Tag Archives: Guy Lombardo

Suddenly

(All of a Sudden) My Heart Sings is a popular song, written by Laurent Henri Herpin (music), Jean Marie Blauvillain (aka “Jamblan”) (French lyrics), and Harold Jacob Rome (English lyrics). The song was first introduced in France in 1942 by Jean Sablon under the title Ma Mie. In 1944, it was introduced by the elegant, single-named cabaret singer, Hildegarde under the English title, (All of a Sudden) My Heart Sings. The English version of the song was used in the 1945 musical comedy, Anchors Aweigh, and sung by the pretty, petite brunette with a heart-shaped face, Kathryn Grayson. Grayson’s most memorable roles came in the early 1950s. They were Show Boat (1951), where she played “Magnolia,” opposite Ava Gardner and Howard Keel; Kiss Me Kate (1953), playing actress “Lilli Vanessi,” who portrayed “Katherine” in the film’s “show within a show,” a musical version of The Taming of the Shrew. In 1953, she exited MGM, then made only one more film, The Vagabond King (1956) at Paramount. She later worked in nightclubs and on stage.

 Anchors Aweigh starred Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly and while (All of a Sudden) My Heart Sings was one of its better moments, the film is best known for the “King Who Couldn’t Dance” sequence, a mixture of animation and live action that features Kelly dancing with Jerry the mouse (of Tom and Jerry fame). This sequence deserves its reputation, for the blend is seamless and the dancing is captivating.

The song was also played and sung throughout the 1946 film, Young Widow, starring John Wayne, Jane Russell, and Louis Hayward. (I do not know who sang the song in the film.)

In the song, (All of a Sudden) My Heart Sings, as each line of the song is sung, the melody line goes up the scale. Upon reaching the highest note, each continuing line comes down the scale. Those who tackle this song need to have a voice with a wide range, which may account for the fact that only two versions of the song ever made it to the Billboard charts. Of possible interest, is the fact that one of the versions to reach the Billboard charts was by Johnnie Johnston, who later was married to Kathryn Grayson. So both husband and wife recorded the song, though not together. The other charted version was by Martha Stewart (No, not that Martha Stewart!)

 The song speaks remembering all “the crazy things we say and do” that makes the lover’s heart sing. The song is reminiscent of some other “remembering” songs, including Little Things Mean A Lot, made popular by Kitty Kallen in 1954, and These Foolish Things, made popular by several artists, including Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, Billie Holiday, Johnny Hartman, Frankie Laine, Sam Cooke, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James, Sammy Davis Jr., Aaron Neville, Bryan Ferry, Rod Stewart, and James Brown.  

 THE LYRICS

 (ALL OF A SUDDEN) MY HEART SINGS

Music by Laurent Henri Herpin; English lyrics by Harold Jacob Rome

All of a sudden my heart sings

When I remember little things

The way you dance and hold me tight

The way you kiss and say good night

The crazy things we say and do

The fun it is to be with you

The magic thrill that’s in your touch

Oh darling, I love you so much

The secret way you press my hand

To let me know you understand

The wind and rain upon your face

The breathless world of your embrace

Your little laugh and half-surprise

The star light gleaming in your eyes

Remembering all those little things

All of a sudden my heart sings

THE RECORDINGS

(All of a Sudden) My Heart Sings

Johnnie Johnston

Kathyrn Grayson

Martha Stewart

Hildegarde

Connie Haines

Eugenie Baird

Jack Carroll

Guy Lombardo

Duke Ellington (vocal by Joya Sherrill)

Frances Faye

Nellie Lutcher

Mireille Matthieu

Paul Anka

Ma Mie (French version)

Jean Sablon

Charles Trenet

La Chorale Des Enfants de l’Opera Paris

Per un momento ho perso te (Italian version)

 Fausto Leali  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Not That Bolero!

all my love4

All My Love is a 1950 popular song, written by Paul Durand, with French lyrics written by Henri Contet and English lyrics by Mitchell Parish. There is some mis-information concerning this song that I would like to correct at the outset.

