Mr. Sandman

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"Mr. Sandman"
Mr Sandman (Chordettes) .jpg
Mr. Sandman record by The Chordettes
Single by The Chordettes
B-side"I Don't Wanna See You Cryin'"
Released1954
FormatVinyl, 7", 45 RPM
Shellac, 10", 78 RPM
Recorded1954
Genre
Length2:22
LabelCadence
Songwriter(s)Pat Ballard
Producer(s)Archie Bleyer
The Chordettes singles chronology
"Moonlight on the Ganges"
(1951)
"Mr. Sandman"
(1954)
"Lonely Lips"
(1955)

"Mr. Sandman" (sometimes rendered as "Mister Sandman") is a popular song written by Pat Ballard which was published in 1954 and first recorded in May of that year by Vaughn Monroe & His Orchestra and later that same year by The Chordettes and The Four Aces. The song's lyrics convey a request to "Mr. Sandman" to "bring me a dream" – the traditional association with the folkloric figure, the sandman. The pronoun used to refer to the desired dream is often changed depending on the sex of the singer or group performing the song, as the original sheet music publication, which includes male and female versions of the lyrics, intended.[1] The chord progression in each chorus follows the circle of fifths for six chords in a row. Emmylou Harris' recording of the song was a hit in multiple countries in 1981.

Background[edit]

Vaughn Monroe with Orchestra was the first to record the song in 1954.[2] It was released as the B-side of "They Were Doin' the Mambo",[2][3] on RCA Victor label as catalog number 20-5767 / 47-5767.[4]

In December 1954, the song reached No. 1 on the Cash Box Top 50, in a tandem ranking of the versions by the Chordettes, the Four Aces, Buddy Morrow, Vaughn Monroe, Les Elgart, the Lancers, and the Song Singers, with the Chordettes and the Four Aces' versions marked as bestsellers.[4] It also reached No. 1 on Cash Box's chart of "The Nation's Top Ten Juke Box Tunes", in the same tandem ranking,[5] and No. 1 on Cash Box's chart of "The Ten Records Disk Jockeys Played Most This Week", with only the Chordettes version listed initially,[6] but later in a tandem ranking of the Chordettes and the Four Aces' versions.[7]

The song also reached No. 1 on Billboard's "Honor Roll of Hits", with the Chordettes and the Four Aces' versions listed as best sellers,[8] and was ranked No. 12 on Billboard's ranking of "1955's Top Tunes" based on the Honor Roll of Hits.[9]

The Chordettes version[edit]

The Chordettes' recording of the song was released on the Cadence Records label. Cadence's founder, Archie Bleyer, was the orchestra conductor on the recording and provided a rhythmic beat on the recording, using his knees.[2][10] Bleyer's voice is heard in the third verse, when he says the word "Yes?" The piano is played by Moe Wechsler. Liberace's name is mentioned for his "wavy hair",[11] and a glissando (a flourish common in his music) immediately follows. Pagliacci is mentioned for having a lonely heart,[11] which is a reference to the opera Pagliacci by Ruggero Leoncavallo.

In the United States, the Chordettes' single reached No. 1 on all three of Billboard's popular music charts,[12] and was ranked No. 9 in Cash Box's ranking of "1955's Top Pop Records as Voted in the Cash Box Poll".[13]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1954-1955) Peak
position
UK New Musical Express[14] 11
US Billboard Best Sellers in Stores[12] 1
US Billboard Most Played by Jockeys[12] 1
US Billboard Most Played in Juke Boxes[12] 1

The Four Aces version[edit]

"Mister Sandman"
Mister Sandman by The Four Aces featuring Al Alberts US vinyl.png
U.S. vinyl single of The Four Aces recording
Single by The Four Aces featuring Al Alberts
B-side"(I'll Be with You) In Apple Blossom Time"
Released1954
FormatVinyl, 7", 45 RPM
Shellac, 10", 78 RPM
GenreTraditional pop
Length2:35
LabelDecca
Songwriter(s)Pat Ballard

