Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dwarfs, POWs, Gunslinger, Teacher And Panther? Songs That We Don't Sing In The 60s

Whistle While You Work:
I remember watching Disney cartoons when I was very young and loved Snow White (1937) with her seven dwarfs. One particular song, Whistle While You Work, enchanted me so much that I easily learnt the skill because I wanted to whistle the tune so badly. Music from the past has many of these whistling tunes. This posting is about some of them.
Coloney Bogey March:
Another one that became a whistling hit was the Colonel Bogey March written in 1914. Although not many people remember the title, they knew how to whistle, "that River Kwai song." The song was a powerful one because of its repetitive, simple melody and because it was from the soundtrack of the blockbuster, The Bridge On The River Kwai.
Prisoners of War:
The tune was played when the POWs marched towards the prison camp and is not to be mistaken with the orchestral counter-march composed in 1957 by Malcolm Arnold. Both marches had been recorded together by Mitch Miller and his Orchestra as March from the River Kwai - Colonel Bogey.
The Good, The Bad And The Ugly:
In 1966, Singapore film goers went wild with a spaghetti western called, The Good, The Bad And The Ugly and the main theme, composed by Ennio Morricoe, echoed for months everywhere.
Clint Eastwood:
Hugo Motenegro had a version using the Moog synthesizer that went up to number two on the Billboard Pop Single Chart in 1968. And gunslinger Clint Eastwood (image) clinched it again. It was so popular that it had been covered by our local group, The Stylers.
I Whistle A Happy Tune:
The very pretty Julie Andrews (in later years to become *Blake Edwards' wife) appeared in a movie that fascinated both young and old. The King And I (1956) showed for weeks at the Cathay Cinema in the 50s and a song that kept everyone bright and cheerful was, I Whistle A Happy Tune.
The King And I:
In the movie, it was performed on board a ship when teacher Andrews was on her way to meet Yul Brynner the King. To ease her son's fear and tension, she sang and whistled the song. It became a hit with other songs in the show.
The Pink Panther Theme:
The Henry Mancini Pink Panther Theme (1963) is an instrumental composition that whistled its way to a nomination at the Academy Award for Original Music Score in 1964. It won three awards.
Inspector Clouseau:
The movie about the pink cartoon character was animated in time to the tune. It became successful commercially and made bungling Inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers), a character in the Pink Panther series. It was directed by special Oscar winner *Blake Edwards. *(A few days after this posting Blake Edwards passed away, with wife Julie Andrews by his side.)
Roger Whittaker:
There are many whistling tunes? Do you know one that you like? Have you heard of Roger Whittaker? He whistles most of his songs like Mexican Whistler, Pretty Bird, River Lady and classics like The Elizabethan Serenade. But that's another story...
Original article: Andy Lim.


unk Dicko said...

Hi Andy,
Thanks for reviving all these sweet memories. Everyone of the tunes is special to many of us in different ways.
On hikes, where the load on our back is heavy and the road is so, so long...what really helped was not a can of coke but everyone whistling " Colonel Bogey's March aka "River Kwai", all happily again and again.
No singing ( no lyrics right? ) so we were all v good at whistling!
No wonder some girls fell for it!

Andy Young* said...

You must have attracted a lot of young ladies unk Dicko in your youth.

I asked a young man recently what a wolf-whistle is. He didn't know!

Thanks for visiting.

Lam Chun See said...

Do you remember that RTS used to broadcast the Roger Whittaker Show. I really amazed by his whistling skill. So beautiful. My favourite RW songs are What Love Is and The Last Farewell.

The other 2 musics shows I liked was Des O'Connor and Val Doonican shows. Not big fan of Andy Williams.

Andy Young* said...

Yes, I remember these shows and most of them sang the 'standards', so when Elvis came with his internal inferno, they were partially burnt.

But most of them could withstand the heat and survived till today.
Instead Elvis got burnt.

But they all kept the flames high for many years.

Thanks for visiting.

Lam Chun See said...

Here's a sample of Roger Whittaker;'s magical whistling.


Andy Young* said...

Thank you Chun See. I had wanted to do a posting of Whittaker at another time and connect the blog to his You Tube videos.

Anonymous said...

i love pink panthar song. we watch movie too.

Andy Young* said...

Really one of the cutest songs ever.

The music feels like the way sleuth Inspector Clouseau stalks his prey.

Thimbuktu said...

Thanks for the memories, Andy.

That poster of Clint Eastwood's "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" movie reminds me that I watched it when screened at the Globe Theatre in Great World Amusement Park.

I love that theme song and watched my favorite movie a few times when repeated screening in different cinemas.

Andy Young* said...

You must have also been whistling the tune for months on end. It's one of those tunes that can never be forgotten.

Thanks for visiting.

Huisi Chen said...

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