In the first place, there is the erroneous  idea that the song is based on Maurice Ravel’s Bolero. Don Tyler, in his otherwise excellent book, Hit Parade 1920-1955 (An Encyclopedia of the Top Songs of the Jazz, Depression, Swing, and Sing Eras) writes: “Once again a popular song is borrowed from the classics, this time “Bolero” by impressionist composer Maurice Ravel . . . The very distinctive bolero rhythm of Ravel’s original has probably been the key to its continuing popularity. The same melodic idea is repeated over and over, beginning very softly. With each repetition instruments are added, until the sound is almost deafening.” While these words may be a fine description of Ravel’s Bolero, they are not in any way a description of the song All My Love. My only conclusion after reading Tyler’s words is that he never listened to this piece and took for granted that it was based on Ravel’s classic. I suspect that he came to this conclusion was because of the subtitle of the piece, which is “Bolero.” The only possible similarity that this song has with Ravel’s Bolero is the contagious rhythm used in the piece.

Secondly, many of the internet sources state that Cliff Richard had a hit version of the song. While it is true that Richard made a recording of a song entitled All My Love, but it is not the same song written by Paul Durand in 1949. Again, listening to the song would have prevented this error.

Now that we have the misinformation out of the way, let me turn to the 1950 popular song entitled All My Love (Bolero).

This song was originally entitled Bolero and was written by French composer Paul Durand. It became known in United States as All My Love when lyricist Mitchell Parish wrote the English lyrics to Durand’s music. Parish is best known for his lyrics to such songs as Stardust, Sweet Lorraine, Deep Purple, Stars Fell On Alabama, Sophisticated Lady, Volare (English lyrics), and Moonlight Serenade.

Movie poster for the film, Scandal in Champs Elysèe

Movie poster for the film, Scandal in Champs Elysèe

The original version was composed for the movie Scandal in Champs Elysèe (1949) and recalls but does not imitate the rhythm of the famous one-movement orchestral piece written for a ballet entitled Bolero of Maurice Ravel, The movie, Scandal in Champs Elysèe, is a drama in which three ravishing models are murdered at a top designer’s salon. The murders are investigated and after a number of mishaps and a certain amount of flirting, the detective on the case manages to clear up the case.

All My Love was popularized by Patti Page in 1950 and first reached the Billboard chart on August 26, 1950, lasting twenty-two weeks and peaking at #1. It was Patti Page’s first #1 hit. In this song, Patti Page wanders expertly through the octaves, from sultry alto to señorita soprano and she extends the phrase “Ohhhh, ooh-ooh never let me go” into a twelve-second, one-breath plea, and inserts a hiccupping country cry in the phrase, “I can  see…” Even if listeners could not see Page, they certainly became aware of the message of this love song.

The original Billboard review said of the song and Page’s handling of the lyrics: “The adaptation of the French ballad ‘Bolero’ is sung with warmth and persuasion by the thrush. If the plug tune scores, this disking could catch a sizable share.”

Patti Page

Patti Page

Patti Page [birth name: Clara Ann Fowler] was one of the best-known female artists in traditional pop music. She was often introduced as “the Singin’ Rage, Miss Patti Page.” Page signed with Mercury Records in 1947, and became the company’s first successful female artist, starting with 1948’s Confess. Because of a strike, background singers were not available to provide harmony vocals for the song, so instead, Page and the label decided to overdub her own. Mitch Miller, who, at the time was a producer for Mercury Records, was able to overdub Page’s voice, due to his well-known use of technology. Thus, Patti Page became the first pop artist to overdub her own vocals on a song.

In addition to Patti Page’s #1 version, All My Love was also popular in 1950 in versions by Guy Lombardo, Percy Faith, Bing Crosby, and Dennis Day.

