Swinging On A Star

Album: Going My Way (1944)

Songfacts®:

  • The vocalists singing with Crosby were the Williams Brothers, including Andy Williams. Andy also dubbed singing for Lauren Bacall in at least one film. Andy was very young, and between his high register and Bacall's throaty quality, it worked. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Barry Kesten - Bellmore, United States
  • This was composed by Jimmy Van Heusen, with lyrics by Johnny Burke, for Bing Crosby to perform in the 1944 film Going My Way. Van Heusen and Crosby were discussing the film during dinner at Crosby's home, when the crooner quipped to one of his children, "If you don’t go to school, you might grow up to be a mule. Do you wanna do that?" Van Heusen thought it would make a great lyric and brought it to Burke, who wrote the song around it.
  • This beat out ten other songs that were in the running for the Academy Award for Best Original Song, including "The Trolley Song," a famous number performed by Judy Garland in Meet Me in St. Louis.
  • Van Heusen and Burke wrote several other songs together, including standards like "Imagination," "It Could Happen To You" and "Polka Dots and Moonbeams," among many others.
  • Partnered with lyricist Sammy Cahn, Van Heusen was a frequent composer for Frank Sinatra, penning hits like "All The Way," "My Kind of Town," "High Hopes," "Call Me Irresponsible," and "(Love Is) a Tender Trap." Sinatra would also cover "Swinging on a Star" for his 1964 album Sinatra Sings Days of Wine and Roses, Moon River, and Other Academy Award Winners, in an arrangement by Nelson Riddle.
  • Burke worked as a lyricist for Paramount Pictures and contributed to 25 of Bing Crosby's films, spawning many hits, including the title song from the 1936 musical Pennies From Heaven.
  • The title was borrowed for a 1995 musical revue about the life of Johnny Burke.
  • Rosemary Clooney covered this on her 1978 tribute to Bing Crosby, Rosie Sings Bing. Tony Bennett also included the track on his 1998 album, The Playground.
  • This was parodied in one of Gary Larson's Far Side comic strips, when a man unfortunately answers an affirmative to Crosby's question "Or would you rather be a pig?"
  • Big Dee Irwin and Little Eva hit #38 on the pop chart with their cover in 1963.
  • This was featured in the Little Lulu cartoon "A Bout with a Trout," in 1947, when Lulu decides to skip school to go fishing. Bing Crosby's face appears inside of a star during the scene, along with Bob Hope and comedian/composer Jerry Colonna each appearing in their own star.

Comments: 8

  • George from Vancouver, CanadaSpider Robinson wrote a humorous parody of the lyrics in "Callahan's Con"
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn May 19th 1963, Big Dee Irwin and Little Eva's covered version of "Swinging On A Star" entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #90; seven weeks later on July 7th, 1963 it would peak at #38 {for 2 weeks} and it stayed on the chart for 10 weeks...
    Big Dee Irwin had one other Top 100 record, as lead singer of the Pastels, "Been So Long" peaked at #24 in 1958...
    And Little Eva had four Top 100 records, with "The Loco-Motion" being her biggest hit, it peaked at #1 {for 1 week} in 1962...
    Big Dee, born DiFosco T. Ervin Jr., passed away on August 27th, 1995 at the age of 63 and Little Eva, born Eva Narcissus Boyd, died on April 10th, 2003 at age 59...
    May they both R.I.P.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 7th 1944, Bing Crosby recorded "Swinging On a Star"; as stated above, providing backing vocals were the Williams Brothers Quartet, with 16 year old Andy Williams being the youngest member of the quartet...
    And on August 5th, 1944 it peaked at #1 {for 9 weeks} on Billboard's Best Selling Retail Records chart, it replaced Bing's version of "I'll Be Seeing You"* at #1 on the chart, it had been #1 for 3 weeks...
    Plus his version of "Amor" was at #4 at the time...
    * And at the time Tommy Dorsey's version of "I'll Be Seeing You", featuring Frank Sinatra, was at #6 on the same chart.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyThis song won the Oscar for Best Song at the 1944 Academy Awards, it was from the movie "Going My Way"... The song was also covered in 1963 by Big Dee Irwin in a duo with Little Eva; it peaked at #38...
  • Rando from Duluth, MnI seem to remember watching this in a "Little Lulu" cartoon when I was very young.
  • Daevid from Glendale, Caahhh...one of the all=time greats! swing it Bing.
  • Steve Dotstar from Los Angeles, CaSonny Burke's production with John Scott
    Trotter's orchestra helped make this a "neat" little record..nice clarinets, violins and muted brass..along with the close harmony of the Williams Brothers, of course!
    It also helped to have a great song, courtesy of
    Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke! Oh, did I mention the singer? lol
  • Pete from Nowra, Australiathis is .... like a really good song......
    Andy Williams singing for Lauren Bacall...thats one for the grand kids
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