"The Peanut Vendor" (El Manisero) 1931

Don Azpiazu

Music by Moises Simon

English words by Marion Sunshine and L. Wolfe Gilbert

Spanish words by Moises Simons

"The Peanut Vendor" was the first great Latin hit in the U.S. The song was popular in Cuba for several years when Herbert Marks, son of sheet music publisher E.B. Marks, heard it and convinced his father to release it with English lyrics by Louis Rittenberg. Cuban band leader Don Azpiazu then recorded it with different lyrics written by his sister-in-law, Marion Sunshine, and Wolfe Gilbert. When Azpiazu debuted his band in New York in 1931, the song and the Latin sound were wildly successful novelties to American audiences. Azpiazu's recording sold over one million copies in under two years, easily making it one of the top sellers of the decade. Hollywood jumped on the bandwagon and put out one of the earliest musicals, "Cuban Love Song," featuring a rendition by that authentic Latin interpreter, the opera singer Lawrence Tibbett. The success of "Peanut Vendor" led a wave of Latin music into America. Within a year of its publication, E.B. Marks listed over 600 Latin songs, and Latin bands were prominently featured in films, radio, and live performances.

Four versions charted in 1931:

Don Azpiazu (#1) - (#1 = number one hit)

California Ramblers (#5)

Red Nichols (#5)

Louis Armstrong (#15)

Armstrong re-issued it in 1941 and hit #25.


(...) = background chorus

(Peanut do bop do bop)
(Peanut do bop do bop)
In Cuba each merry maid wakes up with this seranade
Peanuts (they're nice and hot)
Peanuts (he sells a lot)
If you haven't got bananas don't be blue
Peanuts in a little bag are calling you
Don't waste them (no tummy ache)
You'll taste them (when you're awake)
For at the very break of day
The peanut vendor's on his way
At dawning the whistle blows
(through every city, town and country lane
you hear him sing his plantive little strain)
And as he goes by to you he'll say
(Big jumbos) big jumbo ones
(Come buy those) peanuts roasted today
(Come buy those freshly roasted today)

If you're looking for a moral to this song
50 million monkeys can't be wrong
(Peanuts do bop do bop)
(Peanuts do bop do bop)
(Peanuts do bop do bop)

(In Cuba his smiling face is welcome most anyplace)
(Peanuts they hear him cry)
(Peanuts they all reply)
(If you're looking for an early morning treat)
(Get some double jointed peanuts good to eat)
For breakfast (or dinnertime)
For supper (most anytime)
The merry twinkle in his eye
He's got a way that makes you buy
(Each morning) that whistle blows
(Are you more than I sell)

If an apple keeps the doctor from your door
Peanuts ought to keep him from you even more
(Peanuts) we'll meet again
This street again
We'll eat again
You Peanut Man, that peanut man's gone
(Peanut, peanut, peanut)


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