Volga Boatman

MGM composer William Axt was once assigned to compose some music for a film called At the Balalaika. "We need a song," the producers explained. "Something like

[Ivan Romanoff's] 'Volga Boatman.' Will you find it?" Axt said he would.

A week later he unveiled his song. "Very nice," they declared, "but it's no 'Volga Boatman.'" Some time later, Axt produced another song, and then another. Still the producers were unsatisfied. At last they asked MGM's musical director, Herbert Stothart, for his advice. "Why don't you use 'Volga Boatman'?" he said. "Sure," they nodded. "Why don't we use 'Volga Boatman'?" And they did.

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