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Minnie the Moocher Minnie the Moocher
by The Ovi Team
2017-03-03 09:16:56
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mucho1_4003rd March, 1931; Cab Calloway makes music history when he records “Minnie the Moocher.” This is the first jazz album to sell one million copies and it continues to be a popular album today.

"Minnie the Moocher" is a jazz song first recorded in 1931 by Cab Calloway and His Orchestra, selling over 1 million copies. "Minnie the Moocher" is most famous for its nonsensical ad libbed ("scat") lyrics (for example, "Hi De Hi De Hi De Hi"). In performances, Calloway would have the audience participate by repeating each scat phrase in a form of call and response, eventually Calloway's phrases would become so long and complex that the audience would laugh at their own failed attempts to repeat them. "Minnie the Moocher" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.

The song is based both musically and lyrically on Frankie "Half-Pint" Jaxon's 1927 "Willie the Weeper" (Bette Davis sings this version in The Cabin in the Cotton). The lyrics are heavily laden with drug references. "Smoky" is described as "cokey" meaning a user of cocaine; the phrase "kicking the gong around" was a slang reference to smoking opium. It was followed two years later by Lonnie Johnson's "Winnie the Wailer".

In 1932, Calloway recorded the song for a Fleischer Studios Talkartoon short cartoon, also called Minnie the Moocher, starring Betty Boop and Bimbo. Calloway and his band provide most of the short's score, and appear in the short themselves in a live-action introduction. The thirty-second live-action segment is the earliest-known film footage of Calloway.

Minnie herself is mentioned in a number of other Cab Calloway songs, including "Minnie the Moocher's Wedding Day", "Ghost of muchoSmoky Joe", "Kickin' the Gong Around", "Minnie's a Hepcat Now", "Mister Paganini - Swing for Minnie", "We Go Well Together", and "Zah Zuh Zaz". Some of these songs indicate that Minnie's boyfriend Smoky was named Smoky Joe as well. In A Night at the Opera, Groucho Marx famously quipped, "You're willing to pay him a thousand dollars a night just for singing? Why, you can get a phonograph record of Minnie the Moocher for 75 cents. And for a buck and a quarter, you can get Minnie."

In the cartoon, Betty decides to run away from her harsh parents (to the tune of "Mean to Me"), and Bimbo comes with her. While walking away from home, Betty and Bimbo wind up in a spooky area, and hide in a hollow tree. A ghost walrus—whose gyrations were rotoscoped from footage of Calloway dancing—appears to them, and begins to sing "Minnie the Moocher", with many fellow ghosts following along. After singing the whole number, the ghosts chase Betty and Bimbo all the way back to Betty's home. While Betty is hiding under the covers of her bed sheets, her runaway note is torn up and the remaining letters read "Home Sweet Home". Calloway performed the song in the 1955 movie Rhythm and Blues Revue, filmed at the Apollo Theatre. Much later, in 1980 at age 73, Calloway performed the song in the movie The Blues Brothers.


    
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Leah Sellers2013-03-03 22:45:51
Hi-dee-ho ! And Tweedle-ee-dee ! Come on Minnie and fling-and-swing with movin'-and'a-groovin' Mickey !


Nikos Laios2016-03-04 01:43:02
What a wonderful era to have lived in! love the music and sensibility of that time, and my 'golden age thinking' wish would be to travel back to the late 20's early 30's..the era of Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Eliot, Picasso, Stein...


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