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Mr. Sandman


The Chordettes

Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

"Mr. Sandman" was written by song-writer Pat Ballard and first recorded by The Chordettes. It became the first hit for them, staying at #1 for an amazing seven weeks in 1954 and launching their career. The Chordettes eventually went on to peek into the Top-40 nine times total.
The Chordettes were Jinny Osborn, Nancy Overton, Lynn Evans and Carol Buschmann. This song is an excellent example of their main form, singing close harmony a cappella with minimal accompaniment. The Chordettes kept up the wholesome sweet-as-angels image throughout the '50s and into the '60s; their second-biggest hit was "Lollipop" in 1959.
Music students, take note: the chorus features a circle of fifths followed for six chords in a row within the chorus' chord progression.
It may sound unusual for this song to mention Liberace, given his later-known preferences. But in 1954 Liberace was hotter than velcro: he completely hid the fact that he was gay, and nobody had any idea. Besides, what else rhymes with Pagliacci? True, Fibonacci, but this isn't a song about math, much less a numerical sequence that approaches the Golden Ratio the higher you progress...

You young whippersnappers don't even know who Pagliacci is, do you? He is the sad clown of classic Italian opera, penned by Leoncavallo. He also shows up in the Smokey Robinson classic "Tears Of A Clown."
This song has so many covers and alternate versions, it's almost worth a book listing in itself. Male or female vocals may swap the sex of the requested "dream" as needed, with very little trouble. Ballard even wrote a Christmas version substituting "Mr. Santa." The song also gives itself over well to parody.
This is going to sound strange in the Internet Age, but back in the 1950s they had "fan clubs." A central organization would have a president and send out a newsletter. The Chordettes had one headquartered from Union City, New Jersey by one Jody Destefano. Yes, there were obsessive fans trading messages back and forth before anyone heard of the Internet.
The Chordettes
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Comments (4):

Brings back memories. My dad was from that era, the greatest generation. I grew up listening to dad play records from the 40s, 50s, & 60s. miss my dad.
- mike, nampa, ID
In the third stanza of "Mr. Sandman," the vocal response, "Yes?" is provided by the late Archie Bleyer. Bleyer had been Arthur Godfrey's music director from 1946-1953 and established Cadence Records in 1952. One of the groups he signed to the label was the Chordettes.
- Roy, Columbus, OH
It would be nice if the Glee cast did a version of the song. I can imagine how Rachel and the other girls would sound with their rendition.
- Jason, Pasadena, CA
Check out the version by Pomplamoose on YouTube. It's fabulous!
- Jim, Morgantown, WV
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