In 1954, The Four Aces released a version of the song, backed by the Jack Pleis Orchestra.[15] The Four Aces' version was a top-ten hit in the United States, United Kingdom, and Flanders. The Four Aces' version was notably featured in the movie Back to the Future, when Marty first realizes he is in 1955.[16][11]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1954-1955) Peak
position
Flanders[17] 2
UK New Musical Express[18] 9
US Billboard Best Sellers in Stores[12] 9
US Billboard Most Played by Jockeys[19] 5
US Billboard Most Played in Juke Boxes[20] 6

Chet Atkins version[edit]

On November 17, 1954, Chet Atkins recorded an instrumental version during a four-song recording session at RCA Victor's Nashville recording studio.[21] Atkins used the Ray Butts EchoSonic guitar amp on this recording, and was backed by celesta, piano, bass, and drums.[21] Atkins' version was released as a single in January 1955.[21] It was Atkins' first single to chart on Billboard's country charts,[22] and reached No. 15 on Billboard's Country & Western Records chart of "Best Sellers in Stores" and No. 13 on Billboard's Country & Western Records chart of "Most Played by Jockeys".[23]

Atkins re-recorded "Mister Sandman" for his 1990 album The Magic of Chet Atkins.[21]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Bert Kaempfert version[edit]

In 1968, Bert Kaempfert and His Orchestra released an instrumental version as a single and on the album My Way of Life.[24] It reached No. 12 on Billboard's Easy Listening chart,[25][26] No. 14 on Record World's "Top Non-Rock" chart,[27] No. 3 on Record World's chart of "Singles Coming Up",[28] and No. 1 on Cash Box's "Looking Ahead" chart of singles with potential of entering the Cash Box Top 100.[29]

Emmylou Harris version[edit]

"Mister Sandman"
Mister Sandman Emmylou Harris.jpg
Artwork for German and Austrian vinyl releases
Single by Emmylou Harris
from the album Profile II: The Best of Emmylou Harris
B-side"Rose of Cimarron"
Released1981
Recorded1980
GenreCountry pop
Length2:20
LabelWarner Bros.
Songwriter(s)Pat Ballard
Producer(s)Brian Ahern
Emmylou Harris singles chronology
"The Boxer"
(1980)
"Mister Sandman"
(1981)
"I Don't Have to Crawl"
(1981)

In January 1978,[30] Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, and Linda Ronstadt recorded a version of the song for a planned trio album which was ultimately scrapped. (The three would eventually reunite and release the first of two Trio albums nearly a decade later in 1987). Harris included the trio recording of "Mr. Sandman" the song on her 1981 album Evangeline,[30] though with the stipulation that it not be released as a single (given that Parton and Ronstadt both were affiliated with other record labels). However, when Harris later changed her mind and wanted to put the song out as a single, she rerecorded it, singing all three parts herself,[11] and releasing it in 1981, under the title "Mister Sandman". The single reached number 10 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart, and number 37 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it Harris' only single to reach the top 40 on that chart.

Harris's single version did not appear on an album until the 1984 compilation Profile II: The Best of Emmylou Harris.

Credits and personnel[edit]

Evangeline version

Charts[edit]

Chart (1981) Peak
position
Austria (Ö3 Hit wähl mit)[31] 15
Canada RPM 50 Singles[32] 42
Canada RPM Country 50 Singles[33] 1
Flanders[34] 8
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[35] 8
Netherlands (Nationale Hitparade)[36] 9
New Zealand Singles Chart[37] 16
Swiss Hitparade[38] 5
US Billboard Hot 100[39] 37
US Billboard Adult Contemporary[40] 8
US Billboard Hot Country Singles[41][42] 10
US Cash Box Top 100 Singles[43] 37
US Cash Box Top 100 Country[44] 9
US Record World Singles[45] 40
US Record World A/C Chart[46] 12
US Record World Country Singles[47] 9
West Germany (Media Control)[31] 14

Other versions[edit]

Buddy Morrow and His Orchestra released a version in 1954, which reached No. 20 on Billboard's chart of "Most Played by Jockeys".[48]

