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Hispanic Heritage

Many of the recordings in the Knott family music collection have song titles in both Spanish and English, but any Hispanic association is almost always by lyrical reference rather than being Latin music.

An early example from 1924 is "Marchéta: A love song of old Mexico". Its author, American Victor Schertzinger, went on to become a well respected composer of film scores, but "Marchéta" contains not a single word of Spanish and completely lacks rhythm. It probably found its way into the collection because it was performed by popular Irish tenor John McCormack. Listen for yourself:


Two Latin hits that did cross over into American popular music are "Amapola" and "Amor".

"Amapola" became popular in Latin America before being recorded by Jimmie Dorsey in the 1940s. The reference to poppies had extra significance to a second generation of Americans fighting their way through Flanders Fields. The version in the Knott’s collection is by Les Brown with vocals by Doris Day:


Another song in the collection with a solid Latin pedigree is "Amor". Composed by Gabriel Ruiz with original lyrics in Spanish, it has been recorded several times. In 1944, this version by Andy Russell (born Andres Rabago) outsold the Bing Crosby version:

 Although largely forgotten now, Andy Russell was a very popular vocalist in the swing era. One of his trademarks was singing alternating verses of love songs in English and Spanish.