Das Glühwürmchen (The Glow-Worm Idyll) is perhaps the best-known piece by the German composer Paul Lincke (1866-1946). The Glow Worm Idyll originated from Lincke’s 1902 operetta Lysistrata – a burlesque of the Aristophanes story.
It was originally written as a trio for three female soloists and a women’s chorus with a German libretto. However, its popularity grew enormously following its use in the 1907 Broadway musical The Girl Behind The Counter with English lyrics by Lilla Cayley Robinson. In the 1950s a Mills Brothers recording (with revised lyrics by Johnny Mercer) spent no fewer than three weeks at No. 1. The song has proved popular ever since with versions as diverse as Allan Sherman’s delicious parody (with the lyrics “Grow, Mrs. Goldfarb, fatter, fatter”) and a boogie-woogie version by Chas and Dave. The piece has also proved popular in a number of commercials including for Dr Pepper and McCain’s Potato Smiles.
Rhythmically, it is in the form of a gavotte and was famously danced to by the celebrated ballerina Anna Pavlova.