Sunday, February 17, 2013

wacky tacky Tunes: Holiday for Strings

Do you have a song that is "your song?"  I don't mean a song for you and your steady; I mean an anthem just for you, a personal alma mater, the lead song on the soundtrack to your life.  Call me strange, but I feel like my life has been scored by a great composer.  Even when times are tough, when every song is written in a minor key, and when Chopin's "Funeral March" seems the most thematically-appropriate, music is ever present.  

Chopin's "Funeral March"

It is during those difficult phases when it is absolutely imperative to remind myself that a single-note soundtrack would never work and I look to the overriding tone of my soundtrack - joy, excitement, and an irrepressible weirdness.  I've always known that wacky tacky had a theme song because it is the very theme song for Mr. Tiny's life.


"Holiday for Strings" - David Rose & His Orchestra (1944)

"Holiday for Strings," one of the most famous works by legendary Hollywood composer, David Rose, has always made me happy.  To some it is understandably frantic, odd, and maybe even annoying.  To me, it is euphonious ecstasy.  I am encouraged and inspired by the song's obvious optimism and bolstered by the brightness of its carefree motif.  It is a fact that I have never met a version of "Holiday for Strings" that I did not like.

"Holiday for Strings" - Spike Jones & His City Slickers

"Holiday for Strings" - Living Strings

"Holiday for Strings" - The Lawrence Welk Show (1978)

Perhaps my very favorite arrangement of "Holiday for Strings" is one in which strings ironically play a very incidental role.  

"Holiday for Strings" - The Voices of Walter Schumann

It is no small wonder that my theme song was penned by the same genius who wrote one of my other favorite songs (tracks 3, 5, and 9 on "wacky tacky: The Life & Times of Mr. Tiny" the original cast album) - "The Stripper."

"The Stripper" - David Rose & His Orchestra (1957)

So the questions bears repeating.  Do you have a song that is "your song?"  If you were forced to create a soundtrack for your story, what would the lead song be?  As you ponder these questions, just hit repeat one more time, and imagine your own string-filled holiday.  If you're anything like me, you'll need/enjoy the pick-me-up!


Mr. Tiny

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  1. I love your taste in music Wacky!
    I had no idea Holiday For Strings was that old! For some reason I thought it late 50's. I have Funeral March and The Stripper as ringtones on my phone!
    If I had to pick just a few songs - my lead song would definitely be The Ballroom Music from the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland. #2 would be Highland Laddie on bagpipes and #3 would be Three Little Maids from the Mikado.

    1. Thanks!!! I guess we're two peas in a pod - musically speaking! I am far from a Gilbert & Sullivan scholar but I don't think I've ever heard a more clever use of the English language - BRILLIANT!!! When we were in Australia, we were able to see a production of HMS Pinafore at The Sydney Opera House; I'll never forget it!

  2. I LOVE "Holiday For Strings" -- second only to Les Baxter's version of "Roller Coaster" (George Wright rocks this on the Wurlitzer too), which is an AWFUL lot like "Holiday For Strings" when you think about it....

    You must watch little Margaret O'Brien DANCE to it (with Cyd Charisse) however -- this is a piece of music that does not really lend itself to ballet, though the results are hilarious.

    1. I have never seen "The Unfinished Dance." That sequence leaves me with so many questions! Is the blonde lady a baddy? She looks positively sinister. And what in the heck is Danny Thomas doing there? The colors are spectacular, so why is Cyd in black? I understand that it sets her off from the colorful chorus, but it was proven five years later by "Singin' in the Rain" that she should be clad in solid green from stem to stern. Hahahaha!!! Thanks for the link, I enjoyed it very much!

  3. When I was a kid, David Rose and his Orchestra were part of the Red Skelton Show on TV, and "Holiday for Strings" was the theme.
    I saw Red live "in concert" three times in the 1980s, and my only disappointment was that every single note of music in the show was BY Red... hence no "Holiday fir Strings."

    1. I wish I could program this phone to automatically change "fir" to "for"... I VERY RARELY write about trees or lumber!

    2. What a "re-leaf," the "timber" of your first comment had me thinking I was a "sap."

  4. I knew David Rose as a studio composer and as Judy Garland's first husband (this is the life I chose, one where I can't balance my checkbook but can name off Garland's past spouses at the drop of a hat), but I didn't realize he'd written BOTH "Holiday for Strings" and "The Stripper". Wow! The former is a fitting musical backdrop to the fun of reading this blog. It cracked me up when you mentioned the Mr. Tiny Original Cast Recording, I would buy one of those and one of your t-shirts in a heartbeat! I'm going to give serious thought to what my soundtrack song is. You've got me thinking!

    1. I was unaware of the Garland connection; it adds another layer to the story! I'm weird enough to wonder if Judy ever put "The Stripper" on the Hi-Fi and did a saucy striptease for David. Okay, I just looked it up, and based on the dates they were married, it was more likely that she did a ballet routine to "Holiday for Strings." Hahahahaha!!! Once you've decided on your theme song, I would love to know what it is.