A Favorite of mine – Cab Calloway

Since I’ve done the Nicholas Brothers and Busby Berkeley, it’s time for Cab Calloway, another old movie favorite of mine.

I think the first time I ever came across anything related to Calloway was in the late 1960s when I was watching That Girl on TV – Ann’s father (Lew Parker) sang Minnie the Moocher for a talent show.  The song stuck in my head.  I wish I could find a video of that performance.

“Minnie the Moocher” is a jazz song first recorded in 1931 by Cab Calloway and His Orchestra, selling over a million copies. “Minnie the Moocher” is most famous for its nonsensical ad-libbed (“scat”) lyrics (for example, “Hi De Hi De Hi De Hi”).

In performances, Calloway would have the audience participate by repeating each scat phrase in a form of call and response. Eventually, Calloway’s phrases would become so long and complex that the audience would laugh at their own failed attempts to repeat them.

“Minnie the Moocher” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.

 

Lots of others have sung this song, as well including Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie in “Jeeves and Wooster”.

 

 

and the Three Mo’ Tenors performed it in 2001

 

 

Calloway appeared in the 1980 film The Blues Brothers and sang a shortened version “Minnie The Moocher” in the film, in the original style of big band.

 

Cabell “Cab” Calloway III (December 25, 1907 – November 18, 1994) was an American jazz singer and bandleader. He was strongly associated with the Cotton Club in Harlem, New York City, where he was a regular performer.

Calloway was a master of energetic scat singing and led one of the United States’ most popular big bands from the start of the 1930s through to the late 1940s. Calloway’s band featured performers including trumpeters Dizzy Gillespie and Adolphus “Doc” Cheatham, saxophonists Ben Webster and Leon “Chu” Berry, New Orleans guitar ace Danny Barker, and bassist Milt Hinton. Calloway continued to perform until his death in 1994 at the age of 86.

An old Paramount short film of Cab Calloway singing many of his hits.

 

 

“The Old Man of The Mountain” is non-stop Cab from beginning to end. He appears first as an owl, singing the title song. The words have been changed for the cartoon, in which the Old Man is a villain. In the original song, the Old Man is a benevolent character. Next we see Cab as the Old Man himself, rotoscoped and singing, “You Gotta Hi-De-Hi,” followed by “The Scat Song.”

The cartoon begins with live footage of Cab and his Orchestra playing around with the tune of Minnie the Moocher while Cab scats mildly and grins at the camera. Whereas Cab may have been caught by surprise when they used live footage of him in the earlier cartoon, “Minnie the Moocher”, this time he is ready. He and his band are in dress white uniforms, Cab’s hair is slicked back, and he pays attention to the camera. (The drummer, Leroy Maxey, is still playing with his drumsticks, though!)

Of the three cartoons starring Cab Calloway, this one has the least interesting and least surreal plot, and the animation is the crudest. Never-the-less, the very early live footage of Cab is a treasure, and this cartoon showcases his music from beginning to end, featuring three of his songs. He does some of his most remarkable ever scat singing in this version of The Scat Song.

In all of the Fleisher cartoons, Cab’s characters are set in caves with menacing and ominous background illustrations: skeletons, skulls, ghosts, leering faces, and gambling, alcohol and drug paraphernalia. People have claimed that the Fleischers were unaware of the drug references in Cab’s songs (for example, “kicking the gong around” meaning “smoking opium”), but the imagery in the animations suggests otherwise.

 

 

Cab’s scat singing, dancing, comedic personality and flashy elegance had made him a star and a million-selling recording artist. He continued to perform right up until his death in 1994 at the age of 88.

Gunther Schuller sums up Calloway’s brilliance as an entertainer: “People still remember Cab Calloway as a dancer and vaudevillian with his wonderful white tuxedos and all of that — and, as a great, great showman.”

