Thursday, April 06, 2006


Ever since I wrote about The Hokey Pokey, I have had my head swimming in songs. Do you realize that the only way to get one song out of your head is to think of a different song? And I certainly have a wide collection of tunes to choose from. I've been involved in music my whole life, from singing to piano to organ to harp.

One of the magazines I read has a column titled "My Life in..." and in each issue, a new celebrity finishes that phrase with her own list. "My Life in Shoes," for instance. The featured celebrity makes a chronological list of her life in shoes and the importance thereof. The magazine then provides pictures of the shoe styles she writes about. She not only lists her shoe styles; she also reminisces about the time in her life when she was wearing each pair, and how and why her shoes reflected these important stages in her development as a woman. I remember one month it was "My Life in Lipsticks." It's hard to imagine how that can be at all interesting, but they managed to turn that particular story into an amazingly engrossing read.

So after The Hokey Pokey finally exited my brain, I did some reminiscing myself. I wonder how I would write a column called "My Life in Songs."

Every once in awhile I'll catch an infomercial on TV with another new release of a song collection. Sometimes they will even say, "These are the songs of your life!" They never are the songs of my life. The songs of my life are not usually popular - they are sometimes not even well known at all - but I can easily trace their importance for me.

Some of the first songs I was introduced to were my parents' favorites, of course.
"Pony Boy." Ever heard of it?
Pony Boy, Pony Boy, won't you be my Tony Boy?
Don't say no. Here we go off across the plains.
Marry me, carry me right away with you.
Giddy up, giddy up, giddy up, whoa! My Pony Boy.

We only knew the chorus, but I found the whole song on the Internet with all the lyrics and music here. It's a great song if you want to be cheered up! "Pony Boy" was usually paired with this ditty:
Cheyenne, Cheyenne
Hop on my pony
There's room here
For two dear
And after the ceremony
We'll both ride home as one, as one
On my pony from old Cheyenne.
Of course, my parents were fans of Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald. (I only found out a few years ago that I was named after Jeanette MacDonald.) So the song "Totem Tom Tom" was in our childhood repertoire, as well as "Italian Street Song." Here's the chorus to the latter:

Zing, zing, zizzy, zizzy, zing, zing,

boom, boom, aye.

Zing, zing, zizzy, zizzy, zing, zing

Mandolinas gay.

Zing, zing, zizzy, zizzy, zing, zing

boom, boom, aye. La, la, la, ha, ha, ha, Zing, boom, ay.

La, la, la, la, ha, ha, ha zing, zing, aye.

Now those aren't your average lyrics - but oh what fun to sing!

I can't forget "Let Me Call You Sweetheart." We only knew the choruses of so many of these songs, and it is a delight to do a little research and see the rest of the lyrics. You can hear this song at this site.

Then there's the ever popular song guaranteed to get sleepy kids to wake up in the morning (along with a cold damp washrag on the eyes):

When the red, red robin comes bob bob bobbin along, along,
There'll be no more sobbin' when he starts throbbin' his own sweet song:
Wake up, wake up! you sleepy head,
Get up, get up, get out of bed,
Cheer up, cheer up, the sun is red,
Live, love, laugh and be happy...

Those are just from my childhood. Later in life, I sang, "His Eye is on the Sparrow" at my grandmother's funeral. I sang "Be Thou My Vision" at my dad's funeral. Around the time we got married, Ed and I saw the original Poseidon Adventure - and first heard the song "There's Got To Be a Morning After" - which I immediately adopted as "our song." Unfortunately that designation has never been accepted by Ed, who personally dislikes the song, and every time we hear it, I swoon and he just rolls his eyes. One of these days, it will grow on him.

There are many other songs of my life, too many for a column in a magazine, too many for a blog, too many for me even to remember. But my soul is infused with them all. And that is indeed what it is all about!


Tif said...

Just one correction to the Cheyenne lyrics--the line is "We'll both ride BACK home DEAR as one . . ."

I finally learned all the lyrics to "Red Robin" a few years ago when Amelia wanted to know more of the song. We sang it for a long time thereafter.

I'm hurt, though, that "Mine" is not on your list :-)

And what about, "I've got a girl, just like the girl that Daddy voted for!"

Carol Tiffin James said...

Mine slipped my mind. And would you believe it, "I've got a girl" came into my mind in the middle of the night last night? I almost got up to add it, but decided to stay in bed and not repeat the Hokey Pokey fiasco! Love you, sister!