In "Trading Places", what was that song they sang at the tennis club?

In the Eddie Murphy/Dan Aykroyd movie Trading Places there’s a scene where Louis shows up at the tennis club to try to borrow some money from his former friends. Meanwhile the boys are singing a song in close harmony, about making it with a series of girls who all seem to have very preppie type names, in various locations. Although to give an even truer flavor of Northeastern upper class authenticity, I would have thrown in a “Campbell” and “Bailey” as well, giving a nod to the upper Northeastern custom of christening girls with family names.

I’m sorry, I can’t remember the lyrics well enough to quote them; you’d have to have seen the movie if you’re going to be much help here.

And while we’re at it, what is The Wiffenpoof Song?

If I recall the scene correctly, the boys at the club were singing a fraternity song to the tune of Gaudeamus Igitur, written in 1781, and traditionally used as a frat drinking song. I believe it’s also one of the school songs for Harvard.

Gaudeamus igitur
Juvenes dum sumus
Post jucundum juventutem
Post molestam senectutem
Nos habebit humus.

The Wiffenpoof song (“we are poor little lambs, who have lost our way. . .”) was a song for the Wiffenpoof Society at Yale.

So that’s what Tom Lehrer is saying in “Bright College Days”! I always wondered about that.

The part I can recall went something like:

"Muffy in a bathroom stall,
Margaret by the lake.
[someone] back in Whitley Hall,
Constance on the make.

Constance Fry, Constance Fry,
Anytime you call,
Constance will fulfill your needs,
Winter, spring, or fall."

I don’t know the name of the tune, but it’s the same one that Betty Childs and the other Pi Delta Pis sing to in Revenge of the Nerds, when they accept the invitation to the nerds’ party. :slight_smile:

the tune also sounds quite a bit like “love me tender” by elvis

Holy crap, you’re right! I knew the tune was familiar from more than just those movies, but couldn’t figure out why. Elvis! It’s always Elvis! :slight_smile:

(Of course, now I’m wondering if Elvis’s melody is really Gaudeamus Igitur…)

Actually, Love Me Tender was ripped off a tune by George Poulton called Aura Lee – which sounds like it was ripped off from something out of 17th century England.

I know this is 13 years later but I know the answer to this. It may be the only contribution I make to mankind. So here it goes. The song they repurposed is “Aura Lea”. Yes, phonetically “orally”. It’s from the civil war era and here are the full lyrics. I think it’s clever.

When the blackbird in the Spring,
'On the willow tree,
Sat and rocked, I heard him sing,
Singing Aura Lea.
Aura Lea, Aura Lea,
Maid with golden hair;
Sunshine came along with thee,
And swallows in the air.

Aura Lea, Aura Lea,
Maid with golden hair;
Sunshine came along with thee,
And swallows in the air.

In thy blush the rose was born,
Music, when you spake,
Through thine azure eye the morn,
Sparkling seemed to break.
Aura Lea, Aura Lea,
Birds of crimson wing,
Never song have sung to me,
As in that sweet spring.


Aura Lea! the bird may flee,
The willow’s golden hair
Swing through winter fitfully,
On the stormy air.
Yet if thy blue eyes I see,
Gloom will soon depart;
For to me, sweet Aura Lea
Is sunshine through the heart.


When the mistletoe was green,
Midst the winter’s snows,
Sunshine in thy face was seen,
Kissing lips of rose.
Aura Lea, Aura Lea,
Take my golden ring;
Love and light return with thee,
And swallows with the spring.


Which was mentioned in the post directly above yours.

So, Aura Lea with swallows in the air? Is this song a reference to what it seems to be?

Hence Alan Sherman’s line “Every time you take vaccine. Take it orally. As you know the other way. Is more painfully.” (which is of course sung to the tune of “Aura Lee”)

While zombie-revivifying is going on: re the subsidiary mentions in the thread, of Yale’s Wiffenpoof Song – I understand that said song was adopted from / modelled on a ballad by Rudyard Kipling, in a British context: Gentlemen-Rankers. These Kipling verses treat of the plight of scions of the British upper classes who, having disgraced themselves by unacceptable behaviour back home, end up having to survive by serving at the lower end of the British Army – a situation not comfortable or pleasant for anyone concerned.

Those names are their actual girlfriends, who are present at the time.


Is that true? About Constance…

Sakes alive! What would Colonel Angus say?

“Aura Lea” was popular with early 20th-century college glee clubs, which may have been why the “Trading Places” screenwriters used it to evoke a WASPY, preppy ambiance.

I once read a story (which I’m unable to find an online cite for) in a book about Elvis Presley’s career. Supposedly, Audrey Meadows (the actress who played Alice Kramden on “The Honeymooners”) was rehearsing for a TV special on CBS during the time of Elvis Presley’s appearances on “The Ed Sullivan Show”. Someone from the Sullivan show overheard her singing “Aura Lea”, and thought it could be made into a good song for Elvis (perhaps wanting to stem the controversy over Elvis’s wild style with a soft, gentle ballad). This led to Ken Darby’s re-writing of the song’s lyrics and Elvis’s debuting it on the Sullivan show and recording it as a single.

As long as we’re updating zombies with new info, Gaudeamus Igitur doesn’t have the same melody as Aura Lee (The chord progression is similar, at least in the verse, but the melody isn’t.)

The first line – “Gaudeamus igitur, iuvenes dum summus” – means “Let’s rejoice while we’re young.” Generally it’s associated with academia, which is ironic because lyrically it’s basically saying “fuck sobriety, we’re young, let’s party.”

“Aura Lee” was featured on one of the Ken Burns/PBS The Civil War soundtrack albums:

Yes, she’ll fulfill your needs, winter, SPRING or falllllllllllll