Some of the world’s best-loved songs have had remarkable origins. Had Robert Burns not heard an old man sing a quavering version of an ancient Scottish country song, we would never have had ‘Auld Lang Syne’. Miss Jane Ross wrote down the tune she heard played by a piper at an Irish village fair in 1855.
Case bound Illus 192pp
Book Review by Charlie RB3
About: Cryer digs up the origins and legends of 40 songs
Things I Thought Were Interesting:
* The lyrics to Edelweiss were the last Oscar Hammerstein wrote before he died
* Christopher Plummer (Captain Von Trapp) was overdubbed singing in The Sound of Music movie
* The lyricist of Danny Boy never set foot in Ireland
* Irving Berlin, who wrote White Christmas, had a three-week old son who died on Christmas Day
* Mozart did not compose Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
* Neither God Save the Queen nor The Star Spangled Banner mention the nations they are the anthems of
* Happy Birthday is protected by copyright in the U.S. until 2030
* Waltzing Matilda (which isn’t a waltz) had its copyright expire in Australia in 1991, but is copyright in the U.S. until 2011, therefore at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Australia had to pay to use its own song
Pros: Short chapters make for easy reading, well written.
Cons: No citations of sources, many songs I have not heard are covered.