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Sunday Song Lyric:
Columbus Day was last Monday. We had classes anyway so I forgot (though not getting mail was a clue). There have been a few good songs about Christopher Columbus, including the classic Tin Pan Alley-era tune with lyrics by Andy Razaf and music by Leon Berry (though sometimes credited to Andy Kirk) that was popularized by Duke Ellington.
Mister Christopher Columbus
Sailed the sea without a compass
When his men began a rumpus
Up spoke, Christopher Columbus

There is land somewhere
Until we get there,
We will not go wrong,
If we sing, "swing a song"

Since the world is round,
We'll be safe and sound
Til our goal is found,
We'll just keep rhythm bound
The full lyrics are here.
Sarah (mail) (www):
Does Case celebrate Columbus Day on the day after Thanksgiving? Ohio State did when I was an undergrad, but Columbus State (and the City of Columbus) take the real day. I took the opportunity to hang out in Cincinnati.

I hope that song was less hokey than it reads. It seems suspiciously like Veggietales/Schoolhouse Rock to me, judging by the lyrics alone.
10.19.2008 12:12pm
Another David (mail):
It's a round, round world
It's a round, round world
I'm convinced it's round and it's gonna be found when all the results are in:
It's a round world now, and it's always been!

...

Friend, get hip
Would I climb aboard this ship
If I didn't have odds the Earth was highly spherical?
(It's a miracle if it is)

...

If you don't believe, you're gonna receive
the shock of your royal life
When the ship pulls in at Miami!

(Rumble rumble rumble. Mutiny mutiny mutiny.)
10.19.2008 12:31pm
Fub:
Sarah wrote at 10.19.2008 11:12am:
I hope that song was less hokey than it reads. It seems suspiciously like Veggietales/Schoolhouse Rock to me, judging by the lyrics alone.
Best and hokiest foot stomping version I ever heard was Jim Kweskin's Jug Band on "See Reverse Side for Title".
10.19.2008 12:39pm
Ken Arromdee:
I don't think Schoolhouse Rock or any other educational program would spread the idea that only Columbus thought the world is round.
10.19.2008 1:33pm
Stolidus:
Another David:

You ignore well documented facts. As noted by the respected historian and blogger sfreberg in 1961:

It's a flat, flat world,
It's a flat, flat world,
I insist it's flat as a welcoming mat,
and he's sailing off the end!
How about our crazy Italian friend!

10.19.2008 2:34pm
donaldk2 (mail):
From the Wikipedia article about the immortal Benny Goodman number "Sing Sing Sing". But I guess you kiddies would not be familiar with that.

***At its longest, a live recording (with several impromptu solos) was actually recorded and took up a whole 12 min 30 sec. Mundy's arrangement incorporated "Christopher Columbus", a piece written by Chu Berry for the Fletcher Henderson band, as well as Prima's work.***
10.19.2008 5:30pm
Pat C (mail):
And at the end of "Bob Dylan's 115th Dream", after various surrealistic events ...

But the funniest thing was
When I was leavin' the bay
I saw three ships a-sailin'
There were all heading my way
I asked the captain what his name was
And how come he didn't drive a truck
He said his name was Columbus
I just said, "Good luck".



To followup donaldk's comment, that version of "Sing Sing Sing" can be found on the immortal album BENNY GOODMAN LIVE AT CARNEGIE HALL, recorded 1938.

Not sure if I've heard Ellington's version of "Christopher Columbus". Have to check my CD library when I get off work.
10.19.2008 6:39pm
Gulf Coast Bandit (mail):
Can I just pipe in a word for Columbus Day? Either it should be a holiday, or it shouldn't. It's so frustrating to have a normal day of life and pop by the post office after school to discover SURPRISE! it's closed today. I hate the quasi-holiday status that days like Columbus Day and MLK Day take. It's kinda like Pluto being a planet, but not really. Seriously, consistency = :).
10.19.2008 7:26pm
Ian H Spedding (mail):
Not having been a kiddy for more years than I care to remember, I am familiar with Christopher Columbus by saxophonist Chu Berry, having first heard it as inserted into Jimmy Mundy's arrangement of Louis Prima's Sing, Sing, Sing in the recording of Benny Goodman's milestone 1938 Carnegie Hall concert. That concert took place many years before I was born but one of my fondest memories is hearing it played by a band of British sidemen fronted by the great Goodman himself in the 1970's.
10.19.2008 8:58pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
This was a hit for Fletcher Henderson in 1936. The tune was never associated with Ellington, but he did record a version for Reprise in the 60's as part of a big band nostalgia album.
10.19.2008 10:53pm
PAT C (mail):
Per Joel Whitburn's book Pop Memories 1890-1954, the tune hit the music charts in April 1936, with the most popular versions being by
Andy Kirk &His Twelve Clouds of Joy
Benny Goodman
Fletcher Henderson
Teddy Wilson
King Garcia
The above were instrumental versions, except for the King Garcia recording with vocal by Dan Darcy.
10.19.2008 11:14pm
Lev:
Maxine Sullivan does a very nice version of Christopher Columbus.

I heard a recording of Louis Prima and his orchestra doing Sing Sing Sing, and it had Christopher Columbus in it.
10.19.2008 11:58pm
Roy:
Don't you think Mark Steyn deserves a shoutout for his own Columbus themed essay?
10.20.2008 12:52am
Michael Edward McNeil (mail) (www):
Historian Samuel Eliot Morison in his fascinating dual-volume work The European Discovery of America pointed to this ditty from the 400th anniversary of Columbus's discovery:
What if wise men as far back as Ptolemy
Judged that the earth like an orange was round,
None of them ever said, "Come along, follow me,
Sail to the West and the East will be found."

Although, to be fair, Aristotle (in On the Heavens) did write the following:
All of which goes to show not only that the earth is circular in shape, but also that it is a sphere of no great size: for otherwise the effect of so slight a change of place would not be so quickly apparent. Hence one should not be too sure of the incredibility of the view of those who conceive that there is continuity between the parts about the pillars of Hercules and the parts about India, and that in this way the ocean is one.
10.20.2008 1:50am
Al Maviva:
For me the definitive musical work discussing Columbus was a cadence call that used to be popular in an infantry unit I served with. Not sure you'd have heard this anywhere outside an all-male environment. NSFW, and quite possibly historically accurate.

(The second version is the one I'm familiar with.)
10.20.2008 9:41am
Profane (mail) (www):
"The cause of the inequality of the length of days is that the earth is round, and it is not in vain that in both the bible and pagan literature it is called the orb of lands. For truly it is an orb placed in the center of the universe. It its width it is like a circle, and not circular like a shield but rather like a ball, and it extends from its center with perfect roundness at all sides."

Venerable Bede, 8th century Northumbrian monk
10.20.2008 2:05pm