(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window?


(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window?
"(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window?"
Single by Patti Page
B-side "My Jealous Eyes"
Recorded December 18, 1952
Genre Novelty, traditional pop
Length 2:31
Label Mercury Records
Writer(s) Bob Merrill
Patti Page singles chronology
"Conquest"
(1952)
"(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window?"/"My Jealous Eyes"
(1953)
"Now That I'm in Love"
(1953)

"(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window?" is a popular novelty song written by Bob Merrill and Ingrid Reuterskiöld in 1952. The best-known version of the song was recorded by Patti Page on December 18, 1952 and released by Mercury Records as catalog number 70070, with the flip side being "My Jealous Eyes". It reached #1 on both the Billboard and Cash Box charts in 1953.[1] However, Mercury, the record label which distributed Patti Page's recordings at the time, had poor distribution in the United Kingdom. Therefore, a recording by Lita Roza was the one most widely heard in the UK, reaching #1 on the UK Singles Chart in 1953.[2] It also distinguished Roza as the first British woman to have a number one hit in the UK chart. It was also the first song to reach number 1 with a question in the title.[2]

Contents

Background

"Doggie" was one in a series of successful novelty songs since the 1930s, following on the success of songs such as Bing Crosby's "Pistol Packin' Mama" and Merv Griffin's "I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts". Prior to the release of "Doggie", composer Bob Merrill penned "If I Knew You Were Comin' I'd've Baked a Cake".[3]

Critical reception

On April 4, 1953, singer Patti Page's rendition of "(How Much Is That) Doggie in the Window" went to No. 1 in the US Billboard magazine chart, staying at the top spot for eight weeks.[3]

Following the top ten entrance of Lita Roza's cover version on 14 March 1953,[4] the Patti Page version of the song was released in the UK on the 28 March. However it was not as successful as the Roza version, only entering the chart at number nine before leaving the chart five weeks later,[5] whereas the Roza version went to number one.[4] This did however mean that for five weeks between 28 March and 25 April, there were two versions of "Doggie" in the UK top twelve singles chart.[4][5]

Legacy

Rock historian Michael Uslan has stated that songs similar to "Doggie" led to the "fervent embrace of rock & roll"[3] two years after its release. "A lot of songs at that time were extremely bland, squeaky-clean stuff. The music field was ripe for something new, something vibrant to shake the rafters."[3]

Bob Merrill's lyrics were reworked by Iza Trapani into the 2004 children's book How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?.[6]

The phrase "How much is that doggie in the window?" has become synonymous with the trade in puppies from pet shops, with links to trade from puppy mills.[7][8]

Patti Page later recorded a version of the song with a new title ("Do You See That Doggie in the Shelter") and new lyrics, with the hope of emphasizing homeless animals and animal shelters as opposed to pet stores (which are liable to obtain dogs mostly from puppy mills).[9]

Charts

Chart (1953) Peak
position
Australian Singles Chart[10] 1
Radio Luxembourg Sheet Music Chart[10] 1
UK Singles Chart 9
US Billboard Best Sellers in Stores[3] 1


Cover versions

  • Carole Carr with orchestra cond. by Frank Cordell with children's choir and "Rustler" recorded it in London on February 12, 1953. It was released by EMI on the His Master's Voice label as catalog number B 10436.
  • Børge Linz wrote the Danish lyrics. The Danish title was "Vovsen i vinduet". Raquel Rastenni with Radioens Danseorkester recorded it in Copenhagen in 1953. It was released on His Master's Voice X 8123.
  • A reggae version was recorded by Barbara Jones for Trojan Records. A parody version was recorded by Homer and Jethro called "How Much Is That Hound Dog in the Window?".
  • The Kidsongs sang this version on their video and DVD A Day with the Animals.
  • The French version, "Le Chien dans la vitrine", was sung by the popular French singer Line Renaud.

The song has also been covered by many groups and is available on many children songs CDs and is considered as children's music in many countries. It can also be found on many musical toys made since the late 1960s. For example, a Sankyo music box made in the 1970s played the song, as do many musical toys manufactured today.

Lita Roza

"(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window?"
Single by Lita Roza
B-side "Tell Me We'll Meet Again"
Genre Novelty, traditional pop
Length 2:21
Label Decca Records
Lita Roza singles chronology
"Oakie Boogie"
(1952)
"(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window?"
(1953)
"Seven Lonely Days"
(1953)

Background and composition

Roza was a singer with The Ted Heath jazz band during the 1950s.[11] During this period, she was voted Favourite Female Vocalist in a Melody Maker poll from 1951 through to 1955 and a similar poll in New Musical Express from 1952 to 1955.[12]

In 1951, she recorded "Allentown Jail" with the Heath Band, which lead to her A&R Dick Rowe asking her to sing "(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window?". Her initial response was negative, "I'm not recording that, it's rubbish",[12] she recalled that he pleaded with her, responding "It'll be a big hit, please do it, Lita."[12] She relented, saying she would record it but never sing it again afterwards.[12]