 

On July 3 in Music History

today

 

Be sure your student reads and listens to Today’s Daily Listening Assignment

 

• 1801 ~ Johann Nepomuk Went, Composer, died at the age of 56

• 1892 ~ Joseph Labitzky, Composer

• 1809 ~ Joseph Quesne, Composer, died at the age of 62

• 1814 ~ Janis Cimze, Composer

• 1819 ~ Louis Theodore Gouvy, Composer

• 1846 ~ Achilles Alferaki, Composer

• 1850 ~ Alfredo Kiel, Composer

• 1854 ~ Leos Janácek, Czech composer, conductor and collector of Moravian folk songs. He is best known for his operas including “Jenufa” and “The Cunning Little Vixen” as well as for his orchestral piece “Taras Bulba.”
More information about Janácek

• 1855 ~ Piotr Maszynski, Composer

• 1860 ~ William Wallace, Composer

• 1862 ~ Friedrich Ernst Koch, Composer

• 1871 ~ Vicente Arregui Garay, Composer

• 1873 ~ Josef Michal Ksawery Jan Poniatowski, Composer, died at the age of 57

• 1878 ~ George M. Cohan, American songwriter, vaudeville performer, playwright and producer
Listen to Cohan’s music
More information about Cohan

• 1879 ~ Philippe Gaubert, Composer

• 1880 ~ Carl Schuricht, Composer

• 1891 ~ Stefano Golinelli, Composer, died at the age of 72

• 1930 ~ Carlos Kleiber, German conductor

• 1930 ~ Pete Fountain, Jazz clarinetist

• 1940 ~ Fontella Bass, Singer

• 1941 ~ Cab Calloway and his orchestra recorded the standard, St. James Infirmary, for Okeh Records.

• 1945 ~ Johnny Lee, Country singer

• 1945 ~ Victor Borge was first heard on NBC radio. The network gave the comedian/pianist the summer replacement slot for Fibber McGee and Molly.
More information about Borge

• 1948 ~ Paul Barrere, Musician, guitarist with Little Feat

• 1952 ~ Daniel Zamudio, Composer, died at the age of 64

• 1952 ~ Laura Branigan, Singer

• 1953 ~ Harry Belafonte was shown with actress Janet Leigh and film star Tony Curtis on the cover of Ebony magazine. It was the first time a black person and two Caucasians were seen together on a U.S. magazine cover.

• 1954 ~ “Wonderful Town” closed at Winter Garden Theater New York City after 559 performances

• 1955 ~ Neil Clark, Musician, guitarist with Lloyd Cole & The Commotions

• 1957 ~ Richard Mohaupt, German Composer (Bucolica), died at the age of 52

• 1958 ~ “Andy Williams Show” premiered on ABC (later on CBS & NBC)

• 1960 ~ Alfred Henry Ackley, Composer, died at the age of 73

• 1961 ~ Vince Clarke, Songwriter, keyboards

• 1965 ~ Clarence Loomis, Composer, died at the age of 75

• 1966 ~ Andre Gailhard, Composer, died at the age of 81

• 1966 ~ Joseph Deems Taylor, Composer, died at the age of 80

• 1969 ~ Brian Jones, guitarist (Rolling Stones), drowns to death at 25

• 1969 ~ Hermann Grabner, Composer, died at the age of 83

• 1971 ~ Jim Morrison, rock singer (Doors), died of heart failure at 27.  He co-wrote some of the group’s biggest hits, including ‘Light My Fire’, ‘Love Me Two Times’, and ‘Love Her Madly.’ On the 25th anniversary of his death, an estimated 15,000 fans gathered at Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, France to pay their respects.

• 1971 ~ The Newport Jazz Festival’s reputation was tarnished as gate crashers stormed the stage. The unruly mob forced the show to leave Newport, Rhode Island and move to New York City. Oh, and the artist the crowd got unruly over? Not Bob Dylan, not Miles Davis, but Dionne Warwick’s! She was singing What the World Needs Now is Love at the time of the incident.

