The Trolley Song

Judy Garland, MGM Studio Chorus

About The Trolley Song

"The Trolley Song" is a song written by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane and made famous by Judy Garland in the 1944 film Meet Me in St. Louis. In a 1989 NPR interview, Blane said the song was inspired by a picture of a trolleycar in a turn-of-the-century newspaper. In 1974, he had said that the picture was in a book he'd found at the Beverly Hills Public Library and was captioned "'Clang, Clang, Clang,' Went the Trolley."Blane and Martin were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song at the 1945 Academy Awards, for "The Trolley Song" but lost to "Swinging on a Star" from Going My Way. "The Trolley Song" was ranked #26 by the American Film Institute in 2004 on the AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs list. The song as conducted by Georgie Stoll for Meet Me in St. Louis has a very complex, evocative arrangement by Conrad Salinger featuring harmonized choruses, wordless vocals, and short highlights or flourishes from a wide range of orchestral instruments. It has been claimed for years that when the song was recorded on the set of Meet Me in St Louis, it was done in a single shot, and also that Garland accidentally repeated a verse instead of singing the next verse, but songs are not recorded on set in Hollywood musicals at all, they are prerecorded and lip-synched by the artists by the artists, and the number in the film consists of far more than one shot, and there is no repeated verse in the film. 


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With my high starched-collar and my high-topped shoes
And my hair piled high upon my head
I went to lose a jolly hour on the trolley
And lost my heart instead
With his light brown derby and his bright green tie
He was quite the handsomest of men
I started to yen so I counted to ten 
Then I counted to ten again

Clang, clang, clang went the trolley
Ding, ding, ding went the bell
Zing, zing, zing went my heart strings
From the moment I saw him I fell

Chug, chug, chug went the motor
Bump, bump, bump went the brake
Thump, thump, thump went my heart strings
When he smiled I could feel the car shake

He tipped his hat, and took a seat
He said he hoped he hadn't stepped upon my feet
He asked my name, I held my breath
I couldn't speak because he scared me half to death

Buzz, buzz, buzz went the buzzer
Plop, plop, plop went the wheels
Stop, stop, stop went my heart strings
As he started to go then I started to know how it feels
When the universe reels

The day was bright, the air was sweet
The smell of honeysuckle charmed you off your feet
You tried to sing, but couldn't squeak
In fact you loved him so you couldn't even speak

Buzz, buzz, buzz went the buzzer
Plop, plop, plop went the wheels
Stop, stop, stop went my heart strings
As he started to leave
I took hold of his sleeve with my hand
And as if it were planned
He stayed on with me and it was grand just to stand
With his hand holding mine to the end of the line

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Judy Garland

Judy Garland (born Frances Ethel Gumm; June 10, 1922 – June 22, 1969) was an American actress, singer and vaudevillian. Described by Fred Astaire as "the greatest entertainer who ever lived" and renowned for her contralto voice, she attained international stardom throughout a career that spanned more than 40 years as an actress in musical and dramatic roles, as a recording artist and on the concert stage. Respected for her versatility, she received a Juvenile Academy Award and won a Golden Globe Award as well as Grammy Awards and a Special Tony Award. She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in the remake of A Star is Born and for the Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the 1961 film Judgment at Nuremberg. She remains t… more »

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Written by: Hugh Martin, Ralph Blane

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Fintage House Publishing

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind

12 facts about this song

The song "The Trolley Song" was written by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane in 1944.
Film Feature
This song was famously sung by Judy Garland in the movie "Meet Me in St. Louis" directed by Vincente Minnelli.
The inspiration for "The Trolley Song" comes from a picture of a trolleycar in a turn of the century newspaper that Hugh Martin saw in a library book.
Movie scene
In the movie, Judy Garland's character, Esther Smith, sings the song to entertain party guests, and the song evolves into a larger production number that tells the story of a woman falling in love during a trolley ride.
Academy Awards
The song was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1945 but did not win.
Recorded Versions
Aside from Judy Garland, several other artists have covered the song, including Frank Sinatra and The Dave Brubeck Quartet.
Billboard Popularity
The song quickly became popular after the movie's release, even reaching #3 on the Billboard charts in 1945.
American Film Institute Recognition
In 2004, the American Film Institute ranked "The Trolley Song" as no. 26 in its list of the top 100 songs in American cinema.
Album Release
The song was included in the soundtrack album for the film that was released in 1944.
Significant Reprise
Judy Garland also did a significant reprise of "The Trolley Song" in her television series "The Judy Garland Show" in 1963.
Judy Garland Association
The song is often associated with Judy Garland due to her heartwarming performance in the film.
Cultural Influence
The song has found its place in pop culture, and it's frequently referenced or used in other films, TV shows, and even commercial advertisements.

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