Actually, the full name of this album is: Ray Conniff and the Singers, Music from Mary Poppins featuring the Academy Award Winner “Chim Chim Cher-ee”. The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, and other great Movie Themes. Got all that? Good. We can continue.
I have once again found an obscure LP from the distance past, in this case, 1965. This would be one year after Mary Poppins (’64), My Fair Lady (’64), Father Goose (’64), and Dear Heart (’64), and the same year as The Sound of Music (’65). The album went to number 34 on the Hot 200.
Not exactly a Soundtrack, but a compilation album featuring re-recorded songs from hit movies of the day. In a few instances, the official Theme Songs were included, such as with Dear Heart. I have so many versions of the Mary Poppins soundtrack as done by other musicians, such as this one by none other than Lawrence Welk. Check it out! But if only an original cast Soundtrack is for you, than check out my copy of one here.
For interest sake, Dear Heart was a romantic-comedy film starring Glenn Ford and Geraldine Page as lonely middle-aged people who fall in love at a hotel convention. As a song, Dear Heart was written by Henry Mancini, Ray Evans, and Jay Livingston and performed by Andy Williams. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song, but didn’t win.
Joseph Raymond Conniff (November 6, 1916 – October 12, 2002) was an American bandleader and arranger best known for his Ray Conniff Singers during the 1960s. And so we have this particular LP.
But who were ‘The Singers’? Looking at the pictures on the back of this album cover (see below), I found one woman and three men that kept popping up. So it would make sense that these people were ‘The Singers’. But with more research, it appears that they were only some of the members of the group, with the whole numbering being 12 women and 13 men in total! But even these changed out over the years with almost 60 different singers being included in the lineup.
Looking at the pictures above, we see other compilation albums put out by Conniff and his singers. Notice that the titles are ‘s Awful Nice, ‘s Marvelous, and ‘s Wonderful. Those titles are actually lyrics taken from the 1927 popular song itself entitled ‘s Wonderful composed by George Gershwin, with lyrics written by Ira Gershwin. It was introduced in the Broadway musical Funny Face, also from 1927. The song has been recorded by many famous musicians over the years and has now been plagiarized for album titles!
The songs on this album are done very well but don’t really match the original versions, especially in the case of Mary Poppins. I mean, how can anyone match Julie Andrews singing Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious? No one, says I!
But one track is particularly good and fun. It is the Theme Song for Father Goose. It was originally sung by none other than Peggy Lee who provided music for the 1955 release of Disney’s Lady and the Tramp. The female lead in this version does the song justice. Have a listen:
This song was written by Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh but made a hit by Peggy Lee, but not before Frank Sinatra recorded his version, yup, his way.
FUN FACTS: Coleman came up with the march-like rhyme of the song by watching Father Goose star Cary Grant walk across the set of the movie. He sought to mimic, in music, the natural gait of the movie star.
And that is that. I find it amazing just how many time Mary Poppins has been redone over the years. It’s a tribute to Richard and Robert Sherman that their songs have stood the test of time and been honored by so many other musicians.