Song Of The Day 8/3/2014: Peter Ustinov - "Mock Mozart" + "Phoney Folklore"

Sir Peter Ustinov was fully deserving of the shopworn compliment "renaissance man." He spoke a U.N. wing's worth of languages, wrote copious amounts of books, produced and directed theatre and opera presentations, won two Oscars, volunteered for UNICEF, played the most-known version of Agatha Christie's detective Hercule Poirot in the movies, and was a full-on vintner who made 4,000 bottles of wine a year. Enjoy your night gazing at Twitter!

"Mock Mozart" and its B-side "Phoney Folklore" was, believe it or not, a huge seller in the United Kingdom when it was released in 1952. EMI was adamantly against releasing it as a single, but its young producer -- a kid named George Martin, who went on to greater fame for his work with Gerry & The Pacemakers -- insisted there was "something there."

Apparently the market was ripe for Mozart pieces with notes phonetically mangled by Ustinov in over-the-top German dialact. It's a fun frolic, and sort of reminds me of the experimental voice work of Michael Peppe, but I slightly prefer "Phoney Folklore." This is a medley of three fake European folk songs, starting off with a lament from a Russian peasant whose "tractor has betrayed him." All you guys in John Deere hats know that low.

More trivia: The harpsichord on "Mock Mozart" is played by Anthony Hopkins, who also became a Sir. And, yes, obviously I'm joking about George Martin's most notable career achievement being Gerry & The Pacemakers. He also produced Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas. I was just being coy.

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