• 1972 ~ Mississippi Fred McDowell, jazz artist, died at the age of 68

• 1973 ~ Charles Ancerl, Czech conductor (Prague/Toronto), died at the age of 63

• 1973 ~ Clint Holmes received a gold record for his hit single, Playground in My Mind.

• 1976 ~ Brian Wilson rejoined The Beach Boys, who were appearing at Angels Stadium in Anaheim, CA (before 74,000 fans). Wilson had been out of the group’s road tour schedule for 12 years.

• 1977 ~ Hugh Le Caine, Composer, died at the age of 63

• 1986 ~ Rudy Vallee, singer (Vagabond Dreams), died at the age of 84

• 1986 ~ Mikhail Baryshnikov, considered by many to be the world’s greatest ballet dancer, became a U.S. citizen in ceremonies at Ellis Island, New York Harbor.

• 1991 ~ Irina Nijinska, Russian/US dancer, died at the age of 77

• 1995 ~ Brad Lee Sexton, bass guitarist, died at the age of 47

• 2000 ~ Harold Nicholas, American dancer known as one of the world’s greatest dancers (Nicholas Brothers), died of heart failure at the age of 79.  Children: don’t try this at home – never, ever dance on a piano!

• 2001 ~ Country guitar player Roy Nichols, who played in Merle Haggard’s band for 22 years and helped create the Bakersfield Sound, died after being hospitalized with kidney inflammation and a bacterial infection. He was 68. Nichols began recording with Haggard’s band The Strangers in 1963 and played with some of country music’s biggest names from the time he was 16 years old. “A lot of people may or may not know that he played for Johnny Cash on Tennessee Flat Top Box, the original version, and also on The Ballad of Ira Hayes,” Haggard told the Associated Press in a telephone interview. Haggard credits Nichols with jump-starting his own career and playing a key role in developing The Stranger’s distinctive sound.

• 2001 ~ Grand Ole Opry star Johnny Russell, whose song Act Naturally was recorded by Buck Owens and The Beatles, died of leukemia, diabetes and other ailments at the age of 61. Russell once said that it took him two years to get someone to record Act Naturally, co-written with Voni Morrison. When Owens recorded a version in 1963, it went to No. 1 on the country charts. Two years later, it was recorded by the Beatles, with Ringo Starr singing the vocal. In 1989, Starr and Owens recorded a duet of the song that was nominated for Grammy and Country Music Association awards. Russell’s own recording career took off in the 1970s. His biggest hit was the working class anthem Rednecks, White Socks and Blue Ribbon Beer, which went to No. 4 in 1973 and was nominated for a Grammy. Russell joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry in 1985, and over the years became its regular closing act. A jolly, 275-pound man, he would joke to audiences in his opening line: “Can everybody see me all right?” Russell also wrote the No. 1 hit Let’s Fall to Pieces Together, recorded in 1984 by George Strait, and Making Plans, which was recorded by Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt on their Trio album in 1987.

About Cab Calloway

Since I’ve done the Nicholas Brothers and Busby Berkeley, it’s time for Cab Calloway, another old movie favorite of mine.

I think the first time I ever came across anything related to Calloway was in the late 1960s when I was watching That Girl on TV – Ann’s father (Lew Parker) sang Minnie the Moocher for a talent show.  The song stuck in my head.  I wish I could find a video of that performance.

“Minnie the Moocher” is a jazz song first recorded in 1931 by Cab Calloway and His Orchestra, selling over a million copies. “Minnie the Moocher” is most famous for its nonsensical ad-libbed (“scat”) lyrics (for example, “Hi De Hi De Hi De Hi”).

In performances, Calloway would have the audience participate by repeating each scat phrase in a form of call and response. Eventually, Calloway’s phrases would become so long and complex that the audience would laugh at their own failed attempts to repeat them.

“Minnie the Moocher” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.

