ANIMATION SPIN
May 10, 2016 posted by

Top Ten Cartoon Single Records (Part 2)

We’re down to the final five! Feel free to disagree, but these are your humble Animation Spinner’s personal choices for the best cartoon-related singles.

Charlotte45-600

NUMBER 5
DEBBIE REYNOLDS’ “CHARLOTTE’S WEB”
1973

This Sherman Brothers masterpiece should have received an Academy Award nomination for Best Song. Haunting and evocative, it was sung by a male choir in the movie (which included Bill Lee, Paul DeKorte and Gene Merlino).
Paramount had high hopes for the song, as they released a single version by The Brady Bunch (the flip side of “Zuckerman’s Famous Pig’) and this rendition by the great Debbie Reynolds with against the soundtrack arrangement by Irwin Kostal. It was backed with another gem from the jewel-packed score, “Mother Earth and Father Time.” We explored the soundtrack album here.


HiHoMartinLP

NUMBER 4
MARY MARTIN & TUTTI CAMARATA’S “HI-HO”
1958

One of the most inventive and dynamic interpretations of “Heigh-Ho” from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Tutti Camarata combines his years of big-band and star vocalist experience with the astonishing vocal range of Mary Martin for an unbridled blast of energy. Using the “pop” lyrics (“To make your troubles go” instead of “It’s home to work we go”), the song is treated as pure music and transformed as it had never been before.

“Tutti’s Trumpets” were a group of Hollywood’s top musicians, playing on movie and TV classics for all the studios and on countless recordings by the best names in the business. It’s an electrifying listening experience that never loses its edge.


LinusLucySingle

NUMBER 3
VINCE GUARALDI’S “LINUS AND LUCY”
1964

The combined talents of Vince Guaraldi, Charles M. Schulz, Bill Melendez and Lee Mendelson forever changed the animated TV special landscape with A Charlie Brown Christmas, due in no small part to the innovative use of jazz. This form of music was nothing new in cartoons, as big band, popular and progressive jazz, in one form or another, were part of animation from the early sound days.

Guaraldi had a genius for the catchy melody. “Linus and Lucy,” which was introduced in the documentary and record album Jazz Impressions of a Boy Named Charlie Brown and burst into the mainstream with the Christmas special, is considered the umbrella theme of Peanuts animation. Because of the popularity of the special (and the best selling records), “Linus and Lucy” has become a holiday standard along with Guaraldi and Mendelson’s “Christmas Time is Here.”


AlvinsOrchestra45rpm

NUMBER 2
ROSS BAGDASARIAN’S “ALVIN’S ORCHESTRA”
1960

Peaked at #33

Perhaps no other individual work so perfectly conveys the essence of what makes Alvin, Simon, Theodore and David Seville—and therefore, Ross Bagdasarian–so enduring than this masterpiece of writing, performance and engineering. Everything about it is perfection: the timing of the music blasts that drown out Dave, the sound levels of the orchestra, the ironic cheeriness of the song and the slow but sure frustration of Dave, which sounds as if it has reached the peak of madness.

According to Wikipedia, the orchestra on this record includes studio musicians that became known as “The Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra.” Frank Zappa gave them the name in 1967 when he recorded his first album, Lumpy Gravy, but the musicians were grouped in various ways since 1959, when were led by Ken Shroyer in 1959.


PuddyTat78rpm

NUMBER 1
MEL BLANC’S “I TAUT I TAW A PUDDY TAT”

February, 1951
Peaked at #9

The postwar Baby Boom saw the burgeoning success of children’s records and novelty songs. This was both and it hit an impressive #9 on the charts and inspired cover versions by such artists as Danny Kaye and Mitch Miller’s Sandpipers.

It was as difficult to decide the numbering of these records as it was to narrow them down, but the mastery of Mel Blanc belongs at the top, along with the talented team at Capitol, particularly producer Alan Livingston and musical director Billy May, who made some of the all-time best records of their kind.

The record is such a classic among Looney Tunes and Blanc fans as well as those in the animation industry, it was faithfully made into an animated short in 2011 using the late Mel Blanc’s voice tracks with additional dialogue by June Foray. Under the direction of Spike Brandt and Tony Cervone, “I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat” (the spelling varies) was released with Happy Feet Two on November 18, 2011.

