Those Wedding Bells Shall Not Ring Out!
DESCRIPTION: A couple is about to be married. When the sexton asks if there are any objections, a man cries out, "Those bells shall not ring out"; the bride is his wife! He stabs her, then himself, saying "She's mine till death shall set her free."
AUTHOR: Monroe H. Rosenfeld (1862-1918)
EARLIEST DATE: 1896 (sheet music)
KEYWORDS: marriage wedding betrayal homicide suicide
FOUND IN: US(So)
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Randolph 822, "Those Wedding Bells Shall Not Ring Out!" (1 text)
Spaeth-WeepMore, pp. 231-233, "Those Wedding Bells Shall Not Ring Out!" (1 text, 1 tune)
ADDITIONAL: Robert A. Fremont, editor, _Favorite Songs of the Nineties_, Dover Publications, 1973, pp. 314-320, "Those Wedding Bells Shall Not Ring Out" (1 text, 1 tune, the 1896 sRosenfeld heet music)
NLScotland, RB.m.143(124), "Those Wedding Bells shall not Ring Out," Poet's Box (Dundee), c. 1880-1900
cf. "The Fatal Wedding" (subject)
NOTES: Randolph lists an 1896 London copyright in the name of Charles W. Heid. It seems more likely, however, that the claim by Monroe H. Rosenfeld is correct. Joan Morris writes of him, "Though he was a notorious womanizer and lost most of his money to bookmakers, Rosenfeld never wrote a song without a moral."
According to Finson, p. 64, not only was Rosenfeld a successful commercial songwriter, he also coined the term "Tin Pan Alley" for the region on West 28th Street in New York where many musical enterprises were located.
Jasen, pp. 16-17, says that Rosenfeld was known as "Rosie," and was a "most versatile man" -- journalist, songwriter, press agent, and general music promoter. He was a teetotaler, but also addicted to gambling (particularly on horses, which he apparently wasn't very good at). This left him constantly broke -- so much so that he stooped to forging checks. Once, when the police were after him, he jumped out a window, which left him with a deformed leg and a permanent limp. He was a prolific enough writer to have published under several names. He apparently had his first song published in 1882.
The original sheet music claims that this is an unamplified portrayal of something that actually happened in "a western city." The exaggerated tone of the song, and the failure to provide details, leave the matter open to question. Spaeth, p. 232, calls it a "flagrant imitation" of "The Fatal Wedding."
For a selection of Rosenfeld's more noteworthy pieces, which eventually start to seem rather like potboilers, see Spaeth, Read 'Em and Weep, pp. 181-187. Songs of his in the Index include "She Was Happy Till She Met You," "Take Back Your Gold" (which Jasen thinks was his biggest hit), "Johnny Get Your Gun (I)," and "Nothing's Too Good for the Irish." - RBW
Last updated in version 4.2
- Finson: Jon W. Finson, The Voices That Are Gone: Themes in Nineteenth-Century American Popular Song, Oxford University Press, 1994
- Jasen: David A. Jasen, Tin Pan Alley: The Composers, the Songs, the Performers and their Times: The Golden Age of American Popular Music from 1886 to 1956, Primus, 1988
- Spaeth: Sigmund Spaeth, A History of Popular Music in America, Random House, 1948
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