What was the number one song in the UK on 8th January 1954?
Eddie’s instrumental version of a Germanic song about woman’s clown father was at number one for 9 weeks.
There’s a melancholy feel to this trumpet instrumental, but to be honest, I got a bit bored 1 minute in. It’s almost like I’m not a fan of trumpet instrumental songs. I can imagine couples dancing to this on the dance floor in the 50s and I imagined they would describe this song as beautiful. To be fair though, ole Eddie could really play that trumpet of his.
“O mein Papa” is a nostalgic German song, originally as related by a young woman remembering her beloved, once-famous clown father. It was written by Swiss composer Paul Burkhard in 1939 for the musical Der schwarze Hecht (The Black Pike), reproduced in 1950 as Das Feuerwerk (The Firework) to a libretto by Erik Charell, Jürg Amstein, and Robert Gilbert. In 1954 that musical was turned into the film Fireworks with Lilli Palmer.
“Oh, mein Papa”, an instrumental version by trumpeter Eddie Calvert, topped the UK Singles Chart in 1954, and was also a Top 10 hit in the United States.
It was adapted into English by John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons under the title “Oh! My Pa-Pa”. A recording by Eddie Fisher with Hugo Winterhalter’s orchestra and chorus was made at Webster Hall, New York City, on December 12, 1953. It was released by RCA Victor Records as catalog number 20-5552 (in US) and by EMI on the His Master’s Voice label as catalog number B 10614. This recording became a No. 1 hit on the U.S. Billboard chart in 1954.
Fisher’s version also made the UK Top 10; thus, in the UK, Calvert’s version was number one while Fisher’s made the top 10, but missed the top spot, and in the U.S., the opposite occurred. Calvert’s version was the first UK number one hit recorded at Abbey Road Studios. The song returned to Abbey Road when Brian Fahey conducted an instrumental version in 1960, to be used as a backing track for Connie Francis’ English-Yiddish recording for her album Connie Francis Sings Jewish Favorites. Francis overdubbed her vocals in Hollywood. In June 1966, Francis overdubbed the same playback once more, this time with the original German lyrics for her German concept album Melodien, die die Welt erobern.
(I mean, it’s an instrumental, so technically very few, but here are the English lyrics for the full song version)
“Oh, my Papa, to me he was so wonderful,
Oh, my Papa, to me he was so good.
No one could be so gentle and so lovable,
Oh, my Papa, he always understood.
Always the clown so funny in his way.
Oh, my Papa, to me he was so wonderful,
Deep in my heart I miss him so today.
Gone are the days when he would take me on his knee
And with a smile he’d change my tears to laughter.”
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