Spring, Spring, Spring

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Spring, Spring, Spring (m. Gene de Paul, w. Johnny Mercer) — copyright registration, 26 October 1953 and 7 July 1954; introduced in the 1954 film Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

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Production number in the film Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) — performed by various cast members, including Howard Keel, Tommy Rall, Russ Tamblyn, Virginia Gibson, Barbara Ames, Betty Allan, etc.

full number

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(below) song only

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From the Seven Brides for Seven Brothers original soundtrack album, M-G-M Records E244 —  released in August 1954 — The front cover indicates that the tracks on the 10″ LP were “[r]ecorded directly from the sound track of the M-G-M motion picture”

  • vocals: Brothers and Girls
  • music: M-G-M Studio Orchestra, conducted by Adolph Deutsch

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Ruby Murray, Ray Burns, Diana Decker, Ronnie Harris and Ray Martin and his Orchestra — issued in 1955 on the 78 rpm single (UK) Columbia D.B. 3567, c/w “Goin’ Co’tin'” — Discogs.com has “Spring, Spring, Spring” as the A-side, while 45Worlds.com has the sides in the reverse order. “Co’tin'” is a colloquial version of “Courting.”

The lyric of this version is the same as that of the film version except that the following section is added. I haven’t been able to confirm that Johnny Mercer wrote these lines.

Every male little mallard
Honks a heart-rending ballad
From the stream where he sloshes
In his web-foot galoshes
Eager goes brimmingly
We’ll get along swimmingly
Spring, Spring, Spring

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Johnny Mercer with the Paul Smith Trio and The Notables — from the 1956 LP Sings Just for Fun, Jupiter Records JLP 1001

The words in this recording include the following lines, in which Mercer rhymes the triples “-potami,” and (internally) “bottom, my,” and then immediately half-rhymes them with the last three syllables of “anato-my.” This section isn’t present in the film version, or in the 1975 Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire version.

Hear them sigh, those unhappy hippopotami
What a weighty problem mars the joy
From my top to my bottom, my anato-my
Makes it hard to tell a girl from boy

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Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954), June Bride number (3)

Joanie Somers — from her 1963 album Sommers’ Seasons, Warner Bros. Records W 1504 (Mono), WS 1504 (Stereo) [All copies of stereo version covers that I’ve seen have the catalog number 1504 on the front, with no letters.]

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Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire — from the album A Couple of Song and Dance Men, recorded 15–17 July 1975, at the Music Centre, in Wembley, London, according to Wikipedia; Discogs.com and RateYourMusic.com indicate that the album was released in 1976, though Wikipedia says 1975.

Wikipedia says:

Fred Astaire had agreed to producer Ken Barnes‘ request to make recordings for two long-playing albums in London. When it was found that Astaire’s visit would coincide with Bing Crosby’s stay in the UK, Barnes obtained the agreement of both artists to make an album together. In three morning sessions, held on consecutive days, they recorded thirteen tracks of which eleven were duets and two were solos in which they each sang a number famously associated with the other.[6]

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Original London Cast of “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” — cast album, released in 1986 on (UK) First Night Records CAST 2 (vinyl LP), and (UK) First Night Records OCR CD8 (CD)

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Michael Feinstein — from his 1989 LP The M.G.M. Album, on Elektra Records

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Bonnie Langford with orchestra conducted by Matthew Freeman — originally released on the 1994 CD album Music & Songs from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Pickwick PWKS 4209 (sources: 1, 2, 3)

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Bourneville Musical Theatre Company — production of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, April 2008

From the company’s website (http://www.bmtcweb.co.uk/):

Based in Cotteridge in Birmingham, close to the heart of Bournville, we are a company made up of a range of ages who, in recent years, have produced a wide variety of shows from Oklahoma! to our award winning productions of Jekyll and Hyde (The Musical), The Producers, and, coming in 2018, Legally Blonde The Musical!

This version includes the “little mallard” section heard in the 1955 Ruby Murray et al version (see above), except that for unknown reasons the word “sloshes” has been replaced by “splashes,” which is why the word “galoshes” is here intentionally mispronounced as “ga-lashes.”

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Jalala – live performance, summer 2009 @ Borders, Columbus Circle, NYC — “Spring, Spring, Spring” was the first track on the group’s 2009 album That Old Mercer Magic

  • Jalala: Janis Siegel, Laurel Massé, Lauren Kinhan – vocals
  • Yaron Gershovsky – piano
  • Dave Fink – bass
  • Matt Wilson – drums

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Relevant Stage Theatre Company — from the November 2010 production of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, at the Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro, CA — Darren Giglio (Gideon) and Kendall Lewis (Alice) lead off the number before being joined by other pairs.

From a November 15, 2010 review of the show by DailyNews.com (Los Angeles Daily News):

Notable was Darren Giglio as the very tall and very gangly Gideon, youngest of the seven brothers, who used his striking size as a part of his character. Other brothers were Dash Porter as Benjamin, Frank Weidner as Caleb, Keenan Hooks as Daniel, Jayson Ziehenhagen as Ephraim and Calvin Tucker as Frank. Partnering them, and dancing with every bit as much energy, were Kendall Lewis as Alice, Rachel Lynn Walker as Sarah, Robin Twitty as Ruth, Beth Benedict as Dorcas, Kaitlin Brasuel as Martha and Melissa Fong as Liza.

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soulfunkproductions — published on 3 May 2017

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Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954), June Bride number (2)

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954), June Bride number (1)___________________________

* The correct last line of the version of “Spring, Spring, Spring” heard in the 1954 movie Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and in the 1955 Ruby Murray et al. version, is “When love is king.” However, the line is given incorrectly in every online lyric site posting a transcription of the lyric that I’ve found, including International Lyrics Playground, though the movie’s subtitles provided by sites such as Subtitle-Index.org, Springfield! Springfield!, and other sites featuring a subtitle grabbing service, do include the correct line. The line may easily be found on such sites with a Find tool.

A YouTube video may be set by the owner of the channel posting it to provide closed captioning, but each of the copies of the 1954 film number that I’ve checked at YouTube either doesn’t have closed captioning, or does a poor job of transcribing the words of the song (case 1), (case 2).

The International Lyrics Playground transcriptions of the 1954 film version and the Crosby and Astaire version each contain other minor errors. A 28 March 2014 post at the site Cinema Gumbo, titled In praise of “Spring, Spring, Spring”, contains a better transcription of the Crosby and Astaire version, except for the inadvertent inclusion of a section of the lyric from the film version that is omitted in their version.

Johnny Mercer’s 1956 version doesn’t include the “When love is king” line, but features a section that I haven’t heard in any other version (see above).

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  1. Trackback: When love is king | Songbook

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