MY GRANDFATHER'S CLOCK

Latest update on 04/09/2018

Artist: Emile Berliner
Author: Henry Clay Work
Label: Berliner Grammophon
Year: 1886

Spoken word one-sided 5 inch disc made out of gutta-percha (pre shellac). The song was introduced by Sam Lucas who, just like the author, was from Hartford, Connecticut. Sam was a black entertainer and actor, ending up as the star of Uncle Tom's Cabin, both the theatre production and the film (in 1915) of Harriet Beecher-Stowe's bestseller. Author Henry Clay Work (1832-1884) was an active abolitionist. His home was a stop on the Underground Railroad. His most famous composition during his lifetime was Marching Through Georgia (1865), immortalizing General Sherman's most glorious campaign during the Civil War. Work's most enduring composition (written in 1876) was this trivial story of an old clock that stopped ticking the day the owner died, like any clock would that needs a dayly wind-up. The wonder of the song's enduring capacities is in the opening lines: the clock "was bought on the morn of the day that he was born". Never underestimate low culture, for this might actually have been a real story, far away from where Henry Work was living, about a standing clock in a public house in Piercebridge near Darlington, north Yorkshire (England). Had been standing there for exactly as long as both innkeeping brothers lived, and the day the surviving one died, his clock broke up. That very same (mute) clock still stands on that very same spot: The George Hotel in Piercebridge. Any customer complaining why that clock ain't working gets a brochure with a link to this song. Sure enough, there's a picture of the clock on their site.

Covers:

1905:

Haydn Quartet [for Victor]

1915:

George Formby Sr. [parody released in 1924 (on Zonophone); father of ukelele comedian George Formby Jr.]

1925:

Frank Crumit

1938:

Gene Krupa

1948:

Max van Praag [as Grootvaders Klok]

1954:

Bob Scholte [idem]

1959:

Johnny Cash

1960:

Lawrence Welk [n°1 US as B-side of Calcutta]

1960:

Sam Cooke

1960:

Henk Van Der Heide & Anneke Pater [as Us Pake Syn Klok]

1961:

Everly Brothers

1964:

Doc Watson

1966:

Shadows

1968:

Strangers [as Ballade Van Bonpa]

1969:

Sambrinco's [as Us Pake Syn Klok]

1975:

Seldom Scene

1984:

Barron Knights

1998:

Grandpa Jones

1999:

John McEuen & Jim Ibbotson

2001:

Arizona Snake Revue

The Andante at the end of van Beethoven's ballet Creatures Of Prometeus sounds like My Grandfather's Clock's opening lines.

Contact


If you noticed blunt omissions, mis-interpretations or even out-and-out errors, please let us know by contacting us:

Arnold Rypens
Rozenlaan 65
B-2840 Reet (Rumst)

info@originals.be

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