Thursday, November 6, 2014

Three Charting Versions of "Mammy Blue"

A year before before Danyel Gerard's European singalong favorite "Butterfly" cracked the Billboard charts (see previous post), another one called "Mamy Blue" had done the same thing with somewhat better US results. Written by a Frenchman named Hubert Giraud in a Paris traffic jam, the song saw its first release as an Italian language rendering by the singer Ivana Spagna. A Spanish group called Los Pop Tops, who'd taken a reimagination of Pachelbel's Canon called "Lord, Why Lord" to Billboard's #78 in 1968, gave Giraud's song English lyrics after which most of the world pretty much went bonkers for it. A scan of Billboard's "Hits of the World" section in 1971 and 1972 shows additional international high charting versions - using the alternating spellings of "Mamy Blue" and "Mammy Blue" - by Joel Dayde, Nicoletta, Roger Whittaker, Charisma, Ricky Shayne, Johnny Dorrelli, Nanesse et les Nanas, and Kirka, among others.

Although US chart positions for "Mamy Blue" were comparatively modest, the song did make its mark. The original English version, credited to the name-tweaked Pop-Tops and using the original spelling of "Mamy Blue," hit #57, while a follow up by "Moondoggie" James Darren, spelled "Mammy Blue," bubbled under at #107. The song had a surprise revival in 1973, when Stories chose it as the follow up to their #1 smash "Brother Louie" and gave it its best US showing at #50. After that, I know from personal experience that the song lived on in US-marketed TV ads for the UK's beloved Roger Whittaker.

Pop-Tops - "Mamy Blue" (Billboard #57, entered 10/9/71). Written by Hubert Giraud and Phil Trim. Arranged and conducted by Zack Laurence. 45: "Mamy Blue"/"Road to Freedom" (ABC/Dunhill 1971). LP: Mamy Blue (ABC/Dunhill 1971).

Lyricist Phil Trim is the group's lead vocalist.

James Darren - "Mammy Blue" (Billboard #107, entered 10/30/71). Written by Hubert Giraud and Phil Trim. Produced by Ritchie Adams. 45: "Mammy Blue"/"As Long as You Love Me" (Kirshner 1971). LP: Mammy Blue (Kirshner 1971).

Stories - "Mammy Blue" (Billboard #50, entered 10/27/73). Written by Hubert Giraud and Phil Trim. Produced by Kenny Kerner and Richie Wise. 45: "Mammy Blue"/"Traveling Underground" (Kama Sutra 1973). LP: Traveling Underground (Kama Sutra 1973).

Although the single was credited to Stories, the album it appeared on (Traveling Underground) was credited to Ian Lloyd and Stories. 


  1. Kim thx for turning me on to (or possibly reacquainting me with from the dark recesses) this Stories version of Mammy Blue

    Roger Whittaker version, on the other hand, was some deep queso..


  2. I remember that Roger Whittaker commercial being shown over and over in the late 70s but I didn't expect to find it on YouTube. It brought back all kinds of weird memories, like a time my sister and I made a parody of it on our tape recorder.