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How the song "Lone Fish-Ball" became "One Meat Ball"


According to Harvard Magazine: “YOU GETS no bread with one meat ball.” In 1944 Hy Zaret (who also co-wrote "Unchained Melody") and Lou Singer, of Tin Pan Alley, dusted off a largely forgotten old song (Lone Fish-Ball), modernized its diction, changed the melody from bouncy to bluesy, and brought forth “One Meat Ball,” a ballad about an underfunded diner and an intimidating waiter. George Martin Lane (1823-1897) penned “The Lone Fish-Ball,” first published in 1855, while he was living at “Clover Den,” bachelor digs at what is now 29 Follen Street in Cambridge. Though a fish ball was a New England delicacy made of fish stock and potatoes fried and usually consumed at breakfast, “The Lone Fish-Ball” is identical to “One Meat Ball” in its existential argument. Here's Ry Cooder's version live in Hamburg 1977:


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