Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Musical memories

The first time I heard the melody of O Sole Mio was a slightly bawdy song my grandmother used to sing which went something like:

Old Mother Riley
She bought a cow
But to milk it
She didn't know how
She pulled its tail,instead of its tit
Old mother Riley got covered in snow.

My cousin Vicki, who lived in the same house as my grandmother as a girl refused to accept this.  She had never heard our grandmother sing and in any case would not of have sang a song like that.  Well this is not a false memory and anyway I could not have made up words like this at the age of ten.

When one of my older brothers returned from serving in Italy during WW2 he had learned quite a bit of Italian and lots of Italian and Neapolitan songs.
One of his favourites was O Sole Mio which he would play on the piano and any other instrument he could get his hands on, which included a mandolin which I had bought out of curiosity in a second hand shop.

It was only much later that I realised that the tune was the same as Gran's little ditty.

Later on of course there was Elvis with "It's now or never" with essentially the same melody. and then later there were the wonderful renditions of the original song by the three tenors in concert.

Goes to show that there's nothing new.

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