The Browns (#13 in 1959), Kingston
Trio, Harry Belafonte
I peeked in to say goodnight,
And then I heard my child in prayer:
"And for me some scarlet ribbons,
Scarlet ribbons for my hair
All the stores were closed and shuttered,
All the streets were dark and bare.
In our town, no scarlet ribbons,
Not one ribbon for her hair
Through the night my heart was aching,
Just before the dawn was breaking,
I peeked in and on her bed,
In gay profusion lying there,
Lovely ribbons, scarlet ribbons,
Scarlet ribbons for her hair
If I live to be a hundred,
I will never know from where,
Came those lovely scarlet ribbons,
Scarlet ribbons, for her hair!
SCARLET RIBBONS (FOR HER HAIR) (E. Danzig
/ J. O. Segal) is thought of as a traditional folk tune by many, but actually
was composed several years ago by Evelyn Danzig / Jack Segal. It's an impressive
tribute to the composers' ability to catch the spirit of folk music.
Scarlet Ribbons (for Her Hair) (Danzig-Segal) "Scarlet Ribbons" is such
a country-folk evergreen that many believe it to be a traditional song. In
fact, it was written in the 1940s by Evelyn Danzig and Jack Segal, and then
quickly adopted by Jo Stafford, Dinah Shore and Harry Belafonte. It also
provided the Trio with their first single. They introduced their version
when they made their national TV debut on the CBS dramatic series Playhouse
90 on May 1, 1958. They sing it with the soothing lullaby quality that the
lyric requires, but give it a unique spin by performing it in waltz time.
Nevertheless, the group was still so unknown that their record didn't chart;
only when they re-recorded it for their No. I At Large album the next year
did it become a Trio trademark.
The Trio first heard the song on the afternoon of August 20, 1957, at a
talent audition at the Purple Onion. Their final arrangement featured Nick
Reynolds' now famous spoken intro ("Throughout history . . . ") and Bob Shane's
memorable lead vocal and it was one of the few songs the group did with Bob
It was recorded for their first album, THE KINGSTON TRIO, and it might
have remained there if a Salt Lake record store owner hadn't seen the group
perform in San Francisco and been impressed enough to cart a few copies
home to sell. One was picked up by a local disk jockey who was taken enough
with "Tom Dooley" to plat it on the air. Listener requests were overwhelming
and more stations throughout the United States began programming the track.
It was actually the Trio's second 45 (check out the first - "Scarlet Ribbons"
- on the groups excellent CAPITOL COLLECTORS SERIES compact disc release),
and it would remain charted for five months, hitting the #1 spot during
one week, earning the group its only gold single (selling over six million
copies worldwide) and its first two Grammy nominations. (It lost in the
"Vocal Group" category but won for "Best Country and Western Vocal.")