|Single by Lawrence Welk|
|B-side||"My Grandfather's Clock"|
|Writer(s)||Heino Gaze, Hans Bradtke|
|Lawrence Welk singles chronology|
"Calcutta" was written in 1958 with music by Heino Gaze and lyrics by Hans Bradtke. The original title was "Tivoli Melody", but it then re-titled several times, until it became known as "Calcutta". An instrumental recording of the tune by Lawrence Welk on the 1961 Dot Records album Calcutta! was a chart hit, the most successful of Welk's career, and the only polka song to hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.
The song, which has lyrics, was something of a departure for Welk with its combination of his recognizable "trademarks," i.e., the harpsichord lead, but backed with an accordion, handclaps and a brisk rock rhythm.
"Calcutta" would stay atop the US pop chart for two weeks while the album, with its combination of easy listening tunes and covers of then-popular rock singles, charted at #1 for three months. At the time that "Calcutta" reached #1, Welk, who was then 57, became the oldest artist to have a number one pop single in the U.S. (His record would be broken three years later by Louis Armstrong who, at 63, topped the singles charts with "Hello, Dolly!" in early 1964.)
Dancers Bobby Burgess and Barbara Boylan, cast members on Welk's weekly TV show, worked up a dance routine to go along with "Calcutta", which they would perform to the song numerous times on the Welk show.
A vocal cover version by the Four Preps briefly entered the Billboard Hot 100.
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