev’ry mornin’, noon and night
He would keep it up with all his might;
Ev’ry time he’d start aplayin’
All the boys would start aswayin’,
Ev’ry one would keep a sayin’,
“Don’t you stop!”
Sailors, take care! Oh, you sailors, beware!
For Bill will play on ‘till you drop.




The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author.