THE LYRICS

ALL MY LOVE

Music by Paul Durand; English lyrics by Mitchell Parish

All my love, I give you all my love

The skies may fall, my love

But I will still be true

All my sighs, will disappear at last

Now that you’re here at last

My heart belongs to you

Ohhhhhhhhh ooh, never let me go

You thrill me so

I can see as I recall my life

I’ve waited all my life

To give you all my love

Ay, ay, ay

Ay, ay, ay

Ay, ay, ay

Ay, ay, ay

Bow, caballero, and tip your sombrero

To your señorita, the lovely Chiquita

Waiting so long for you and your song

While you are playing her heart will be swaying

She will surrender her kisses so tender

To you she will cling the moment that you sing

All my love, I give you all my love

The skies may fall, my love

But I will still be true

All my sighs will disappear at last

Now that you’re here at last my heart belongs to you

Ohhhhhhhhh ooh, never let me go

You thrill me so

I can see as I recall my life

I’ve waited all my life

To give you all my love

Ay, ay, ay

Ay, ay, ay

Ay, ay, ay

[FADE]

Ay, ay, ay

BOLÉRO

Music by Paul Durand; French lyrics by Henri Contet

Boléro

Dans la douceur du soir

Sous le ciel rouge et noir

Où chantent les guitares

Boléro

Si tu voulais danser

Dans mes deux bras serrée

Qu’il ferait bon s’aimer

Viens, mon amour t’appelle

Viens, danser encor’

Boléro

Je garderai toujours

Le souvenir du jour

Où j’ai dansé l’amour

Aïe Aïe Aïe Aïe Aïe Aïe Aïe Aïe Aïe

 

Comme en rêve

La nuit qui se lève

Allume une flamme

Au fond de nos âmes

Soleil de tes yeux

Instant merveilleux

Pour que je prenne

Ta main dans la mienne

Dis-moi, quand tu danses

Des mots d’espérance

Dis-moi ton désir

Comme un premier soupir

THE RECORDINGS

 ALL MY LOVE

Patti Page [Harry Geller Orchestra]

Percy Faith and his Orchestra

Bing Crosby [Jeff Alexander Chorus; Victor Young Orchestra]

Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians [vocals by Bill Flanagan]

Dennis Day [Charles Dant Orchestra]

BOLÉRO

 Jacqueline François [Paul Durand Orchestra]

Georges Guétray

Roberto Inglez and His Orchestra (instrumental)

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Clang, Ding, Chug, Bump, Buzz, and Plop

Catching the Trolley by Charles Borromée Antoine Houry

Catching the Trolley
by Charles Borromée Antoine Houry

Using such words as “clang,” “ding,” “chug,” “bump,” “buzz,” and “plop,” songwriters Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane immediately captured the spirit of a turn-of-the-century Saint Louis trolley in much the same way that George Gershwin evoked the various street noises of Paris in the 1920s with his use of some Parisian taxi horns in his classic symphonic tone poem, An American in Paris. Every time I hear those taxi horns, I think of Paris and every time I hear the words “clang, clang, clang,” I think of that trolley car in the 1944 film Meet Me in St. Louis.

The film was adapted by Irving Brecher and Fred F. Finklehoffe from a series of short stories by Sally Benson, originally published in The New Yorker magazine under the title 5135 Kensington, and later in novel form as Meet Me in St. Louis. The film was directed by Vincente Minnelli, who met Judy Garland on the set, and later married her.

Sheet music for The Trolley Song

Sheet music for The Trolley Song


The Trolley Song was nominated for the Academy Award© for Best Original Song at the 1945 Academy Awards, but lost to Swinging On A Star from The Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald film, Going My Way.

Judy Garland debuted the song in the film as well as Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, both of which became hits after the film was released. The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film, Meet Me in St. Louis tells the story of an American family living in St. Louis at the time of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition World’s Fair in 1904 and stars Judy Garland, Margaret O’Brien, Mary Astor, Lucille Bremer, Tom Drake, Leon Ames, Marjorie Main, June Lockhart, and Joan Carroll.