Reception

"Doggie" was a new entry in the UK charts on 14 March 1953 at number nine. It moved up to number three in its second and third week of release before dropping down to number four on 4 April. On 11 April it moved up to number two for a week, before becoming number one on 18 April.[4] This made Lita Roza both the first female vocalist to top the UK singles chart and the first person from Liverpool, long before the success of The Beatles or Cilla Black.[13] It held the top spot for one week, before gradually dropping down the top ten over the next five weeks, with its final week in the top ten being at number nine on 23 May.[4]

Charts
Chart (1953) Peak
position
Radio Luxembourg Sheet Music Chart[10] 1
UK Singles Chart[12] 1

Legacy

Lita Roza was widely reported to have strongly disliked her song. In an interview in 2004 she revealed that she had kept her promise to never perform the song, "I sang it once, just one take, and vowed I would never sing it again. When it reached number one, there was enormous pressure to perform it but I always refused. It just wasn't my style."[11] However, she would go on to be most widely remembered for that song.[12] In 2001, Roza opened Liverpool's Wall of Hits on Matthew Street, home of The Cavern Club. On display were various discs from every British number-one from Merseyside, the first being her own.[13]

The song returned to the spotlight briefly during the 1980s when during an interview with Smash Hits magazine, serving Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Margaret Thatcher admitted that Lita Roza's version of "Doggie" was her favourite song of all time.[14]

Following her death in August 2008, she left £300,000 in her will to charities, of which £190,000 went to the dog related charities; Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, Guide Dogs for the Blind and The Cinnamon Trust.[11]

See also

References

  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1973). Top Pop Records 1940-1955. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research. 
  2. ^ a b Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 9. ISBN 0-85112-250-7. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Cagle, Jess (29 March 1991). "That Doggie in the Window". Entertainment Weekly. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,313745,00.html. Retrieved 29 October 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "(How Much Is That) Doggie In The Window?". ChartStats.com. http://www.chartstats.com/songinfo.php?id=1388. Retrieved 30 October 2010. 
  5. ^ a b "(How Much Is That) Doggie In The Window?". ChartStats.com. http://www.chartstats.com/songinfo.php?id=1396. Retrieved 30 October 2010. 
  6. ^ Trapani, Iza (2004). How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?. Charlesbridge Publishing. ISBN 978-1-58089-030-4. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=_2CGv-59gRcC&printsec=frontcover&dq=%22That+Doggie+in+the+Window%22+-lyrics&source=bl&ots=guG53eDOuQ&sig=9RwGmGoyBap98xISDJ1hJzHtTps&hl=en&ei=feHLTLysG-OL4gaqu6HcDA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=7&ved=0CDMQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q&f=false. 
  7. ^ "How much is that doggie in the window?". The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. http://www.spca.bc.ca/news-and-events/news/how-much-is-that-doggie-in.html. Retrieved 30 October 2010. 
  8. ^ McGowan, Katherine. "How Much is that Doggie in the Window Suffering?". The Humane Society of the United States. http://www.animalsheltering.org/resource_library/magazine_articles/sep_oct_2006/how_much_is_that_doggie_in_the_window_suffering.html. Retrieved 30 October 2010. 
  9. ^ "Old Song Carries New Tune". Humane Society of the United States. 2009-10-30. http://www.humanesociety.org/news/profile/2009/10/old_song_new_tune_103009.html. Retrieved 2011-04-26. 
  10. ^ a b c "Songs from the Year 1953". tsort.info. http://tsort.info/music/yr1953.htm. Retrieved 30 October 2010. 
  11. ^ a b c "Lita Roza: How Much Is That Doggie In The Window? singer leaves £190,000 to animal charities". The Times. 9 March 2009. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/celebritynews/4961289/Lita-Roza-How-Much-Is-That-Doggie-In-The-Window-singer-leaves-190000-to-animal-charities.html. Retrieved 30 October 2010. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f Leigh, Spencer (15 August 2008). "Lita Roza: Sultry interpreter of romantic ballads nevertheless best known for 'How Much is That Doggie in the Window?'". The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/lita-roza-sultry-interpreter-of-romantic-ballads-nevertheless-best-known-for-how-much-is-that-doggie-in-the-window-897505.html. Retrieved 30 October 2010. 
  13. ^ a b "Lita Roza: Singer of 1953 hit 'How Much Is That Doggie In the Window?'". The Scotsman. 20 August 2008. http://news.scotsman.com/obituaries/Lita-Roza-Singer-of-1953.4406469.jp. Retrieved 30 October 2010. 
  14. ^ Petridis, Alexis (5 October 2004). "Conservative tastes". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2004/oct/05/popandrock.conservatives2004. Retrieved 30 October 2010. 

External links


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