 

Lots of others have sung this song, as well including Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie in “Jeeves and Wooster”.

 

 

and the Three Mo’ Tenors performed it in 2001

 

 

Calloway appeared in the 1980 film The Blues Brothers and sang a shortened version “Minnie The Moocher” in the film, in the original style of big band.

 

Cabell “Cab” Calloway III (December 25, 1907 – November 18, 1994) was an American jazz singer and bandleader. He was strongly associated with the Cotton Club in Harlem, New York City, where he was a regular performer.

Calloway was a master of energetic scat singing and led one of the United States’ most popular big bands from the start of the 1930s through to the late 1940s. Calloway’s band featured performers including trumpeters Dizzy Gillespie and Adolphus “Doc” Cheatham, saxophonists Ben Webster and Leon “Chu” Berry, New Orleans guitar ace Danny Barker, and bassist Milt Hinton. Calloway continued to perform until his death in 1994 at the age of 86.

An old Paramount short film of Cab Calloway singing many of his hits.

 

 

“The Old Man of The Mountain” is non-stop Cab from beginning to end. He appears first as an owl, singing the title song. The words have been changed for the cartoon, in which the Old Man is a villain. In the original song, the Old Man is a benevolent character. Next we see Cab as the Old Man himself, rotoscoped and singing, “You Gotta Hi-De-Hi,” followed by “The Scat Song.”

The cartoon begins with live footage of Cab and his Orchestra playing around with the tune of Minnie the Moocher while Cab scats mildly and grins at the camera. Whereas Cab may have been caught by surprise when they used live footage of him in the earlier cartoon, “Minnie the Moocher”, this time he is ready. He and his band are in dress white uniforms, Cab’s hair is slicked back, and he pays attention to the camera. (The drummer, Leroy Maxey, is still playing with his drumsticks, though!)

Of the three cartoons starring Cab Calloway, this one has the least interesting and least surreal plot, and the animation is the crudest. Never-the-less, the very early live footage of Cab is a treasure, and this cartoon showcases his music from beginning to end, featuring three of his songs. He does some of his most remarkable ever scat singing in this version of The Scat Song.

In all of the Fleisher cartoons, Cab’s characters are set in caves with menacing and ominous background illustrations: skeletons, skulls, ghosts, leering faces, and gambling, alcohol and drug paraphernalia. People have claimed that the Fleischers were unaware of the drug references in Cab’s songs (for example, “kicking the gong around” meaning “smoking opium”), but the imagery in the animations suggests otherwise.

 

 

Cab’s scat singing, dancing, comedic personality and flashy elegance had made him a star and a million-selling recording artist. He continued to perform right up until his death in 1994 at the age of 88.

Gunther Schuller sums up Calloway’s brilliance as an entertainer: “People still remember Cab Calloway as a dancer and vaudevillian with his wonderful white tuxedos and all of that — and, as a great, great showman.”

 

July 3 in Music History

today

 

Be sure your student reads and listens to Today’s Daily Listening Assignment

 

• 1801 ~ Johann Nepomuk Went, Composer, died at the age of 56

• 1892 ~ Joseph Labitzky, Composer

• 1809 ~ Joseph Quesne, Composer, died at the age of 62

• 1814 ~ Janis Cimze, Composer

• 1819 ~ Louis Theodore Gouvy, Composer

• 1846 ~ Achilles Alferaki, Composer

• 1850 ~ Alfredo Kiel, Composer

• 1854 ~ Leos Janácek, Czech composer, conductor and collector of Moravian folk songs. He is best known for his operas including “Jenufa” and “The Cunning Little Vixen” as well as for his orchestral piece “Taras Bulba.”
More information about Janácek