In the final scene of what is a summer vignette in the film, Esther (Judy Garland) joins an expectant crowd of young people (the ladies are sporting colorful flowery hats and shirt-waist dresses) that have gathered for a picnic to ride a trolley bound for the under-construction fairgrounds (the fair is still six months away). Esther is wearing a black outfit trimmed with white without a hat, nervously noticing and despairing that John Truett (Tom Drake), the boy-next-door whom she loves, has not arrived yet. As they begin to ride off – to the “clang, clang, clang” of the trolley bells, they all belt out The Trolley Song. Without singing, an anxious and tense Esther moves around the train amid the swirl of pastel colors and song, continuing to look for John. He is late as usual from basketball practice and must run after the trolley to catch it. She is relieved when he runs after the trolley, catches it and boards. She happily finishes the song on a high note, leading all of her friends in her musical tale of flirtation with a handsome man. It is an extravagant five-minute production number about a young woman in love with a guy who makes her heartstrings go zing, zing, zing and thump, thump, thump.

Judy Garland and Tom Drake in the Trolley Song scene from Meet Me in St. Louis

Judy Garland and Tom Drake in The Trolley Song scene from Meet Me in St. Louis


Here is how the song is developed in the film:
ALL
Clang ,clang, clang went the trolley
Ding, ding, ding went the bell
Zing, zing, zing went my heartstrings as we started for Huntington Dell.

Chug, chug, chug went the motor
Bump, bump, bump went the brake
Thump, thump, thump went my heartstrings as we glided for Huntington Lake.

The day was bright, the air was sweet
The smell of honeysuckle charmed me off my feet
I tried to sing, but couldn’t squeak
In fact I felt so good I couldn’t even speak

Buzz, buzz, buzz went the buzzer
Time to all disembark,
Time to fall went my heartstrings as we got off at Huntington Park
As we got off at Huntington Park.

ESTHER
With my high-starched collar, and my high-topped shoes
And my hair piled high upon my head
I went to lose a jolly hour on the Trolley
And lost my heart instead.

With his light brown derby and his bright green tie
He was quite the handsomest of men
I started to yen,
so I counted to ten, then I counted to ten again

Clang, clang, clang went the trolley
Ding, ding, ding went the bell
Zing, zing, zing went my heartstrings
From the moment I saw him I fell

Chug, chug, chug went the motor
Bump, bump, bump went the brake
Thump, thump, thump went my heartstrings
When he smiled I could feel the car shake

He tipped his hat, and took a seat
He said he hoped he hadn’t stepped upon my feet
He asked my name, I held my breath
I couldn’t speak because he scared me half to death

Chug, chug, chug went the motor
Plop, plop, plop went the wheels
Stop, stop, stop went my heartstrings
As he started to go then I started to know how it feels
When the universe reels

ALL
The day was bright, the air was sweet
The smell of honeysuckle charmed you off your feet
You tried to sing, but couldn’t squeaks
In fact, you loved him so you couldn’t even speak

ESTHER
Buzz, buzz, buzz went the buzzer
Plop, plop, plop went the wheels
Stop, stop, stop went my heartstrings

As he started to leave
I took hold of his sleeve with my hand
And as if it were planned he stay on with me
And it was grand just to stand with his hand holding mine
To the end of the line

Five versions of the song charted in 1944-45. Garland’s single and a version by Vaughn Monroe both peaked at number four, but the biggest hit version was by The Pied Pipers, which hit number two on Billboard magazine’s “Best Sellers in Stores” chart the week of December 16, 1944. Additionally, the Four King Sisters and Guy Lombardo recorded the song, each peaking on the Billboard charts at #13 and #19 respectively. Later non-charting versions of the song included Frank Sinatra, Dave Brubeck (1953), Herb Alpert (1967), and a Portuguese version of the song by João Gilberto (1970).

