Sunday, September 21, 2008

Mandy Miller: Nellie the Elephant

Despite what people say, the songs in the Liberator songbook do change from edition to edition. This year one of the new ones was "Nellie the Elephant", which was my favourite song when I was very young. I was therefore sorry to hear it massacred by the Glee Club audience.

In the hope of encouraging a better show next year, I present here the definitive version of the song. It also reached the charts in 1984 in the hands of the Toy Dolls, but I find their version takes it too lightly. Is there a more moving lyric in any song than "The head of the herd was calling, far, far away"?

Mandy Miller was a British child star of the 1950s. I have seen only her first two performances, both of which were in Ealing films at the start of the decade. She had a cameo part in The Man in the White Suit and starred in Mandy.

But her career lasted into the 1960s and she appeared on television in episodes of both The Saint and The Avengers. After that she gave up acting, left for America as an au pair girl and eventually married there.

Another point of interest about her recording of "Nellie the Elephant" is that it was produced by George Martin. Until he brought the Beatles to it, the Parlophone label was best known for issuing novelty and comedy records like this one.

1 comment:

Zara T. Hustra said...

I first heard the Toy Dolls version of the song, here in the USA ,probably in the late 80s or early 90s, never had heard the original before today when I looked it up on YouTube. I would suggest this vid of the Toy Dolls as the best:

Personally I find it quite moving, so it probably depends on what generation you are from what moves you!