• 1855 ~ Piotr Maszynski, Composer

• 1860 ~ William Wallace, Composer

• 1862 ~ Friedrich Ernst Koch, Composer

• 1871 ~ Vicente Arregui Garay, Composer

• 1873 ~ Josef Michal Ksawery Jan Poniatowski, Composer, died at the age of 57

• 1878 ~ George M. Cohan, American songwriter, vaudeville performer, playwright and producer
Listen to Cohan’s music
More information about Cohan

• 1879 ~ Philippe Gaubert, Composer

• 1880 ~ Carl Schuricht, Composer

• 1891 ~ Stefano Golinelli, Composer, died at the age of 72

• 1930 ~ Carlos Kleiber, German conductor

• 1930 ~ Pete Fountain, Jazz clarinetist

• 1940 ~ Fontella Bass, Singer

• 1941 ~ Cab Calloway and his orchestra recorded the standard, St. James Infirmary, for Okeh Records.

• 1945 ~ Johnny Lee, Country singer

• 1945 ~ Victor Borge was first heard on NBC radio. The network gave the comedian/pianist the summer replacement slot for Fibber McGee and Molly.
More information about Borge

• 1948 ~ Paul Barrere, Musician, guitarist with Little Feat

• 1952 ~ Daniel Zamudio, Composer, died at the age of 64

• 1952 ~ Laura Branigan, Singer

• 1953 ~ Harry Belafonte was shown with actress Janet Leigh and film star Tony Curtis on the cover of Ebony magazine. It was the first time a black person and two Caucasians were seen together on a U.S. magazine cover.

• 1954 ~ “Wonderful Town” closed at Winter Garden Theater New York City after 559 performances

• 1955 ~ Neil Clark, Musician, guitarist with Lloyd Cole & The Commotions

• 1957 ~ Richard Mohaupt, German Composer (Bucolica), died at the age of 52

• 1958 ~ “Andy Williams Show” premiered on ABC (later on CBS & NBC)

• 1960 ~ Alfred Henry Ackley, Composer, died at the age of 73

• 1961 ~ Vince Clarke, Songwriter, keyboards

• 1965 ~ Clarence Loomis, Composer, died at the age of 75

• 1966 ~ Andre Gailhard, Composer, died at the age of 81

• 1966 ~ Joseph Deems Taylor, Composer, died at the age of 80

• 1969 ~ Brian Jones, guitarist (Rolling Stones), drowns to death at 25

• 1969 ~ Hermann Grabner, Composer, died at the age of 83

• 1971 ~ Jim Morrison, rock singer (Doors), died of heart failure at 27.  He co-wrote some of the group’s biggest hits, including ‘Light My Fire’, ‘Love Me Two Times’, and ‘Love Her Madly.’ On the 25th anniversary of his death, an estimated 15,000 fans gathered at Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, France to pay their respects.

• 1971 ~ The Newport Jazz Festival’s reputation was tarnished as gate crashers stormed the stage. The unruly mob forced the show to leave Newport, Rhode Island and move to New York City. Oh, and the artist the crowd got unruly over? Not Bob Dylan, not Miles Davis, but Dionne Warwick’s! She was singing What the World Needs Now is Love at the time of the incident.

• 1972 ~ Mississippi Fred McDowell, jazz artist, died at the age of 68

• 1973 ~ Charles Ancerl, Czech conductor (Prague/Toronto), died at the age of 63

• 1973 ~ Clint Holmes received a gold record for his hit single, Playground in My Mind.

• 1976 ~ Brian Wilson rejoined The Beach Boys, who were appearing at Angels Stadium in Anaheim, CA (before 74,000 fans). Wilson had been out of the group’s road tour schedule for 12 years.

• 1977 ~ Hugh Le Caine, Composer, died at the age of 63

• 1986 ~ Rudy Vallee, singer (Vagabond Dreams), died at the age of 84

• 1986 ~ Mikhail Baryshnikov, considered by many to be the world’s greatest ballet dancer, became a U.S. citizen in ceremonies at Ellis Island, New York Harbor.

