"Funiculi funicula" is a popular Italian song that originated in 1880. Many people assume "Funiculi Funicula" is an old, traditional Italian folk song. However, it's not quite so old or so traditional. On the Isle of Capri the government installed a funicular cable car to carry people up Mount Vesuvius. Since Vesuvius was, like, an active volcano, few people seemed willing to ride the cable car up the side of the mountain. Fearing the cable car might go unused, the government hired composer Luigi Denza to pen a little jingle called "Funiculi funicula" to promote the cable car, making it seem like a fun, gay ride. Denza took the words written by journalist Peppino Turco about the cable car and set them to music. The song proved extremely popular and the cable car was a huge success.

Curiously composer Richard Strauss came along six years later and on a tour of Italy heard "Funiculi funicular". He assumed that this was a traditional Italian folk song. He incorporated jingle into his symphony "Aus Italien". Strauss realized his mistake, with much horror and embarrassment, when an enraged Denza slapped him with a lawsuit. Denza won the lawsuit and Strauss was forced to pay Denza a royalty every time "Aus Italien" was performed in public.

Lyrics:

Some think the world is made for fun and frolic
And so do I, and so do I
Some think it well to be all melancholic
To pine and sigh, to pine and sigh
But I, I love to spend my time in singing
Some joyous song, some joyous song
To set the air with music bravely ringing
Is far from wrong, is far from wrong

Harken, harken, music sounds afar
Harken, harken, music sounds afar
Tralalala, tralalala, tralalala, tralalala
Joy is everywhere - Funiculi funicula!

Ah me! 'Tis strange that some should take to sighing
And like it well, and like it well
For me, I have not thought it worth the trying
So cannot tell, so cannot tell
With laugh and dance and song the day soon passes
Full soon is gone, full soon is gone
For mirth was made for joyous lads and lasses
To call their own, to call their own

Harken, harken, music sounds afar
Harken, harken, music sounds afar
Tralalala, tralalala, tralalala, tralalala
Joy is everywhere - Funiculi funicula!

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