::Billy Vaughn - Swinging Safari::
I was born the year Elvis hit the big time, but I wasn't much into
rock & roll 'till I saw The Beatles on Ed Sullivan when I was about 7.
Before that I was mostly into instrumental pop music. I guess the
stuff that passed for rock & roll in the early '60s just seemed cheesy
to me, probably because my older sister liked it. So I went for stuff
like the Baby Elephant Walk and the theme to Bonanza instead.
Swingin' Safari is one of my earliest records I still own. I don't
remember where or exactly when I got it, but I probably talked my Mom
into buying it for me at Sears or someplace like that. I played it to
death on my record-player-made-for-a-five-year-old, as you can hear.
Now, mind you, I wasn't a total freak. I liked kiddie records too. But
my Dad was a record collector, so naturally I liked a lot of the stuff
he liked, which was mostly swing era stuff from the '30s and '40s.
Billy Vaughn was the musical director, or A&R guy for Dot Records back
in the '50s and '60s. He was good at taking a cheesy, uncouth rock &
roll song written by some savage like Little Richard, and turning it
into something a decent, God fearing, white, American family could
allow into their home (as sung by Pat Boone). He also made
instrumental, easy listening records on his own. Swingin' Safari was
written by another monster of instrumental pop, German sensation Bert
Kaempfert. About the same time this single was released, Kaempfert was
busy recording The Beatles with singer Tony Sheridan in Hamburg. Their
recording of "My Bonnie" was brought to the attention of Liverpool
record store owner Brian Epstein, which of course started a chain of
events that eventually caused me to stop listening to stuff like
Some of you oldsters might say, "hey, I know this song!". And you
probably darn well do too, for it was the original theme for The Match
Game. Pretty swingin', eh?