Original Record

9 Comments

  • Here’s my top ten toon tunes:
    10. Top Secret Apprentice from the Tiny Toon Adventures episode Tiny Toon Music Television, a original composition by Bruce Brighton which was a parody of Dukas’ The Sorcerer’s apprentice
    9. Crusader Rabbit Longform theme (which is a whimsical musical theme that aired with the long version of Crusader Rabbit which.was made up of the mini series episodes)
    8. The instrumental version of Astro Boy as well as the Astro Boy sung by a adult male choir named The Space Cadets
    7. At the Beach from Snoopy Come Home by the Sherman Bros
    6. A Boy Named Charlie Brown from the movie of the same name
    5. The Ashcan Parade from Hey There it’s Yogi Bear
    4. The Thunderbirds March from Thunderbirds
    3. The theme from The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest (which is a updated version of the Jonny Quest theme
    2. The Siamese Cat Song from Lady and the Tramp (either the Peggy Lee or Robie Lester version)
    And
    1. (Tied) Skating from A Charie Brown Christmas and The Peanuts Movie
    And My World is Beginning Today from Santa Claus is Coming to Town
    Honorable mentions go to
    The Theme from Joe 90
    Tutti Carmata’s arrangement of The March of the Cards from Alice in Wonerland
    The theme from Superman the Animated Series
    And
    The Rostabouts Song from Dumbo.

    • OK, but the topic here is songs that were released as 45 rpm (or other format) “single” recordings.

  • And did I forgot to mention Pepperland from Yellow Submarine composed by the late Sir George Martin?

  • The “Yellow Submarine” soundtrack album from 1969 did get a Grammy nomination for Outstanding Original Score for Television or Motion Picture (1970).

  • What about “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf” and “The Woody Woodpecker Song”?

  • Ah, there ain’t no better manic Dave Seville than Ross Bagdasarian! And I like it even more now that I know that the musicians who worked on that also worked on the audio lunacy that is Frank Zappa’s LUMPY GRAVY which comes off at times like very listenable hallucinogenic muzak, and it works on that level, especially when the instruments and the speed of the recording is tampered with, but Ross Bagdasarian’s golden novelty records are truly amazing. Sure wish that, by this time, there was a full and complete collection of his stuff on CD. Oh, and I totally agree with you on the SYLVESTER AND TWEETIE song being the best of ’em all. An interesting note, when the subtitles came on during the animated cartoon adaptation, my screenreader picked it up and started reading the lyrics back to me as Mel sang them! I have to admit, though, that I liked the original record better, only because you can really hear Mel’s delivery, and he still had that energy to convey Sylvester’s disappointment, here! It is a shame, though that more classic cartoon-oriented music never made it to vinyl 45. There were so many opportunities, but it took rock musicians, again led by a member of the Zappa family, to put out an album dedicated to Gumby, with no mention of the original theme, but it is a funny and fantastic album, nonetheless.

  • Also “Der Fuhrer’s Face” by Spike Jones which was the basis of a Donald Duck cartoon that came out during WWII?
    @ Jeff Missinne
    A lot of the song that I mention were recorded by other artists
    Both Hagood Hardy and Glenn Yarborough recorded A Boy Named Charlie Brown and Glenn Yarborough also recorded Champion Charlie Brown from A Boy Named Charlie Brown.
    Peggy Lee,Robie Lester and Bobby McFarrin recorded The Siamese Cat Song
    Al Hirt did a recording of the theme from Rakin Bass’ animated series King Kong
    And the theme from The Thumderbirds was preformed and recorded by nearly every military marching and concert band in the world.
    Other songs that came out and recorded by other artists included Baby Mine from Dumbo,A Wish is What a Dream Makes from Cinderella, Astro Boy (Mighty Atom), Somewhere Out There from A American Tale and Jack Teagarden’ Jackson, The Sliphorn King of Polaroo.

  • Disappointed. Popeye and Woody Woodpecker didn’t make the list.

  • Of all of the records that Mel Blanc made, “I Taut I Taw a Puddy Tat” was his all-time best-seller! Originally released on the second of a two-disc set of songs called BUGS BUNNY SINGS, the song stole the show right out from under the star! (“I’m Glad That I’m Bug Bunny” just doesn’t cut the proverbial mustard!) When Capitol got the feedback from record stores, they realized that they had a genuine HIT on their hands, so they repackaged the disc as a kid single with new cover art (Greg’s first illustration above) and also released it in the adult series, all on 78 and 45 rpm (Greg’s second illustration above). By the time the dust settled, the duet had sold two million copies! (Mel’s runner-up best-seller–at ONE million copies–was “The Woody Woodpecker Song,” from 1948.)

    I also love “Alvin’s Orchestra”–including that great art cover, where they still look like REAL chipmunks instead of looking like cute little cartoon boys! (“Wait a minute! You don’t need a fifty-piece orchestra to play for THREE CHIPMUNKS!!!”) The instrumental flip sides (on most of these) were just filler. But the MELODY of “Copyright 1960” is wonderful–once again from the late (and VERY much lamented) Mr. Ross Bagdasarian!

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