The Charted Versions
Pied Pipers, Paul Weston and his Orchestra The Trolley Song
Judy Garland, Georgie Stoll and his Chorus and Orchestra The Trolley Song
Four King Sisters, with Male Chorus The Trolley Song
Vaughn Monroe and his Orchestra, vocals by Vaughn Monroe and Marilyn Duke The Trolley Song
Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians, vocals by Stuart Foster and the Lombardo Trio The Trolley Song

Non-charting Versions
Frank Sinatra The Trolley Song
Sarah Vaughan The Trolley Song
Dave Brubeck The Trolley Song
Herb Alpert The Trolley Song
João Gilberto The Trolley Song

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Alone or Lonely?

lonely

I want to be alone…I just want to be alone.” Greta Garbo uttered those now-famous words in the 1932 Oscar© winning film Grand Hotel. The line would be a part of Garbo’s persona, both on and off the silver screen, for the rest of her life. Later in her life, Garbo tried to correct the impression that she was a recluse, saying: “I never said, ‘I want to be alone.’ I only said, ‘I want to be left alone.’ There is all the difference.”

Garbo was right, of course. Whether or not she was reclusive, may be a matter of debate; there is no debate as to the profound difference between being alone and being lonely.

While I do not pretend to be a psychiatrist, there are a few things that seem obvious to me.

From a mental health perspective, there is a basic assumption that social interaction is very important. Most theories of psychological development assert this. I, for one, believe that the ability to connect with others is vital for healthy and successful human development.

Of course, some people prefer to be alone at certain times. I know that I do. The question then becomes why? Being alone can have its advantages. The creative person craves time alone. Any professional who takes a sabbatical and spends some time alone and uses that time creatively and productively returns refreshed, mentally, spiritually, and perhaps even physically. If individuals want to be alone because they are immersed in writing a novel or engaged in a major research project and solitude makes it easier to concentrate, then they would have an understandable reason to want to be alone. The reason why people prefer to be alone is the key to understanding whether their desire for solitude is healthy or related to social anxiety.

On the other hand, there is a great difference between being lonely and being alone. Many people are alone and lead happy lives. Since many elderly people live alone for a multitude of reasons, there is an assumption that, as a group, the elderly are probably more lonely than most among us. But that assumption is not necessarily correct. Many elderly people have developed traits or habits that help them to be comfortable with themselves alone. They have found ways to keep busy mentally. Many rely on good memories of a deceased spouse for comfort, while relishing the peace and quiet of a household void of too much activity. They have reached the point where their status quo is one of calmness. The old propaganda poster produced by the British government in 1939 during the beginning of the Second World War, intended to raise the morale of the British public in the event of invasion speaks to this point: “Keep Calm and Carry On”

keep calm
While common definitions of loneliness describe it as a state of solitude or being alone, loneliness is actually a state of mind. Loneliness causes people to feel empty, isolated and unwanted. People who are lonely often crave human contact, but their state of mind makes it more difficult to form connections with other people. Loneliness, according to many experts, is not necessarily about being alone. Instead, it is the perception of being alone and isolated that matters most.

The whole issue of loneliness was addressed in a generally overlooked song of the 1940s written by Dick Robertson, James Cavanaugh, and Frank Weldon in 1944 entitled A Little On The Lonely Side. The loneliness of which this song speaks is the loneliness caused by the separation of two lovers. We are not told the reason for their separation, only that this state of affairs brings loneliness to the subject of the song. But one can imagine the cause. Certainly, placing the song in the context of all the kinds of separations caused by World War Two, loneliness was a daily reality, both in the theaters of the war and on the home-front. While the versions heard here are all sung by male vocalists, the singers could just as easily have been female singers and the message of the song would have been the same. Despite the theme of the song, Billboard magazine described the song as “lilty” and that the words were performed in “bouncy fashion.” The song, therefore, is not a dirge as might be suspected, given the subject matter. The lyrics describe the situation thusly:
I’m a little on the lonely
A little on the lonely side
I keep thinking of you only
And wishing you were by my side.
You know my dear, when you’re not here
There’s no one to romance with
So if I’m seen with someone else
It’s just someone to dance with.
Every letter that you send me
I read a dozen times or more
Any wonder that I love you
More and more.
Oh, how I miss your tender kiss
And long to hold you tight
I’m a little on the lonely side tonight.

