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ETpro's avatar

Who made "The Happy Wanderer" polka popular in the late 1950s?

Asked by ETpro (34480points) December 30th, 2010

I was remembering a happy year of childhood spent in Harrisonberg VA while mom finished her Masters in Biology at JMU. When I wasn’t hiking or rock collecting, I would spend time in a cafe just off campus and loved a recording ot The Happy Wanderer Polka they had on their jukebox. Does anyone remember who got that song up pm the charts back in the 1950s?

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9 Answers

BarnacleBill's avatar

Are you talking about this song?

ETpro's avatar

@BarnacleBill Yes, but that is definitely not the recording or artist I recall. Not sure who did it. It was in English, but musically it sounded more like the original recording the The Obernkirchen Childrens Choir at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod. The BBC broadcast that performance, and that put it on the top of the charts in the UK in 1953 for half a year.

Maybe my memory is off, and it was in German. When I asked, I had not found the Children’s Choir recording of it. Maybe my memory just merged in the English translation over the years from all the cheesy attempts at it by US artists, like this one by Loius Prima, and this slightly better on by Fred Warring & the Pennsylvanians

jazmina88's avatar

napsack on my back????

marinelife's avatar

“Here’s“ another that dates from that era.

BarnacleBill's avatar

I think the name of the original German composer is on the shot of the record at the beginning of the video – it was written by Antonia Ridge and Friedrich Moller.

Your Hit Parade 1950 – 1959 shows the recording by Frank Weir which has a really great clarinet in it.

marinelife's avatar

@BarnacleBill Thanks for correctly linking to the Frank Weir recording that I botched!

ETpro's avatar

@jazmina88 Yeah, I know. Expecially on the bad arrangements, it’s as corny as Kansas in August.

@marinelife & @jazmina88 Thanks for digging out the Frank Weir recording. I am pretty sure now that the juke box had the original one by the The Obernkirchen Children’s Choir in German, and hearing Frank Weir and others do it over time, I mixed the two mentally and came to think I had been hearing it in English. I far prefer the Children’s Choir arrangement to any others I have found.

@BarnacleBill Thanks for tracking down the original author. Much appereciated.

BarnacleBill's avatar

I’m probably a decade behind you, but in my head I’m associating this song with Burl Ives. My dad loved this song.

ETpro's avatar

@BarnacleBill Thanks. Searching Burl Ives Happy Wanderer on GOogle led me to a Facebook Page for the song. Very informative. It appears Burl Ives never recorded it. Pitty that, as he could certainly have sung it with gusto. The Frank Weir Orchestra recording of it makes some think they are hearing Ives singing in there.

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