Do you remember this word? Do you remember from which lyrics? Do you remember the film? Do you remember the lyricist?
Well, probably you could recall the film which had this complex yet famous word – Mary Poppins. But recalling the name of the lyricist would not be easy. He is none other than Richard B. Sherman the one half of the prolific, award-winning pair of brothers who penned instantly memorable songs for “Mary Poppins,” “The Jungle Book” and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” — as well as the most-played tune on Earth, “It’s a Small World (After All).” He is now no more in our midst and has left for his heavenly abode at the age of 86 years.
The two brothers Richard Sherman and Robert Sherman worked magic as a team. Most of their songs were written quickly but even after trying for two weeks, they were not able to nail down a snappy title for the song sung by Nanny Julie Andrew. The idea came from Robert Sherman’s eight year old son. When his dad asked him “How was school today.” Pat came his son’s reply, ’Great. We got the (polio) vaccine today.’ When asked, ’Oh, did it hurt?’ He said, ’No, they just stuck medicine on a lump of sugar.’ And that was it. Those words inspired Robert Sherman to pen the title for the world famous song – A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine to go down.”
What amazed me most about these loving brothers was that though they were estranged for a number of years later, they largely avoided sibling rivalry and still had great love and mutual respect for one another.
Well now I could easily recall the lyricist of ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ – It’s sad, so sad that we remember this word emerge from the lips of Julie Andrews but we never ever bother to remember the lyricists behind this immortal word.
So RIP Richard – You have touched the lives of millions through your lyrics and these profound words of Ralph Waldo Emerson are my tribute to you.
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends. To appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier Because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”