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Album: Jazz Impressions of a Boy Named Charlie BrownReleased: 1964
Ironically, just about everyone would call this "the Charlie Brown song" even though it's actually titled after Linus and Lucy van Pelt, brother and sister in Charles M. Schulz's Peanuts comic strip universe. The Vince Guaraldi Trio frequently made music for animated Peanuts specials from there on out.
As popular and easily recognizable as this tune is, you might expect it to have been their only US Hot 100 Top-40 hit. But, no, that distinction instead goes to the Vince Guaraldi Trio's 1963 hit "Cast Your Fate To The Wind" which made it up to #22 for six weeks. It is this song, heard on the radio by one Lee Mendelson, San Francisco-based producer of the first Peanuts' TV special, that landed them the job. Mendelson was fretting over what kind of music to play for the special when he took a taxi cab; "Cast Your Fate To The Wind" was playing as he crossed the Golden Gate bridge.
Amongst the many honors this tune has enjoyed over the years, it was the wake-up alarm music for the crew of the Space Shuttle Endeavour's March, 2008 mission "STS-123." That was played on day 2 of the mission. Since day 2 is traditionally the day on which the crew does an inspection for launch damage to the ship - a precaution looking back to the 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia's disaster - the crew could probably appreciate some lighten-up music that day.
Oh, and you'll also recognize this as background music for The Weather Channel's local forecasts. If you live where there's weather, that is!
The group was downed for good and the Peanuts' TV specials had to find a new composer after the tragic death of Vince Guaraldi at age 47 from heart attack.
Vince Guaraldi wasn't the only artist in the 1960s to base their music on Charles M. Schulz's comic strip characters. Another group was The Royal Guardsmen, who released many songs based on characters and themes from the strip, including Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron
" and "Snoopy's Christmas
." And you thought the '60s were all about sex and drugs!