The Happy Wanderer
- "Happy Wanderer" redirects here. For other uses, see Hardenbergia violacea. For the episode of The Sopranos, see The Happy Wanderer (The Sopranos episode)
"The Happy Wanderer" ("Der fröhliche Wanderer" or "Mein Vater war ein Wandersmann") is a popular song by Friedrich-Wilhelm Möller written shortly after World War II. It is often mistaken for a German folk song, but it is actually an original composition. His sister Edith Möller conducted a small amateur children's and youth choir in Schaumburg County, Northern Germany, internationally named Obernkirchen Children's Choir, in Germany named Schaumburger Märchensänger
In 1953 a BBC radio broadcast of the choir's winning performance at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod turned the song into an instant hit. On January 22, 1954, the song entered the UK singles chart and stayed on the chart - only a Top 12 at the time - for 26 non-consecutive weeks. With the BBC's strong international influence "The Happy Wanderer" turned up everywhere, e.g. as the winning song of the 1955 calypso road-march season of the Trinidad Carnival. People protested after this event and complained that only calypsoes should be chosen over foreign music.
The amateur choir, many of whose original members were war orphans, turned into an unlikely international phenomenon in the following years. The group performed on many international tours under the name Obernkirchen Children's Choir. They made two appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show (November 29, 1964, and December 11, 1966).
Die Isarspatzen, Herbert Beckh und das Tanzorkester des Bayerischer Rundfunks have also recorded a German version. That version was made in Munich on June 16, 1954. It was released by Electrola Records as catalog number EG 8073.
The song's German lyrics were written by Edith Möller and Florenz Siegesmund and have been translated into several languages, and it has since become a choir classic. The English lyrics were written by Antonia Ridge. Milton DeLugg wrote a noted arrangement, and is sometimes incorrectly credited as the composer of the song.
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