• 1991 ~ Irina Nijinska, Russian/US dancer, died at the age of 77

• 1995 ~ Brad Lee Sexton, bass guitarist, died at the age of 47

• 2000 ~ Harold Nicholas, American dancer known as one of the world’s greatest dancers (Nicholas Brothers), died of heart failure at the age of 79.  Children: don’t try this at home – never, ever dance on a piano!

• 2001 ~ Country guitar player Roy Nichols, who played in Merle Haggard’s band for 22 years and helped create the Bakersfield Sound, died after being hospitalized with kidney inflammation and a bacterial infection. He was 68. Nichols began recording with Haggard’s band The Strangers in 1963 and played with some of country music’s biggest names from the time he was 16 years old. “A lot of people may or may not know that he played for Johnny Cash on Tennessee Flat Top Box, the original version, and also on The Ballad of Ira Hayes,” Haggard told the Associated Press in a telephone interview. Haggard credits Nichols with jump-starting his own career and playing a key role in developing The Stranger’s distinctive sound.

• 2001 ~ Grand Ole Opry star Johnny Russell, whose song Act Naturally was recorded by Buck Owens and The Beatles, died of leukemia, diabetes and other ailments at the age of 61. Russell once said that it took him two years to get someone to record Act Naturally, co-written with Voni Morrison. When Owens recorded a version in 1963, it went to No. 1 on the country charts. Two years later, it was recorded by the Beatles, with Ringo Starr singing the vocal. In 1989, Starr and Owens recorded a duet of the song that was nominated for Grammy and Country Music Association awards. Russell’s own recording career took off in the 1970s. His biggest hit was the working class anthem Rednecks, White Socks and Blue Ribbon Beer, which went to No. 4 in 1973 and was nominated for a Grammy. Russell joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry in 1985, and over the years became its regular closing act. A jolly, 275-pound man, he would joke to audiences in his opening line: “Can everybody see me all right?” Russell also wrote the No. 1 hit Let’s Fall to Pieces Together, recorded in 1984 by George Strait, and Making Plans, which was recorded by Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt on their Trio album in 1987.

Cab Calloway

Since I’ve done the Nicholas Brothers and Busby Berkeley, it’s time for Cab Calloway, another old movie favorite of mine.

I think the first time I ever came across anything related to Calloway was in the late 1960s when I was watching That Girl on TV – Ann’s father (Lew Parker) sang Minnie the Moocher for a talent show.  The song stuck in my head.  I wish I could find a video of that performance.

“Minnie the Moocher” is a jazz song first recorded in 1931 by Cab Calloway and His Orchestra, selling over a million copies. “Minnie the Moocher” is most famous for its nonsensical ad-libbed (“scat”) lyrics (for example, “Hi De Hi De Hi De Hi”).

In performances, Calloway would have the audience participate by repeating each scat phrase in a form of call and response. Eventually, Calloway’s phrases would become so long and complex that the audience would laugh at their own failed attempts to repeat them.

“Minnie the Moocher” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.

 

Lots of others have sung this song, as well including Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie in “Jeeves and Wooster”.

 

 

and the Three Mo’ Tenors performed it in 2001

 

 

Calloway appeared in the 1980 film The Blues Brothers and sang a shortened version “Minnie The Moocher” in the film, in the original style of big band.

 

Cabell “Cab” Calloway III (December 25, 1907 – November 18, 1994) was an American jazz singer and bandleader. He was strongly associated with the Cotton Club in Harlem, New York City, where he was a regular performer.

Calloway was a master of energetic scat singing and led one of the United States’ most popular big bands from the start of the 1930s through to the late 1940s. Calloway’s band featured performers including trumpeters Dizzy Gillespie and Adolphus “Doc” Cheatham, saxophonists Ben Webster and Leon “Chu” Berry, New Orleans guitar ace Danny Barker, and bassist Milt Hinton. Calloway continued to perform until his death in 1994 at the age of 86.