In January 1955, a version by Max Bygraves reached No. 16 on the UK's New Musical Express chart.[49]

The most successful recording of the song in the UK was by Dickie Valentine, which peaked at No. 5 on the New Musical Express chart in February 1955.[50]

The Fleetwoods released a version in 1964, as a single and on the album Before and After.[51] Their version reached No. 113 on Billboard's Bubbling Under the Hot 100 chart[52] and No. 19 on Cash Box's "Looking Ahead" chart of singles with potential of entering the Cash Box Top 100.[53]

Tommy O'Day released a version in 1978, which reached No. 96 on Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart.[54][55]

In 1996, German power metal band Blind Guardian released a CD maxi single with a cover version of "Mr. Sandman."[56]

Bette Midler recorded the song for her 2014 album It's the Girls!.[57]

Children's adaptations[edit]

Some time later, Ballard also rewrote the lyrics for Christmas use as "Mr. Santa".[58] Singer Dorothy Collins released "Mr. Santa" in 1955,[59] which reached No. 51 in Music Vendor. The "Mr. Santa" version has also been recorded by Shari Lewis (on the 1965 Musicor single MU 1140), Lenny Dee, Amy Grant, and Suzy Bogguss, among others.

A modified version for children was recorded on Golden Records by Anne Lloyd in 1955 (with "the Sandpipers and Orchestra", referring to the group also known as the "Golden Sandpipers"). The revised lyrics included "... bring me a dream/ And wrap it up in a pretty moonbeam/ I'd love to dream that I really can do/ The things that Santa Claus and Peter Pan do" and "...bring me a dream / Bring me a dream that's sweeter than peaches and cream./ Give me a pumpkin (punkin) coach like poor Cinderella/ A pretty satin dress all green and yellow (yella)".