The song was recorded by several artists, but these three versions charted on the Billboard charts in 1945. To listen to a version of the song, click on the song title. To download a song, right click on the song title, then right click on Save target as

Frankie Carle and his Orchestra, vocals by Paul Allen A Little On The Lonely Side
Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians, vocals by Jimmy Brown A Little On The Lonely Side
Phil Moore Four, vocals by Phil Moore and the Phil Moore Four A Little on The Lonely Side

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From Naughty to Nice

"A Welcome Distraction From Chores" by Joseph Caraud

“A Welcome Distraction From Chores” by Joseph Caraud

Bell Bottom Trousers is a bawdy and lusty sea chantey, dating from about 1809 to 1815, and is based on an old folksong entitled Rosemary Lane. It was particularly popular in male-centered venues such as rugby clubs, army barracks and especially in the navy, where it can still be heard. The textual history of the song is complex, and verses have been added freely to versions of this song or borrowed from songs circulated under other titles. For two hundred years or more, sailors have sung a much bawdier, a much “bluer” version of the song.

Well, that certainly does not sound like the Bell Bottom Trousers that was heard in the 1940s or is remembered as one of the hit songs of 1944-1945, does it? The reason for this apparent discrepancy is because the song that we know as Bell Bottom Trousers is a sanitized version of the original. More about that later. Let me give you the background for this song first.

Rosemary Lane, also known as Bell Bottom Trousers, tells the story of a domestic servant-girl who was in service in Rosemary Lane. A sailor stops by, seduces the servant girl and makes grand promises of money as he departs, but in fact leaves her pregnant and alone to ponder her child’s future. The song refers to a time when a young single woman who became pregnant essentially saw her life ruined. In the third verse, the narrator switches to the third person at the pivotal moment of her momentous decision, which leads to disaster for her. With folk songs and sea chanteys, the songs go through a long period of an oral tradition before the words are committed to paper. Having said that, the following words are as close as I can find to being authentic.
I lived in service in Rosemary Lane,
I kept the good will of my master and dame.
Till a sailor came there one night for to lay,
And that was the beginning of my misery.

He called for a candle to light him to bed,
And likewise a silk handkerchief for to tie up his head.
To tie up his head as he used for to do,
Says he, “Pretty Polly, Won’t you come to bed too?”

This girl, feeling young and foolish, she thought it no harm
To jump into bed for to keep herself warm.
But what done next I’ll never declare,
But I wish that short night had been seven long year.

It was early next morning the sailor arose
And into her lap he threw handfuls of gold,
Saying, “This I will give, and more I will do
If you’ll be my Polly wherever I go.”

“And when your baby is born, you put it to nurse,
And sit like a lady with gold in your purse.
With gold in your purse and milk in your breast,
Saying, that’s what you’ve got by your sailor in the west.”

“And if it’s a boy, he shall fight for the king,
And if it’s a girl, she shall wear the gold ring.
She shall wear the gold ring and her top knot shall blow,
Saying, that’s what you’ve got by your sailor true blue.”

A version of Rosemary Lane was recorded by Anne Briggs. Listen to it here.
Rosemary Lane (click here)

Variants of the song exist under titles including Once When I Was a Servant, Ambletown, The Oak and the Ash, Home, Dearie, Home, The Lass that Loved a Sailor, and When I was Young.
Some variants make the sailor a “bold sea captain.”
The variants Home, Dear Home (or Home, Dearie, Home) and The Oak and the Ash include an additional refrain, from which these versions take their name:
Home, dear home, and it’s home we must be,
Home, dear home, to my dear country,
Where the oak and the ash, and the bonny birken tree
They are all growing green in my own country.