An old Paramount short film of Cab Calloway singing many of his hits.

 

 

“The Old Man of The Mountain” is non-stop Cab from beginning to end. He appears first as an owl, singing the title song. The words have been changed for the cartoon, in which the Old Man is a villain. In the original song, the Old Man is a benevolent character. Next we see Cab as the Old Man himself, rotoscoped and singing, “You Gotta Hi-De-Hi,” followed by “The Scat Song.”

The cartoon begins with live footage of Cab and his Orchestra playing around with the tune of Minnie the Moocher while Cab scats mildly and grins at the camera. Whereas Cab may have been caught by surprise when they used live footage of him in the earlier cartoon, “Minnie the Moocher”, this time he is ready. He and his band are in dress white uniforms, Cab’s hair is slicked back, and he pays attention to the camera. (The drummer, Leroy Maxey, is still playing with his drumsticks, though!)

Of the three cartoons starring Cab Calloway, this one has the least interesting and least surreal plot, and the animation is the crudest. Never-the-less, the very early live footage of Cab is a treasure, and this cartoon showcases his music from beginning to end, featuring three of his songs. He does some of his most remarkable ever scat singing in this version of The Scat Song.

In all of the Fleisher cartoons, Cab’s characters are set in caves with menacing and ominous background illustrations: skeletons, skulls, ghosts, leering faces, and gambling, alcohol and drug paraphernalia. People have claimed that the Fleischers were unaware of the drug references in Cab’s songs (for example, “kicking the gong around” meaning “smoking opium”), but the imagery in the animations suggests otherwise.

 

 

Cab’s scat singing, dancing, comedic personality and flashy elegance had made him a star and a million-selling recording artist. He continued to perform right up until his death in 1994 at the age of 88.

Gunther Schuller sums up Calloway’s brilliance as an entertainer: “People still remember Cab Calloway as a dancer and vaudevillian with his wonderful white tuxedos and all of that — and, as a great, great showman.”

 

Happy Tap Dance Day

tap-dance-day

 

Another of the Who Knew?-type posts. It’s National Tap Dance Day.  When I was a little kid, I took the “required” ballet and tap classes for a year.  My mom has a picture of me in my tutu and one in my majorette costume for the tap recital.  I imagine I only took for the year because those costumes cost extra money.

Later on, I bought tap shoes – still unused – and signed up with a friend for a local adult tap class.  Unfortunately, we were the only ones who signed up for the class and it was cancelled.  It was a major nightmare trying to get our money back.  They wanted to give us a credit for the next time, but that would cost more money which we didn’t want to pay.

But, I digress.

National Tap Dance Day falls on May 25 every year and is a celebration of tap dancing as an American art form. The idea of National Tap Dance Day was first presented to U.S. Congress on February 7, 1989 and was signed into American law by President George H.W. Bush on November 8, 2004. The one-time official observance was on May 25, 1989.

Tap Dance Day is also celebrated in other countries, particularly Japan, Australia, India and Iceland.
National Tap Dance Day was the brainchild of Carol Vaughn, Nicola Daval, and Linda Christensen. They deemed May 25 appropriate for this holiday because it is the birthday of Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, a significant contributor to tap dance.

 

 

Even Legos can tap to Puttin’ On The Ritz! A tribute to Fred Astaire, in the classic scene from the 1946 musical, Blue Skies, with the music and lyrics by Irving Berlin. Although originally written for vaudevillian Harry Richman in 1930, the lyrics were readapted along with a brand new dance sequence some 16 years later.

 

 

Here’s the original from Blue Skies, although some has been cut with stills of Fred inserted:

 

 

And another version, with Michael Jackson 🙂

 

 

Just for comparison, the real original 1930 movie footage of Irving Berlin’s world-famous song, sung by Harry Richman, from the film of the same name.

 

 

And something completely different with my old favorites, The Nicholas Brothers from the film Stormy Weather.