Music My Mother Played: The Old Lamp-Lighter

Music my mother played The Lamp-LighterIn 1946 the songwriting team of Charles Tobias and Nat Simon captured  the hearts, and ears, of a post-war audience with their tune, The Old Lamp-Lighter.  Band leader Sammy Kaye recorded the song, featuring vocals by Billy Williams, and the haunting melody hit the Billboard Best Sellers List by November.  The Old Lamp-Lighter stayed on the charts for fourteen weeks, peaking at #1.  Among Sammy and His Orchestra‘s many fans was fourteen year old Marilyn Minor, a young pianist and talented vocalist living in rural Greene County, Pennsylvania.  Every Friday she traveled into nearby Waynesburg, to stay overnight with her Grandmother May Minor for her Saturday piano lesson.  I imagine this young teen sitting at the bench, determined to parse out the arrangement’s rhythm of dotted eighth and sixteenth notes.  And I wonder if her father, Donald, sang along, “He made the night a little brighter wherever he would go…”

2 thoughts on “Music My Mother Played: The Old Lamp-Lighter

  1. Really enjoy reading about all my relatives and seeing their lives through your eyes. My uncle, Ivan Vannoy had an orchestra who would play on KDKA in Pittsburgh on Sunday nights. My father, Paul, his brother, would sing with the orchestra. My mother lived in the Logan, WV area and would listen to them on the radio on Sunday evenings not really knowing who they were until my parents meet in Logan when my father went to work there after graduation from WVU.

    • Hi, Karen! I am so happy you enjoyed family information that I have! And what a wonderful story about the Vannoy boys and their music! What was the name of Ivan’s orchestra? What years did they play?
      Thanks for stopping by!

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