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.
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