Although the variant Ambletown changes the song’s perspective to a narration of a letter informing a sailor that he has fathered a child, many lyrics, including the verse “If he’s a boy, he’ll fight for the king. . .” remain constant.

Here is the King’s Singers version of The Oak And The Ash.
The Oak And The Ash (click here)

William E. Henley used portions of the text of this cluster of folksongs for his poem “O Falmouth Is a Fine Town”
For it’s home, dearie, home — it’s home I want to be.
Our topsails are hoisted, and we’ll away to sea.
O, the oak and the ash and the bonnie birken tree
They’re all growing green in the old countrie.

O, if it be a lass, she shall wear a golden ring;
And if it be a lad, he shall fight for his king:
With his dirk and his hat and his little jacket blue
He shall walk the quarter-deck as his daddie used to do.

A sea-shanty adaptation of the song entitled Bell Bottom Trousers shares the basic plot, though the variant in question turns the tone from wistful regret to bawdiness:
I was a serving maid down in Drury Lane,
My master he was good to me, my mistress was the same.
When along come a sailor on shorted liberty,
And all to my wow he took liberty with me.

Singin’ bell bottom trousers, coats of navy blue,
Let him climb the riggin’ like his daddy used to do.

It was at a ball I met him, he asked me for a dance,
I knew he was a sailor by the way he wore his pants.
His shoes was neatly polished and his hair was neatly combed,
After the ball was over, he asked to see me home.

Singin’ a-bell bottom trousers, coats of navy blue,
Let him climb the riggin’ like his daddy used to do.

He asked me for an ‘ankerchief to tie around his ‘ead,
He asked me for a candle to light his way to bed.
I a foolish maiden not thinkin’ it no harm,
I jumped into the sailor’s bed to keep the sailor warm.

Singin’ a-bell bottom trousers, coats of navy blue,
Let him climb the riggin’ like his daddy used to do.

I knowed he was no Sampson but that night he went to town,
He laid me on the bed there ’til my blue eyes turned to brown.
And early in the mornin’ before the break of day,
A twelve pound note he gave me and some warnin’ words to say.

Singin’ a-bell bottom trousers, coats of navy blue,
Let him climb the riggin’ like his daddy used to do.

He said “Take this my darlin’ for the damage I have done,
You may have a daughter, you may have a son.
If you have a daughter, jounce her on your knee,
And if you have a son, send the bastard out to sea.”

Singin’ a-bell bottom trousers, coats of navy blue,
Let him climb the riggin’ like his daddy used to do.

Now listen all you maidens to my girlish plea,
Don’t never let a sailor get his hand upon your knee.
I trusted one once and he put off to sea.
And left me with a daughter to bounce upon my knee.

Singin’ a-bell bottom trousers, coats of navy blue,
Let him climb the riggin’ like his daddy used to do.

Oscar Brand recorded this version of the song in 1958. You can hear it here.
Bell Bottom Trousers (click here)

An even bawdier version exists. Here are those words:
There once was a waitress
In the Prince George Hotel
Her mistress was a lady
And her master was a swell
They knew she was a simple girl
And lately from the far
And so they watched her carefully
To keep her from all harm

Singing bell bottom trousers
Coats of navy blue
Let him climb the rigging
Like his daddy used to do

First come the company
Of the Prince of Wales Huzzahs
They piled into the whorehouse
And they packed along the bars
Many a maid and mistress and a wife
Before them fell but they never made
The waitress from the Prince George Hotel

Singing of bell bottom trousers
Coats of navy blue
Let him climb the rigging
Like his daddy used to do

The Forty Second come marching into town
And with them come the compliment of
Rapists of renown
They busted every maidenhead that came
Within their spell but they never made
The waitress from the Prince George Hotel

Singing of bell bottom trousers
Coats of navy blue
Let him Climb the rigging
Like his daddy used to do

One day there came a sailor an ordinary bloke
A bulgin’ at the trousers with a heart of solid oak
At sea without women for seven years or more
There wasn’t any need to ask what he was looking for

