The Carnival Is Over

Album: The Very Best of the Seekers (1965)
Charted: 1
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Songfacts®:

  • Tom Springfield wrote this for the Seekers. He based the melody on the Russian folk song Stenka Razin (or Stenka Rasin). Stenka Razin was a Cossack rebel leader who led a major Cossack and peasant rebellion on Russia's southeastern frontier in 1670-71. He has been celebrated in a number of songs. Pete Seeger in 1953 sang an English-language version of Stenka Razin, which may have been the version known by Tom Springfield.
  • Judith Durham: "That was a great song that still lives today. It is a perennial favorite and it is sung at weddings. We were very, very blessed to have met Tom Springfield as he never compromised the integrity of the group and he never got us to do things that we didn't want to do." (quote from 1000 UK #1 Hits by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh)
  • This was the Seekers best selling single in the UK Selling 1,400,000It has become an Australian tradition for The Seekers to sing "The Carnival is Over" at the close of sporting events. Unfortunately they were unable to do so at the end of the closing ceremony for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, as Judith Durham had broken her hip and was not able to take part.
  • Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds covered this on their 1986 album Kicking Against The Pricks.
  • This song features the couplet "But the joys of love are fleeting/ For Pierrot and Columbine." Pierrot and Columbine were the names of two stock characters in the old Italian pantomime-like theatre known as del'arte Pierrot was a sad clown in love with the beautiful Columbine who breaks his heart by leaving him for Harlequin.

Comments: 4

  • Mike_white from Shropshire UkPete Seeger had no copyright: he was singing a translated version of a folk song !

    Tom Springfield (brother of Dusty) wrote the new words to an old tune, which he rearranged to suit the new words and format.
  • Baz from Manchester UkOne of the greatest songs of all time ... a Seekers anthem.
  • Peter Brady from AustralianBecause it is sung by secret russians
  • Jim from River Edge, NjI love this song, and I never understood why it never got any airplay in the U.S., considering that it came on the heels of their big hits "I'll Never Find Another You" and "World of Our Own," and was such a huge hit in the U.K. Did Pete Seeger sue for copyright infringement and block its release?
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