"I'm Looking over a Four-Leaf Clover"
Knox County — As today is St. Patrick’s Day, I was trying to think of an appropriate story to bring to you. I began to think about shamrocks and four-leaf clovers. I didn’t realize there is a difference between the two, but there is. It has been so obvious that I didn’t even realize that fact before, so I looked it up on google and found this information at www.forrent.com/blog/holidays:
“The shamrock is a three-leaved clover; the plant was used by Saint Patrick to illustrate the doctrine of the Trinity. It has subsequently become a national symbol of Ireland. The word comes from seamróg, the Irish name for the plant.
“A four leaf clover refers to an aberration of a three leaf clover plant, “white clover.” The white clover is a deep green flowering vine with white blossoms. It is the original shamrock plant of Ireland and the unofficial state symbol. The shamrock already has powerful associations, and its occasional production of an extra leaf makes the rare four leaf clover especially.”
While the Irish four-leaf clover may be white, we in America see them as green and a four-leaf one can often be found among a field of “clover.” We all, well at least I, consider them lucky, be they Irish or not.
I had my own special “four-leaf clover” detective when I was growing up, my father. He would walk with me through a field of clover and in the space of a few minutes would reach down and pick one out of a bunch of what looked like a gazillion ordinary clovers to me. He’d hand it to me for good luck.
“I’m Looking over a Four-Leaf Clover”
I could not think about four-leaf clovers without thinking about this song. Remember it? I looked it up on YouTube and found the whole history of the song in the process.
I soon discovered that this song, the perfect Karaoke song, is probably the most “prolific” song in terms of renditions that I have ever come across. I found that just about every genre of music you can think of, with the possible exception of opera, has their own version of the song. Starting in the 20s and up to the present day, we see it appear again and again. I would venture to guess that everyone of every age knows the words to this song. Can you sing it off the top of your head?
“I’m Looking over a Four-Leaf Clover” was written in 1927 with lyrics by Mort Dixon, and music by Harry M. Woods. It was a number 1 hit on the Billboard chart and in 1949 it was a hit for Art Mooney and His Orchestra. Look up this song on one of many sites on YouTube and see if you can sing along.
Nine singers, including Arthur Godfrey, were among the top 20 on the charts with this song.
Here are just some of the genres I noted for this song on YouTube:
Big Band sound
Art Mooney and his Orchesta
Ben Bernie and his Orchestra
Paul Whiteman Orchestra
Frankie Laine in his crooner style
The Ames Brothers
Barbershop Quartet “Acoustix” in the 90s from a Mitch Miller Barbershop TV special
Many Mummers style renditions including Alvino Rey in 1947
The Uptown String Band on the Krantz label
I found a version that was probably close to a 20s style that was probably a quick step.
I heard a Samba-Jazz instrumental by Coleman Hawking
I challenge you to find a more sung more versatile song on YouTube or even in your own memory.
The four-leaf clover my Dad gave me was always cherished throughout that day, but alas, by the time we got home it wasn’t much more than green lint in my pocket. As I think about those excursions today I now believe that the really good luck I had was the opportunity to spend some time with my father, Ted. I miss him and if he were here today I’d say “Graim Thu” which is Gaelic for “I Love You.”
Happy St. Patrick’s Day Everyone!