Chattanooga Choo Choo

(music by Harry Warren; lyrics by Mack Gordon)

Original version(s)

 

FZ album(s) in which song has appeared

 

Tour(s) on which song is known to have been performed (main source: FZShows, v. 7.1)

 

Comments

Marc De Bruyn (emdebe@village.uunet.be), September 5, 2003

"Chattanooga Choo Choo", composed by Mack Gordon (born Morris Gittler, 1904-1959, words) and Harry Warren (born Salvatore Guaragna, 1893-1981, music), was the first Gold Record for Glenn Miller (1904-1944) in 1941 (from the movie "Sun Valley Serenade"), American jazz musician (trombonist) and band leader in the swing era, one of the most celebrated bandleaders of the 20th Century (one of his most famous pieces was "In the Mood", probably the most well-known recording of the style—his other popular hits included "Pennsylvania 6-5000", "String of Pearls", and "Moonlight Serenade").

Chattanooga is a town along the Tennessee River, the place were one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War took place. The name "Chattanooga" comes from the Creek Indian word for "rock coming to a point"; this refers to Lookout Mountain which begins in Chattanooga and stretches 88 miles through Alabama and Georgia. The First Congregationalist Church of Chattanooga became the first church in the South to welcome both black and white members (1867). America's first national military park (Chickamauga-Chattanooga National) was established in Chattanooga (1890). The city became the first major southern city to have African-American Police Officers (1948). Due to large iron manufacturing industry, Chattanooga became known as the "Pittsburgh of the South". Bessie Smith, Empress of the Blues, was born (1894) in Chattanooga. The famous Chattanooga Choo Choo Terminal Station was built in 1908; a newspaper reporter dubbed the huffing and puffing little steam locomotive the Chattanooga Choo Choo (although the Chattanooga's Terminal Station was significant in its role of the train era with its "Track 29", little was known about the first Chattanooga Choo Choo).

"Pardon me, boy / Is that the Chattanooga choo choo? / Track twenty-nine / Boy, you can gimme a shine / I can afford / To board a Chattanooga choo choo / I've got my fare / And just a trifle to spare / You leave the Pennsylvania Station 'bout a quarter to four / Read a magazine and then you're in Baltimore / Dinner in the diner / Nothing could be finer / Than to have your ham an' eggs in Carolina / When you hear the whistle blowin' eight to the bar / Then you know that Tennessee is not very far / Shovel all the coal in / Gotta keep it rollin' / Woo, woo, Chattanooga there you are / 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? / Chattanooga choo choo / Won't you choo-choo me home?"

Note: Baltimore is mentioned in the lyrics.

Recorded by many artists: The Andrews Sisters, Bill Haley, Cab Calloway, Carmen Miranda, Oscar Peterson, Ray Anthony, Ray Charles, Shadows, Syd Lawrence, Tyrone Power, Floyd Cramer...

With over 120 hits, Mack Gordon was one of the most successful screen lyricists; together with Josef Myrow (1910-1987), he wrote "You Make Me Feel So Young" for the movie "Three Little Girls In Blue" (1946)—the song was made famous by Frank Sinatra (1957, "Songs For Swingin' Lovers"). Harry Warren also wrote hundreds of popular songs and show tunes, including three for which he received Oscars: "Lullaby of Broadway", "On the Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe", and "You'll Never Know", which was also his biggest seller in sheet music. Other well-known tunes penned by Warren include "I Only Have Eyes for You" (1934), "That's Amore", and many more.

 

 

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