Ether Game

Arlen and Harburg: Lydia, The Tattooed Lady

Can you guess this piece? Here’s a hint: a picture that looks back…

First appearing in the 1939 Marx Bros. film “At the Circus,” “Lydia the Tattooed Lady” was not credited to Arlen and Harburg in the film’s credits. This and the song’s bizarrely comical lyrics probably lead many people to assume that it had been written by Groucho Marx himself. While all four Marx brothers were musically talented and frequently sang and performed instruments in their films, Groucho, for whom the song remained a signature piece, hadn’t had a hand in its composition. Although Arlen and Harburg didn’t get credited for “Lydia,” however, they received the lion’s share of credit for one of their other projects of 1939—the music and lyrics for The Wizard of Oz.

Music Heard On This Episode

Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg : Lydia, the Tattooed Lady
Bobby Short, voice — Lydia The Tattooed Lady (Rhino Atlantic, 2005)
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album cover
Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg : Lydia, the Tattooed Lady
Bobby Short, voice — Lydia The Tattooed Lady (Rhino Atlantic, 2005)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover

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