“The Man Behind the Gun” (1899)
In telling a reporter how this march was inspired, Sousa also gave his explanation of why his marches have been more successful than those of the master composers:
A composition in march tempo must have the military instinct, and that is one reason why so few of the great composers have written successful marches. They lived in an atmosphere of peace. The roll of musketry had no meaning for them, so that quality is entirely absent from their work. The Spanish War was an inspiration to me. “The Man Behind the Gun” was a musical echo of it.
The march first appeared in the operetta Chris and the Wonderful Lamp (1899).
Paul E. Bierley, The Works of John Philip Sousa (Westerville, Ohio: Integrity Press, 1984), 43. Used by permission.