After posting “Purl vs. Pearl,” I started thinking about music and how music of the 20th and 21st centuries tends to reflect activities that are stereotypically in a “man’s realm” rather than those in a “woman’s realm.” That got me pondering over what I think are two major pastimes in the U.S. – baseball and knitting – and comparing how they’ve been portrayed in music.
Baseball was easy. Let’s see … there’s the obvious “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” (Jack Norworth & Albert Von Tilzer, 1908). Then there’s “Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit the Ball” (Woodrow Buddy Johnson & Count Basie, 1948) and “Say Hey” – aka “The Willie Mays Song” (Cliff and Claude Treniers, 1955). The following decade Peter, Paul & Mary recorded “Right Field.” We can’t overlook Bruce Springsteen‘s “Glory Days” (1984) or John Fogerty‘s “Centerfield” (1985). And, of course, for Pearl Jam fans, there’s “All the Way” (Eddie Vedder, 2007).
Now, how many knitting songs – outside of the World War II era “Knit One, Purl two” (by Frills & Lorre) that I mentioned earlier – are you familiar with? I wasn’t familiar with any. So I did a bit a digging as explained below.
But first, I’m bursting to tell you: Did you know there’s a 2012 CD by Melanie Gall titled “Knitting All Day: Knitting Songs From World War I?” I am going to download it right away!
Okay, back to my digging …
I first found a “Knitting Song” from World War I by Muriel Bruce and Baron Aliotti (1915). But then I found a treasure trove of knitting-related songs from the early part of the 20th century. Click here to visit Threadwinder’s list of (mostly) knitting songs with lyrics from World War I and from World War II (And it was from the WWI knitting songs site I learned about Melanie Gall’s CD.)
There’s “The Knitting Song” written and recorded by Englishman Bill Oddie in 1965. (In the 1970s Oddie became famous as one of “The Goodies,” a comedic trio. He’s now an ornithologist and, interestingly enough, received an Order of the British Empire.) In “The Knitting Song,” Oddie shares what he does when he’s down:
I’m gonna knit
Knit, knit all day.
I’m gonna knit
My blues all way.
Well if I’m feeling low,
I knit a row,
‘Cause a fellow needs his knitting just to ease his soul.
(Click here to listen to Oddie sing the whole song.)
I found “Cable Knit Sweater” by The Lads (2008), a New Zealand Christian rock-pop group. A young man sings that he was “knitted together like a cable knit sweater.” Click here to listen to “Cable Knit Sweater.”
Now, if “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” has become the anthem for ballgames, which song shall we knitters adopt for our anthem – or do we need one?