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ballard, Pat (1954). "Mister Sandman" [sheet music], Edwin H. Morris & Company, Inc., 35 West 51st St., New York, NY.
  2. ^ a b c Sullivan, Steve (2017). Encyclopedia of Great Popular Song Recordings, Volume 3, Rowman & Littlefield. p. 261. Retrieved May 6, 2018.
  3. ^ "Reviews of New Pop Records", Billboard, June 19, 1954. p. 38. Retrieved May 6, 2018.
  4. ^ a b "The Cash Box Top 50", Cash Box, December 11, 1954. p. 26. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  5. ^ "The Nation's Top Ten Juke Box Tunes", Cash Box, December 25, 1954. p. 4. Retrieved May 3, 2018.
  6. ^ "The Ten Records Disk Jockeys Played Most This Week", Cash Box, December 4, 1954. p. 14. Retrieved May 3, 2018.
  7. ^ "The Ten Records Disk Jockeys Played Most This Week", Cash Box, December 25, 1954. p. 12. Retrieved May 3, 2018.
  8. ^ "Honor Roll of Hits", Billboard, December 4, 1954. p. 34. Retrieved May 7, 2018.
  9. ^ "1955's Top Tunes based on the Honor Roll of Hits", Billboard, December 31, 1955. p. 29. Retrieved May 7, 2018.
  10. ^ "Reviews of New Pop Records", Billboard, October 2, 1954. p. 39. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
  11. ^ a b c d Leszczak, Bob (2014). Who Did It First?: Great Pop Cover Songs and Their Original Artists, Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 134-135. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  12. ^ a b c d e "The Billboard Music Popularity Charts - Popular Records", Billboard, December 18, 1954. p. 26. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  13. ^ "1955's Top Pop Records as Voted in the Cash Box Poll", Cash Box, December 24, 1955. p. 16. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  14. ^ Chordettes - Full Official Chart History, Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  15. ^ Recordings by 'The Four Aces (Jack Pleis Orch)'
  16. ^ Krims, Adam (2012). Music and Urban Geography, Routledge. p. 103. Retrieved May 10, 2018.
  17. ^ The Four Aces – Mister Sandman, Ultratop. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  18. ^ Four Aces - Full Official Chart History, Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  19. ^ "The Billboard Music Popularity Charts - Popular Records", Billboard, January 1, 1955. p. 20. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  20. ^ "The Billboard Music Popularity Charts - Popular Records", Billboard, January 22, 1955. p. 30. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Reinhart, Mark S. (2014). Chet Atkins: The Greatest Songs of Mister Guitar, McFarland & Company. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  22. ^ Jessen, Wade. "Chet Atkins Remembered as a 'Country Gentleman'", Billboard, July 14, 2001. p. 104. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
  23. ^ "The Billboard Music Popularity Charts - Country & Western Records", Billboard, February 5, 1955. p. 42. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  24. ^ "Billboard Album Reviews", Billboard, October 12, 1968. Retrieved May 10, 2018.
  25. ^ Adult Contemporary - Bert Kaempfert and His Orchestra Mister Sandman Chart History, Billboard.com. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  26. ^ "Easy Listening", Billboard, July 27, 1968. p. 39. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  27. ^ "Record World's Top Non-Rock", Record World, July 6, 1968. p. 24. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  28. ^ "Singles Coming Up", Record World, June 22, 1968. p. 22. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  29. ^ "Looking Ahead", Cash Box, June 22, 1968. p. 12. Retrieved May 3, 2018.
  30. ^ a b Holland, Bill. "'Supertrio' Cutting for Autumn Release", Billboard, March 8, 1986. p. 56. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  31. ^ a b Emmylou Harris – Mister Sandman, austriancharts.at. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
  32. ^ "RPM 50 Singles", RPM Weekly, Volume 34, No. 21. May 02, 1981. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
  33. ^ "RPM Country 50 Singles", RPM Weekly, Volume 34, No. 23. May 16, 1981. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
  34. ^ Emmylou Harris – Mister Sandman, Ultratop. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
  35. ^ Emmylou Harris – Mister Sandman, Media Markt Top 40. Retrieved May 3, 2018.
  36. ^ Emmylou Harris – Mister Sandman, Dutch Charts. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
  37. ^ Emmylou Harris – Mister Sandman, charts.org.nz. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
  38. ^ Emmylou Harris – Mister Sandman, hitparade.ch. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
  39. ^ Hot 100 - Emmylou Harris Mister Sandman Chart History, Billboard.com. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
  40. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1993). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–1993. Record Research. p. 106.
  41. ^ Hot Country Songs - Emmylou Harris Mister Sandman Chart History, Billboard.com. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
  42. ^ "Billboard Hot Country Singles", Billboard, May 2, 1981. p. 62. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
  43. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 Singles", Cash Box, April 18, 1981. p. 4. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
  44. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 Country", Cash Box, May 9, 1981. p. 28. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
  45. ^ "Record World Singles", Record World, April 25, 1981. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
  46. ^ "Record World A/C Chart", Record World, April 11, 1981. p. 30. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
  47. ^ "Record World Country Singles", Record World, May 2, 1981. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
  48. ^ "The Billboard Music Popularity Charts - Popular Records", Billboard, December 4, 1954. p. 36. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  49. ^ Max Bygraves - Full Official Chart History, Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  50. ^ Dickie Valentine - Full Official Chart History, Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  51. ^ The Fleetwoods - Mr. Sandman, norwegiancharts.com. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
  52. ^ "Bubbling Under the Hot 100", Billboard, September 5, 1964. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  53. ^ "Looking Ahead", Cash Box, September 5, 1964. p. 10. Retrieved May 3, 2018.
  54. ^ Hot Country Songs - Tommy O'Day Mr. Sandman Chart History, Billboard.com. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  55. ^ "Hot Country Singles", Billboard, February 4, 1978. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  56. ^ "Review of Blind Guardian version on Encyclopaedia Metallum". Retrieved 2012-12-16.
  57. ^ "It's the Girls! – Bette Midler". AllMusic. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
  58. ^ Published Music: Jan-Jun., Catalog of Copyright Entries: Third series. 1954. p. 16. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  59. ^ "Reviews of New Pop-Christmas Records", Billboard, November 26, 1955. p. 44. Retrieved May 14, 2018.

External links[edit]