Every summer the infamous question utters forth: “What is the name of that song on your trucks?” This is a question we hear all too often at The Ice Cream Wagon. Several years ago, one customer actually contacted the local newspaper to get the answer. As a result, a very brief excerpt was written about it. Every summer, we are flooded with copies of lyrics, sheet music and just about anything related. For us though; the best thing is when someone tells us that it reminds them of childhood.
Over the past 30 plus years, The Ice Cream Wagon has had a variety of songs as chimes. None, however, have survived this special one. For many years, this chime is the one that The Ice Cream Wagon has chosen exclusively. Primarily, for its uncommon, unknown and melodic sound. Ironically, customers actually recognize The Ice Cream Wagon trucks by their chime as they canvas the Denver streets and surrounding neighborhoods.
And so here you go- what you have been so eagerly anticipating. Red Wing is the name of the song. It was written in 1907 with music by Kerry Mills and lyrics by Thurland Chattaway. Mills adapted the music from Robert Schumann’s composition for piano “The Happy Farmer, Returning From Work” from his 1848 work Album For The Young, Opus 68. The song tells of a young Indian maiden’s loss of her brave who has died in battle. It is most memorable for its chorus which is what is played by The Ice Cream Wagon trucks.
- Now, the moon shines tonight on pretty Red Wing,—
- The breeze is sighing,— the night bird’s crying,—
- For afar ‘neath his star her brave is sleeping,—
- While Red Wing’s weeping— her heart away.
- Complete Lyrics Here
And so there you have the story of the song on the Denver Metro Area ice cream trucks. So next time you hear The Ice Cream Wagon, you can proudly tell your friends that you can name that tune. Oh, and one last thing: The song is infectious. You might find yourself whistling it when you least realize it.