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This song is a sea song or ballad which was traditionally saved for the last day of a voyage, after which all crew would disembark the ship.
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The song would not be sung on naval ships, instead only on Private or Pirate ships, as the lyrics were often re-written to mock the Captain, Quartermaster, and other senior members of the crew. In navies, the disrespect of senior officers and crew would usually end in punishment.
The ‘Her’ in the song’s title refers to the ship which the crew was manning, as Ships are traditionally referred to with feminine pronouns in Western, English speaking cultures. The ‘Johnny’ spoke of in the title is merely a general, “John Doe” style name for men commonly used in sea songs.
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Leave Her, Johnny (Live) by Jonathan Young, Leave Her Johnny by Kenny Cree & Leave Her Johnny by Colm R. McGuinness
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