The True Story of the Ice Cream Truck Song

There’s a dude who drives an ice cream through my neighbourhood at least once a day. I know it’s him because I can hear that 20-second song loop that heralds his imminent arrival. Every time I hear it, I wonder “How does this man not go insane?”

The AV Club has the story behind the true Song of the Summer.

It’s one of the most familiar, unmistakable sounds of summer. The silence of a hot August afternoon is suddenly breached by music. It’s high-pitched, tinny, repetitive music, to be sure, but music nonetheless. A melody grows louder and louder: “Turkey In The Straw,” or at least the first four bars of “Turkey In The Straw,” playing endlessly on a loop. Children of all ages know that this heralds the approach of an ice cream truck, bearing wildly overpriced Bomb Pops, Dreamsicles, and Choco Tacos. Every year, pop culture journalists debate which catchy Top 40 ditty deserves to be deemed “the song of the summer.” But ice cream trucks play the songs of every summer, namely public domain favorites like “Yankee Doodle,” “Brahms’ Lullaby,” and Scott Joplin’s deathless “The Entertainer.” But where does this music come from, besides the collective unconscious? Over at The Current, writer Cecilia Johnson pays a visit to Nichols Electronics in Richfield, Minnesota. The proud owners of this family business can boast that they are “the leading ice cream music box manufacturers.”

Read on.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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