'That Toddlin' Town' -- a reply to The Amused Curmudgeon

In this post today, my ChicagoNow colleague The Amused Curmudgeon called for a new Chicago song. I’m always in favor of new music, but I find his critique of “That Toddlin’ Town” incomplete.

“Who else toddles but a waddling baby?” asks the Curmudgeon. Well, it turns out that babies’ toddling was named after a jazz dance popular a bit more than 100 years ago. Here’s an article from daletremont.com in which dance expert Arthur Murray describes how to dance the toddle.

It’s simple and based on what the article calls walking dances. With steps like rocking and shuffling, it sounds like a baby’s walk, so that seems to have been how the term got to be used for young walkers.

As for “things they don’t do on Broadway,” I’m not so sure that means the one in New York. I live in Edgewater, and my local groceries, drugstore and library can all be reached on Broadway. So

“On State Street, that great street, I just wanna say

They do things they don’t do on Broadway”

sounds like home to me.

Granted, the tune is a bit shaky after about a hundred years of use, but I’d say our history is here and should be kept. Rebuttals and new tunes are welcome.

Filed under: Music and language


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  • The Days of our Lives in Chicago. Billy Sunday tried to shut it down. And Rick Monday played for the Cubs. And Friday you can find in every library, with his friend Crusoe of course/

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Of course! Thanks!

  • Probably at that time, Broadway (the Chicago one) was Evanston Avenue.Apparently the name change was in 1913 and the song was written in 1922. Anyway, the song was popularized by people from Hoboken and NYC, so I doubt that it refers to Lakeview Township.

  • In reply to jack:

    Well, I'm not certain it's not meant to be the NYC Broadway, but when I go to State Street and do things I don't do in my own neighborhood on Broadway, I can't help thinking of the song and wondering. But thank you.

  • In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    On the other hand, there's not much to do on State Street compared to what there once was. I'm surprised Macy;s is still there, not that any real Chicagoan cares. The way you describe, there's more that can be done at Broadway and Hollywood. But thanks to CTA, not buy a Toyota. You have to go to Western for that.

  • In reply to jack:

    Well, I'm a real Chicagoan (despite growing up in the suburbs), and I care that Macy's is around. Target is in the Carson's building, but it doesn't feel at all like Carson's did. Macy's at least feels like Field's did. Granted, I haven't been to State Street often over the past year, but it's still special... but Broadway in Chicago, so to speak, is a very useful street for me.\

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