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Desiderata

by

Les Crane



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

Crane is a San Francisco TV talk show host and husband of Tina Louise, who played "Ginger" on Gilligan's Island. The Rolling Stones made their American television debut on The Les Crane Show on June 2, 1964.
According to the liner notes for the album, "Desiderata" was a poem written in 1906 and copyrighted under the title "Go Placidly Amid the Noise and Haste" in 1927 by Max Ehrmann, an Indiana lawyer. It was about the search for happiness in life. In the 1960s, the poem made its rounds around hippiedom as "anonymous" ancient wisdom - it was widely reprinted because most people assumed it was in the public domain. Crane read the poem on a street poster (which stated the words "Found in Old Saint Paul's Church, Baltimore, dated 1692") and decided to record it.
The musical background was by Fred Werner, who found the poster in a Los Angeles store.
This won the Grammy for Best Spoken Word Recording in 1971.
The first recording of the poem was by the UK group Every Which Way in 1970 as "Child of the Universe." (thanks, Brad Wind - Miami, FL, for all above)
National Lampoon parodied this on the album Radio Dinner as "Deteriorata." It starts: "You are a fluke of the universe, you have no right to be here..." The parody featured Melissa Manchester as one of the background singers.
The title is in Latin. It means "something desired as essential."
This was Crane's only hit. He later moved into the computer software field. (thanks, Edward Pearce - Ashford, Kent, England, for above 2)
Les Crane
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Comments (9):

National Lampoon's "Deteriorata" peaked at No. 91 in 1972 and stayed in the Top 100 for four weeks!!!


NATIONAL LAMPOON
10-14-72 #91 4 1. DETERIORATA (C) {PARODY OF "DESIDERATA")
- Barry, Sauquoit, NY
Sadly, Les Crane passed away on July 13th, 2008 in Greenbrea, CA at the age of 74. His birth name was Leslie Stein and he was born on December 3rd, 1933 in New York City...
- Barry, Sauquoit, NY
Max Ehrmann was in fact a lawyer - he studied both law and philosophy at Harvard, & while there edited Delta Tau Delta's natl publication. He was later elected to its Distinguished Svce Chapter, the highest alumni award. After returning to Terre Haute to practise law, he later served the state as Deputy Attorney for two years. He then worked for some years, not as a traveling salesman but for his brother's manufacturing business. Desiderata was written possibly as early as 1920/21 & copyrighted in 1927, but neither in 1906 or 1936. You can verify this by checking his 1921 diary entry that refers to it & its Jan. 1927 copyright #, 962402. The mix-up about the 17th-c. church came about in the late 1950's when Rev. Frederick Kates, not knowing its origin, included it with some inspirational material for his congregation under the title "The Old St Paul's Church, Baltimore, AD 1692" b/c that was the year the church had originally been founded. People loved it & shared copies of it w/ their friends (w/ the "1692" heading on it), & that's how the "ancient" myth began to spread. Desiderata also later ended up on posters in the 1960's & 70's; it became very popular... apparently, Les Crane first saw it on one of those posters & thought the work was in the public domain.
- Paula, Blairstown, NJ
"Desiderata" I always love listening to ever since I heared it played from a jukebox in a shop in my small village, when I was still a small lad.
As an adult it have inspired me to keep peace with myself and others, this have made life and love so wonderful.
- Carl, Mandeville, Jamaica
Someone wrote that Max Ehrmann wrote "Desiderata" in 1906 and was an Indiana lawyer. Not true. Max Ehrmann was a travelling salesman from Indiana during the Depression and he wrote this song in 1936 while staying in a Chicago hotel one night. He wrote it as an uplifting "poem" because of all of the sadness and strife in America due to the Depression. I have an original recording by Les Crane and I even memorized the words and still repeat them every night before I go to bed. I have a poster of the words, but it is incorrectly credited to a 17th century church. I don't know how that happened. (thanks-Stormy Werbe, Kokomo, Indiana)
- Stormy, Kokomo, IN
Does anyone remember Les Crane's TV show. I remember he'd take questions from the audience by pointing a rifle-type microphone at them from his set on stage.
- Lester, New York City, NY
I heard this song a few weeks ago on the local oldies station and it was unbelievable to hear Les Crane's rendition of a now near century-old poem. Let's not forget the gospel-like chorus that sang "You are a child of the universe. No less than the trees and the stars and you have a right to be here."
- Howard, St. Louis Park, MN
Doctor Demento played the National Lampoon spoof a good deal on his radio show back in the day. I still have a tape of a KMEN-FM, Los Angeles show from the mid-1970s.
- Mark, Falls Church, VA
Apparently Les didn't get permission to use the lyrics, not quite sure what happened though
- pete, nowra, Australia
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