QUESTION: Which of the following songs was not performed at any time by Nora Bayes?
A) "The Argentines, The Portuguese, and The Greeks"
B) "Moustaches at Moonlight"
C) "Tomorrow I'll Be In My Dixie Home Again"
D) "The Japanese Sandman"
The American Treasure Tour is a repository for many great musical treats, from automatic music machines to vinyl record albums, player piano paper rolls to music boxes. One thing we rarely discuss here in our blog is the sheet music we have on display, so we are going to honor a very famous musician today, who recorded some of the best loved music of the World War I era.
The song "Freckles" dates to 1919 and was written by the team of Cliff Hess, Milton Ager, and Howard Johnson. It tells the story of a red-headed, freckle-faced boy named, of course, Freckles. He was a naughty boy who tended to wreak havoc on the people around him, but was held responsible for any mischief that happens around him, regardless of whether he was at fault or not. Poor, poor freckles:
Nora Bayes was a very famous performer in the early days of sound recording; however, "Freckles" was by no means the most famous song she ever sang. That would - arguably - be something she recorded in 1917 for her friend and admirer George M. Cohan called "Over There," dedicated to American soldiers going off to Europe to fight in World War I.
Born in 1880, the former Eleanora Sarah Goldberg started out in vaudeville (see the blog from the 13th) as a singer, comedienne, and actress with the name Nora Bayes. She became accomplished enough that Florenz Ziegfield hired her on for his Follies of 1908. What she lacked in musical prowess, she easily overwhelmed with a stage presence so impressive she became "the life of every production with which she is connected," as determined by critics of her day. She earned top dollar in her days as a performer, and was more successful in her career than in her private life. Married five times, she adopted three children prior to her death at the age of 47 from cancer.
ANSWER: B) "Moustaches at Moonlight." But that's a great title for a song, it could be a hit!