Saturday, January 30, 2010

Great Drinking Songs (19)

Last month over on Froogville, when talking about puns, my blog-friend Moonrat complained that she had been confused by a convoluted reference in Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow to the phrase Fifty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong (well, I think Pynchon may have reduced the number of Frenchmen - or "fur henchmen", I believe it was - to 'forty million' in order to crowbar it into his pun). I explained that this was the title of a popular song of the 1920s, perhaps best known in this version by the great comic songstress Sophie Tucker (no video, I'm afraid).

On looking it up, I was reminded (I'd heard it somewhere in my childhood) that it is quite a rousing little singalong number. I've only recently been restored to access to YouTube, and my Great Drinking Songs series has been in abeyance since last summer - but this seems like a suitable number to get it going again.

There's quite a bit more of Ms Tucker on YouTube, including this typically idiosyncratic rendition of Some Of These Days (no video, but once again some still photographs of the lady), a very rare clip of a live performance of No-One But The Right Man Can Do Me Wrong on a stage somewhere in London circa 1930, entertaining the troops in 1944's patriotic morale-booster Follow The Boys (which apparently had everyone who was anyone in it), and singing You Can't Sew A Button On A Heart in the musical film Sensations of 1945.

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