She'll Grow Back: Happy birthday Meredith Willson!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Happy birthday Meredith Willson!

And now, the introduction of yet another new feature here at She'll Grow Back: Birthday greetings, complete with a selection of related songs currently on my hard drive (no ripping or downloading allowed, just to keep it interesting).

Meredith Willson would've been 106 today. He's best known for writing The Music Man and The Unsinkable Molly Brown, though he started performing music professionally in 1921 with John Phillip Sousa. (He also wrote "It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas.")

These are the three songs my computer was holding before I found out today is Willson's birthday. First, an odd little record from 1961. John F. Kennedy's Presidential Council on Physical Fitness asked Willson to write a song to promote daily exercise to schoolchildren. Willson wrote it, and it was then recorded by Robert Preston, star of The Music Man. It was played every single day in schools across the country for literally decades. Many people have childhood memories of this song and its earwig qualities. (Caution: second link autoplays song!) Ladies and gentlemen, I give you... "Chicken Fat"!

Next, a band you may have heard of covers the sweetest song from The Music Man.

Finally, a Simpsons classic, "Monorail," inspired by "Ya Got Trouble (Right Here In River City)," from The Music Man.

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