Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo, The
DESCRIPTION: The singer rejoices in the happiness he experienced since he "broke the bank at Monte Carlo." The girls follow him, and he leads a carefree life. He sets out to marry "a madamoiselle [who] with twenty tongues swears she will be true."
AUTHOR: Fred Gilbert
EARLIEST DATE: 1891 (sheet music published by T. B. Harms & Co.)
KEYWORDS: gambling money
REFERENCES (7 citations):
Spaeth-ReadWeep, pp. 136-137, "The Man That Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo" (1 text, 1 tune)
Geller-Famous, pp. 124-126, "The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo" (1 text, 1 tune)
Gilbert, pp. 237-239, "The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: Robert A. Fremont, editor, _Favorite Songs of the Nineties_, Dover Publications, 1973, pp. 183-186, "The Man THat Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo" (1 text, 1 tune, the 1891 sheet music)
Aline Waites & Robin Hunter, _The Illustrated Victorian Songbook_, Michael Joseph Ltd., 1984, pp. 128-131, "The Man That Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo" (1 text, 1 tune)
Margaret Bradford Boni, editor, _Songs of the Gilded Age_, with piano arrangements by Norman Lloyd and illustrations by Lucille Corcos, Golden Press, 1960, pp. 125-126, "The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo" (1 text, 1 tune)
NLScotland, L.C.Fol.70(90b), "The Man That Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo," unknown, c. 1890
NOTES: This is one of those pieces that is carried entirely by its tune. The words are banal (so much so that a large number of singers instantly rejected it), but it was quite popular in its day (now, thankfully, over). Waites & Hunter say that publishers were so dubious about the song that they insisted upon offering a royalty upon publication rather than a flat fee. It was a mistake -- instead of Gilbert earning ten pounds, he ended up earning 600.
The sheet music, shown in Waites & Hunter, has an interesting superscription: "This song may be sung in public without fee or license, EXCEPT AT MUSIC HALLS."
Gilbert reports that, in 1891, Monte Carlo hired a man to toss money about in the streets of London, describing himself as the man who broke the bank. Fred Gilbert, observing this spectacle, wrote his song.
According to Geller, the man who tossed the money was Arthur DeCourcy Bower, who died poor, but Geller mentions his hiring by Monte Carlo officials as a mere possibility.
NLScotland claims that the song was instead inspired by the success of Joseph Hobson Jagger (died 1892), who reportedly won a million pounds in Monte Carlo in 1875. - RBW
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