Monday, October 15, 1979

50 years ago: “Tip Toe Through the Tulips” hit #1

Tip Toe Through the Tulips

Nick Lucas

Writer(s): Joe Burke (music), Al Dubin (words) (see lyrics here)

First Charted: September 28, 1929

Peak: 110 US, 18 GA, 112 SM (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 (sheet music)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 0.31 video, 0.54 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Nick Lucas and Winnie Lightner starred in the 1929 movie musical Gold Diggers of Broadway, which featured five songs written by Joe Burke and Al Dubin and performed by Lucas. One was “Tip Toe Through the Tulips.” He was outside of a house singing to a girl inside, asking “for her pardon if he kisses her in the moonlit garden.” TY2 Lucas reprised the song later in the show as a dance routine with girls dressed as tulips. SM

Lucas was formerly a banjo player with the Russo-Rio Rito band. Nicknamed “The Singing Troubador,” he became “a national favorite in the late 20s” PM because of his “easygoing vocal and guitar style.” PM He charted 26 songs from 1925 to 1931, reaching the top 10 nineteen times. His only chart-topper, however, was his recorded version of “Tulips” in 1929. PM

That same year, Jean Goldkette (#5), Johnny Marvin (#11), and Roy Fox (#18) all released charting versions. PM In 1930, the song was used in “Sinkin’ in the Bathtub,” the first Looney Tunes cartoon short. WK The song also showed up in the movies Confidential Agent (1945), Painting the Clouds with Sunshine (1951), The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976), and Insidious (2010). It is also mentioned in the 1997 book Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

One of the more unusual versions surfaced in 1968. Singer and ukulele player Tiny Tim performed the song on the sketch comedy show Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In WK in a “high-pitched falsetto rendition.” SF It was released as a single and became a #17 hit on the Billboard Hot 100.


First posted 3/16/2023.

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