Around the world in 80 songs

Mar 8, 2012

Despite the emergence or rock and roll, Lawrence Welk had a #1 pop single “Calcutta” in 1961. At age 57, he was the oldest  performer to achieve that milestone. (3 years later Louis Armstrong, at 62 topped the charts with “Hello Dolly”.) “Calcutta” the song doesn’t seem to have anything remotely to do with Calcutta the city, in fact the song was originally called “Tivoli Melody”.

It’s hard to believe that Welk displaced the Shirelles’ “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” from the #1 spot, but he’s got the gold record to prove it. If you are a regular watcher of Lawrence Welk, and we know that you are, you will recognize Bobby Burgess and Barbara Boylan dancing their little fannies off to “Calcutta”: 

Next stop Rio de Janiero, courtesy of this 1933 RKO film and song “Flying Down to Rio”. This scene takes wing-walking to a whole new level:

Our next two artists made television history together in 1968. While singing a song with Harry Belafonte on her NBC television special, Petula Clark took hold of his arm. Gasp! Sponsors insisted on another take but Clark held firm and the first inter-racial contact appeared on network TV.

Here’s Petula Clark and “A Foggy Day in London Town”:

Next a youthful Harry Belafonte and his classic “Jamaica Farewell”: