Charmaine (song)

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"Charmaine"
Single by The Bachelors
Released 26 January 1963
Format 7" single
Recorded October 10, 1962
Label Decca F11559
Songwriter(s) Ernö Rapée, Lew Pollack
Producer(s) Shel Talmy
The Bachelors singles chronology
"Charmaine"
(1963)
"Far Away Places"
(1963)

"Charmaine"
(1963)
"Far Away Places"
(1963)

"Charmaine" is a popular song written by Ernö Rapée and Lew Pollack. The song was written in 1926 and published in 1927. However, Desmond Carrington on his BBC Radio 2 programme marked the song's writing as being in 1913.

The song was originally in waltz time, but later versions were in common time.

The song was originally composed for the 1926 silent movie What Price Glory?, and most notably, the best-selling version, recorded by Guy Lombardo & his Orchestra, spent seven weeks at the #1 position in 1927.[1] It was also featured in the movie Two Girls and a Sailor. It was recorded by the Harry James orchestra in 1944.

An instrumental version arranged by Ronald Binge and performed by the Mantovani orchestra was his first hit on the United States charts in 1951. This recording was released by London Records as catalog number 1020. It first reached the Billboard charts on November 9, 1951 and lasted 19 weeks on the chart, peaking at #10.[2]

Another recording, by Gordon Jenkins' orchestra, with a vocal by Bob Carroll, also charted in 1951. This recording was released by Decca Records as catalog number 27859.[3] It first reached the Billboard magazine charts on December 7, 1951 and lasted 1 week on the chart, at #26.[2]

The Bachelors' version reached #6 in the British charts in 1963.[4]

A 1952 arrangement of "Charmaine" by Billy May and His Orchestra reached # 17 on the Billboard charts. The single was May's biggest hit under his own name.[5]

"Charmaine" is one of many popular songs whose lyrics use a "Bluebird of happiness" as a symbol of cheer: "I wonder, when bluebirds are mating, will you come back again?"

Use in popular culture

The song appears in the background in the 1950 film Sunset Boulevard during Norma Desmond's house party.

The version of "Charmaine" by the Mantovani Orchestra (the 1958 stereo recording) is used quite often in comedy to provide comedic effect whenever a romantic situation is created. In Monty Python's Flying Circus, as example, the tune has been used at least twice:

  • in the Seduced Milkmen sketch from the first season; and
  • in the second season, scored to scenes where soccer players who celebrate a goal start to kiss and embrace each other in a homosexual way.

The same version is played during the opening titles of the 1963 NDR production of the sketch Der 90. Geburtstag (Dinner For One) with Freddy Frinton and May Warden, which has long since become a staple of German popular culture, being rerun there on TV every New Years Eve since the 1970s.

The song is also used in the 1967 film "Thoroughly Modern Millie" at the Long Island fancy dress party when the eccentric widow Muzzy Van Hossmere Carol Channing is introducing all of her 'instructors' who also happen to be former lovers. The song is a recurring theme in the movie when referring to Millie Dillmount's Julie Andrews love life or lack thereof.

The song is featured in the giallo film The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971), during a murder scene.

In the film One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) the tune is constantly played as background music in the mental institution. The same 1951/1958 arrangement by Mantovani is used for "institutional" effect in Frank Darabont's 1999 film The Green Mile, in which it is heard as background music in the retirement home.

It can be heard during an early scene of 2011 film This Must Be The Place as the character played by Sean Penn is seen strolling through a supermarket.

It was also used as background music in the "waiting room" of the Alton Towers scare maze The Sanctuary.

It was referenced in the film Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown (1977) when Peppermint Patty plays a record, remarking to Charlie Brown, "I don't suppose you even know what a waltz is, do you?"

It was used in Part 10 of Twin Peaks: The Return (2017).

It appears on the sound track of the movie The Rum Diary (2011)

Recorded versions

References

  1. ^ CD liner notes: Chart-Toppers of the Twenties, 1998 ASV Ltd.
  2. ^ a b Whitburn, Joel (1973). Top Pop Records 1940-1955. Record Research. 
  3. ^ Decca Records in the 27500 to 27999 series
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-08-05. Retrieved 2010-09-27.  The Bachelors: 1962
  5. ^ http://www.musicvf.com/Billy+May.art
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