The Happy Wanderer

Album: Christmas Songs (1954)
Charted: 2
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Songfacts®:

  • The Obernkirchen Children's Choir, from Obernkirchen in North Germany, where it is known as Schaumburger Marchensanger, was founded in 1949 by Edith Moller. In 1953 BBC Radio aired the choir's winning performance, performing "The Happy Wanderer" at Llangollen International Eisteddfod, an annual arts festival in North Wales. The event was witnessed by the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas who described the girls as "Pigtailed Angels" and the broadcast turned the cheerful song into the great sing-along of the year. It was the best-selling sheet music in 1954 in the UK.

    The then unknown German folk song was actually an original song written by Edith Moller's brother Friedrich-Wilhelm Moller, for the competition.
  • The original German title was "Mein Vater war ein Wandersmann." The English lyrics were written by Antonia Rudge and it became a staple of many a scouting jamboree.
  • The song made the choir an international phenomenon and they were invited to sing all round the world including appearing twice on The Ed Sullivan Show. The choir was also featured in a 1955 German musical comedy film named after the song.

Comments: 8

  • Anthony Vincent from Aberdeenshire, ScotlandYou should watch the Red dwarf version as sung by Adolf Hitler and Lister...I cried with laughter...see it on UKTV Play, Dave...
  • Valerie Kanter from Knysna, Western Cape, South AfricaMy all time favorite... My name sake...!!! I love this...brings back awesome childhood memories...!!!
  • Iangraham from CockermouthI was a 12 year old member of the Whitehaven Grammar School choir which finished second to this German choir at Llangollen in 1953. To put it bluntly we were robbed. The assistant adjudicator even congratulated our conductor, the late Myra Richardson (nee Gibson) on winning the event and he was horrified when he learned of the injustice. Everything fell into place when we learned that the major ethos of the Festival was to foster Anglo-German relations so soon after the War. Likely the Chief Adjudicator was nobbled. As you can see I've nursed this grievance for over 65 years. Oh, the hurt!
  • Jacqueline from CanadaGeorge from Vancouver is incorrect. This Moeller, the composer who died at age 82 is not the same as the war criminal "Muller" who died at age 49. Just do more research and you'll see the birth and death dates as well as the name are different. Here is and excerpt from this site-https://www.volksliedsammlung.de/meinvate.html (Text: Florence Friedrich Sigismund around 1850 - (1791–1877)
    Melody: set to music several times, first by Johann Michael Anding (1810–1879). The melody in use today comes from Friedrich Wilhelm Möller (1911–1993), written in the early 1950s for the "Schaumburg fairy tale singer" directed by his sister Edith Möller.)
  • George from Vancouver, CanadaZion: he was born in Russia; in WW1 he served with the German army; early WW2 he become Lt.Col., fought the Russiam army, performed many atrocities(war crimes) in Greece & Italy -- he was convicted post-WW2 by Greek military court, for genocide(Holocaust of Kedros) & the murder of POW hostages.
  • George from Vancouver, CanadaI first heard this in the '70s on The Muppet Show
  • Bobby from Van Nuys, CaI remember seeing this group on the original Mickey Mouse Club during the mid 1950s. They performed several songs, including this one.
  • Zion from Hongkong, United StatesAlthough sung by children's choir, the song applies equally to all ages who are fond of on the move! As have been my profession (in the merchant navy), I've roamed about a greater part of the globe, north, south, west and east. It was really delightful in earning a living whilst travelling along, merrily!
    Now that just a question arises, which is, the nationality of the writer, Friedrich-Wilhelm Moller; which sounds more likely to be of Scandinavian origin than English! I would feel grateful if you'll tell me whether I'm right!!
    Zion C.N Wong
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