Listen to the Mocking Bird
"Listen to the Mocking Bird" (1855) is an American popular song of the mid-19th century. Its lyrics were composed by Septimus Winner under the pseudonym "Alice Hawthorne", and its music was by Richard Milburn.
It relates the story of a singer dreaming of his sweetheart, now dead and buried, and a mockingbird, whose song the couple once enjoyed, now singing over her grave. Yet the melody is moderately lively.
"Listen to the Mocking Bird" was one of the most popular ballads of the era and sold more than twenty million copies of sheet music. It was popular during the American Civil War and was used as marching music. Abraham Lincoln was especially fond of it, saying, "It is as sincere as the laughter of a little girl at play."
Its verse was the instrumental introduction to a number of the early short films by The Three Stooges, rendered in a comical manner with birds chirping in the background. The first Stooges short to employ this theme was 1935's Pardon My Scotch; in later shorts the song was replaced with "Three Blind Mice."
"Listen to the Mocking Bird" was parodied in the television series, The Flintstones, as a swinging jazz tune called "Listen to the Rocking Bird".
In the movie The Alamo (2004), Davy Crockett plays "Listen to the Mocking Bird" on his fiddle to a crowd, although the song was not composed until 1855, 19 years after the Battle of the Alamo where Crockett died.
- "Listen to the Mocking Bird" on the Library of Congress National Jukebox site
- 1856 Sheet Music
- A truncated clip of the Three Stooges theme
- Sheet Music for "Listen to the Mocking Bird", 1856.
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