Red Wing

2:44 PM Nova: what is that song that ice cream trucks play?

(insert 17 minutes of us going back and forth with different suggestions and links)

3:01 PM Nova: it’s called Red Wing […] I think it’s supposed to make you so sad you need a treat to help you face the day.

The lyrics to the chorus, which is the portion played by the ice cream trucks:

Now the moon shines tonight
on pretty Red Wing,
the breeze is sighing,
the night birds crying,

for afar ’neath his star
her brave is sleeping,
while Red Wing’s weeping
her heart away.

Yeah, that line about her brave “sleeping” “beneath his star?” Euphemism. He died in battle. Isn’t that exactly the imagery that comes to mind when you’re trying to entice kids to run to the ice cream truck?

Sheet music art from original 1907 (J. Hirt) and reissued 1935 (Albert W. Barbelle) editions of the song. Music by Frederick A. “Kerry” Mills, lyrics by Thurland Chattaway.

Completely off topic: The brilliant and side-splittingly funny Harvey Korman died on Thursday from complications stemming from an aneurysm. I remember spending many nights as a kid watching him and Tim Conway trying to crack each other up on The Carol Burnett Show. Each comedian’s success in blowing the other’s cool was always the highlight of the show. I’d like to send Mr. Korman off to sleep beneath his own star with one of his lines from Blazing Saddles: Go do that voodoo that you do so well!

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6 Replies to “Red Wing”

  1. According to our online scouring, other popular tunes include The Entertainer and Turkey In The Straw. The Mr. Softee trucks (prevalent in NYC) have their own proprietary tune.

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  2. In South Sacramento, the ice cream truck had this old worn out version of some ice cream truck theme song, but it was terribly wobbly sounding and gave you the feeling of something evil driving down your street… it also had bars on the windows and wouldn’t stop if any customer looked over the age of 12. Ahhh… good times in Sacto!

    Seriously… I think they should play that tune from the old “Fist Full of Dollars” movie.
    You know that pocket watch that played the tune and then slowly ran down. When it finally stops, instead of a sweet gunfight, you could just rush the ice cream truck!

    That was “Fist Full of Dollars” wasn’t it???
    Or was it “For a Few Dollars More”???
    Maybe “Two Mules for Sister Sarah”???
    Or “Paint Your Wagon”???
    Possibly “High Plains Drifter”???

    Shit… I need to get my Netflix going again… this is going to drive me crazy!

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  3. in the new orleans area back in the 50’s & 60’s there were 2 ice cream types going around. we had “harmony” ice cream and “red wing” ice cream. one played the “redwing song” and the other played a lullaby song.

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