Spoken by Les Crane. Released in 1971. Less than 5 minutes.
Crane is a San Francisco TV talk show host and husband of Tina Louise, who played “Ginger” on Gilligan’s Island. The Rolling Stones made their American television debut on The Les Crane Show on June 2, 1964.
According to the liner notes for the album, “Desiderata” was a poem written in 1906 and copyrighted under the title “Go Placidly Amid the Noise and Haste” in 1927 by Max Ehrmann, an Indiana lawyer. It was about the search for happiness in life. In the 1960s, the poem made its rounds around hippiedom as “anonymous” ancient wisdom – it was widely reprinted because most people assumed it was in the public domain. Crane read the poem on a street poster (which stated the words “Found in Old Saint Paul’s Church, Baltimore, dated 1692”) and decided to record it.
The musical background was by Fred Werner, who found the poster in a Los Angeles store.
This won the Grammy for Best Spoken Word Recording in 1971.
The first recording of the poem was by the UK group Every Which Way in 1970 as “Child of the Universe.” (thanks, Brad Wind – Miami, FL, for all above)
National Lampoon parodied this on the album Radio Dinner as “Deteriorata.” It starts: “You are a fluke of the universe, you have no right to be here…” The parody featured Melissa Manchester as one of the background singers.
The title is in Latin. It means “something desired as essential.”
This was Crane’s only hit. He later moved into the computer software field. (thanks, Edward Pearce – Ashford, Kent, England, for above 2)