Providing Disco & Karaoke Since 19770113 266 8963 0113 266 8963


Posted by: In: Other 11 May 2022 Comments: 0


321-Glenn Miller and His Orchestra with Tex Beneke and The Four Modernaires-Chattanooga Choo Choo.

1941-Has never charted in the UK. There was no UK chart until 1952.

Best Bit-At 2.51. This was the first song ever to be presented with a Gold Disc for sales in excess of 1 million copies.

‘Chattanooga Choo Choo’ was co-written by the legendary song writing duo of Mack Gordon (1904-1959) (see also best songs 877 and 775) who wrote the lyrics, and Harry Warren (1893-1981) (see also best songs 877-775 and 396) who composed the music. Gordon and Warren were commissioned to write some of the music for the 1941 musical film ‘Sun Valley Serenade,’ which was in some part made to showcase the talents of the Glenn Miller Orchestra (see also best songs 808 and 146.) The near eight minute scene (I have posted the video) of the Glenn Miller Orchestra, along with the vocals provided by Paula Kelly, (1919-1992) Tex Beneke, (1914-2000) and also the singing and dancing by Dorothy Dandridge, (1922-1965) and ‘The Nicholas Brothers,’ Fayard (1914-2006) and Harold, (1921-2000) is the films most celebrated and memorable scene. The studio recording of ‘Chatanooga Choo Choo’ at 3 minutes and 26 seconds was also recorded by the Glenn Miller Orchestra with Ted Beneke and The Four Modernaires, with their female singer Paula Kelly providing the female vocals. The studio version was recorded on May 7th, 1941, and originally released as the ‘B’ side to ‘I Know Why (And So Do You’) It went on to reach Number 1 in America on December 7th, 1941, and would stay at the top for nine consecutive weeks.

Mack Gordon was born Moses Gittler on June 21st, 1904, in Grodno, Congress Poland, which was then part of the Russian Empire, he died in 1959 at the age of 54. He emigrated with his mother and older brother to New York City in 1907, to join up with his father who had settled in America earlier. During Gordon’s career as a lyricist he worked with several other composers, but notably with Harry Warren with whom he wrote this song. Gordon’s songs have been used in over 100 films, with him specifically writing for over half of those, in total he wrote over 120 songs. Other notable songs he wrote the lyrics for include ‘At Last,’ which became the signature song for Etta James (1938-2012,) and ‘You Make Me Feel So Young’ which was recorded by Frank Sinatra in 1956.

Mack Gordon and Harry Warren had got their inspiration for writing the song while travelling on the ‘Southern Railway’s Birmingham Special’ train, this was one of three trains operating from New York City via Chattanooga. ‘The Birmingham Choo Choo’ didn’t sit well with Gordon’s lyrics so he chose the name of another train,’The Chattanooga,’ which was a wood burning steam locomotive owned by the ‘Cincinnati Southern Railway,’ that travelled from Cincinnati to Chattanooga, it was a newspaper reporter who first dubbed it the ‘Chattanooga Choo Choo.’

‘Chattanooga Choo Choo’ tells of the delights of travelling on that train, and because it is such an enjoyable journey, the day flies by as he spends time in the diner. The narrator also tells us that the purpose for his train ride is so he can meet up with his sweetheart who he hasn’t seen for a while, where he will promise her that he will never leave her side again.

‘There’s gonna be a certain party at the station, satin and lace I used to call funny face. She’s gonna cry until I tell her that I’ll never roam, so Chattanooga Choo Choo won’t you choo choo me home.’