Van Lingle Mungo (song)

From BR Bullpen

Van Lingle Mungo is a lounge song by David Frishberg, composed in 1969. After his original lyrics for the song were rejected, Frishberg found inspiration by browsing through his copy of the new Baseball Encyclopedia and stumbling on the unusual name of Van Lingle Mungo. He proceeded to write a song whose lyrics include only the names of major league players and the words "and" and "big". It remains Frishberg's most popular song decades later.

The song runs 2:45 on the original single, produced by David Rosner and Margo Guryan, backed by the song Nasty, Nasty Habit. Both songs also appeared on the album Oklahoma Toad, released in 1970. Frishberg plays keyboards and is the vocalist on the song; a number of other players are credited on the album, although it's not clear who actually played in the original recording. It was re-released on a greatest hits album, The Dave Frishberg Songbook, Volume 1, in 1981, in a version featuring Frishberg on vocals and piano, Bill Goodwin on drums and Steve Gilmore on bass. This album, with a companion "Volume 2" record released in 1983, were released again in 1991 as Dave Frishberg Classics, a record that was still in print over 30 years later.

The real Van Mungo met Frishberg shortly after the song's release, when Frishberg was invited to perform it on the "Dick Cavett Show". According to Frishberg, Mungo asked whether he would receive any royalties from the song, to which the composer explained that it wouldn't be the case, but that he could get even by writing a song called "Dave Frishberg". "I'm gonna do it", Mungo replied laughingly, but it doesn't seem he ever made good on the threat.

While the original version of the song contains the names of 37 ballplayers, the lyrics changed from one version to another, and three others have been included on other versions. These players are all from the 1940s and are the names Frishberg grew up reading about as a young baseball fan.

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