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Space Age Pop Songs

The Leroy Anderson Song


Leroy Anderson is the classical counterpart to Raymond Scott: innovative and skilled composers destined to remembered as creators of musical novelties. His most-recorded pieces are, for the most part, rather like musical cartoons: facsimiles of the real thing, but suspended in an unreal dimension. "The Waltzing Cat" sounds like a cat, but only enough so we can hear the joke--not so much as to ruin the enjoyment of the piece as music.

Blue Tango 1950

Blue Tango is an novelty among Anderson's novelties: a simple, lovely tune with no gimmick. It uses the traditional Argentine tango rhythm but without the melodramatic flash of authentic tangos. As a popular song written specifically for a string orchestra, it was naturally picked up and covered by Mantovani, Kostelanetz, and all their counterparts. Anderson's own recording with a studio orchestra for Decca was a #1 hit in 1951.

Recordings of "Blue Tango"

Other Leroy Anderson songs

Fiddle-Faddle
A novelty piece for violins
Bugler's Holiday
A showpiece in which three trumpeters appear to compete in a musical chase. Anderson wrote the music to sound more difficult than it actually is to play--but it still sounds hard to me.
The Waltzing Cat
Johann Strauss meets Sylvester.
The Typewriter
In which a manual typewriter--you young folk may not remember what this is--is the featured solo instrument.
The Syncopated Clock
Imitates the sound of a mechanical clock--you young folk may not remember what this is. Became the theme song for many a "Late Late Movie" show on television.
Sleigh Ride
Christmas novelty piece, with sleigh bells the most prominent instrument.
Plink, Plank, Plunk!
Just what it sounds like.
Jazz Pizzicato/Jazz Legato
Companion pieces--string sections use jazz chords and classical rhythms.

Arthur Fiedler was Anderson's greatest champion, and his compilation of Anderson's greatest hits recorded with the Boston Pops is the easiest to find and still in print in CD. Anderson's own recordings for Decca are also fairly common items in thrift stores.


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