Singing bell bottom trousers
Coats of navy blue
Let him climb the rigging
Like his daddy used to do

He asked her for a candlestick to light his way to bed
He asked her for a pillow to rest his weary head
And speaking very gently just as if he meant no harm
He asked her if she’d come to bed just so keep him warm

Singing of bell bottom trousers
Coats of navy blue
Let him climb the rigging
Like his daddy used to do

She lifted up the blanket and a moment there did lie
He was on her, he was in her in the twinkling of an eye
He was out again and in again and plowing up a storm
And the only word she said to him “I hope you’re keeping warm”

Singing of bell bottom trousers
Coats of navy blue
Let him climb the rigging
Like his daddy used to do

Then early in the morning the sailor he arose
Saying here’s a two pound my dear for the damage I have caused
If you have a daughter, bounce her on your knee
If you have a son, send the bastard out to sea

Singing of bell bottom trousers
Coats of navy blue
Let him climb the rigging
Like his daddy used to do

Now she sits aside the dock a baby on her knee
Awaiting for the sailing ships a-comin’ home from sea
Awaiting for the jolly tars and navy uniform
And all she wants to do my boys is keep the navy warm

Singing of bell bottom trousers
Coats of navy blue
Let him climb the rigging
Like his daddy used to do

bell

Now that you know the background to the story, let me turn to the version that we all know from 1944.

In 1944, bandleader Moe Jaffe took credit for words and music, without collaboration, on Bell Bottom Trousers – although he would freely admit that it was not an entirely original concept, and that he had based his song on an English nineteenth century bawdy folksong. Fortunately, Jaffe’s antiseptic version was tame enough to have it played on the radio. This version enjoyed great popularity during World War Two, and at the time was recorded by at least nine different performers, among them, Tony Pastor, Guy Lombardo, Louis Prima, Jerry Colonna. These recordings made Bell Bottom Trousers the number two selling song for 1944-45 and second only to the Cole Porter/Robert Fletcher hit, Don’t Fence Me In.

Tony Pastor and his Orchestra recorded the song on 4 April 1945. It first reached the Billboard Best Seller chart on 19 May 1945 and lasted fifteen weeks on the charts, peaking at #2.
The recording by Guy Lombardo’s orchestra was recorded on April 20, 1945. It first reached the Billboard magazine Best Seller chart on 23 June 1945 and lasted thirteen weeks on the charts, peaking at #2.

Kay Kyser recorded the piece on April 2, 1945. It first reached the Billboard Best Seller chart on 9 June 1945 and lasted ten weeks on the charts, peaking at #3.

The recording by the Louis Prima orchestra was recorded in February, 1945. It reached the Billboard Best Seller chart on 26 May 1945 at #6, and stayed on the charts for six weeks.

The recording by Jerry Colonna was released by Capitol Records and first reached the Billboard Best Seller chart on 21 July 1945 and lasted four weeks on the charts, peaking at #7.

The Jesters, a white vocal trio, not to be confused with the 1950s R&B group, recorded the song and it peaked on the Billboard charts at #11, staying on the charts for three weeks.

To listen to a song, click on the song title. To download a song, click on the song title, then right click on Save target as

Guy Lombardo and his Orchestra, vocals by Jimmy Brown Bell Bottom Trousers
Tony Pastor and his Orchestra, vocals by Ruth McCullough Bell Bottom Trousers
Kay Kyser and his Orchestra, vocals by Slim Ferdy and Quartet Bell Bottom Trousers
Louis Prima and his Orchestra, vocals by Lily Ann Carol, Louis Prima and Chorus Bell Bottom Trousers
Jerry Colonna Bell Bottom Trousers
The Jesters Bell Bottom Trousers

Non-Charting versions
The Four Blues Bell Bottom Trousers
Connee Boswell and her V Disc Men Bell Bottom Trousers
Ginny Simms, Edgar Fairchild and his Orchestra Bell Bottom Trousers

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