In 1988, A&M Records released an album entitled Stay Awake: Various Interpretations of Music from Vintage Disney Films. Popular musical artists of the day – the majority of them “independent” – covered songs from the early animated and live-action features of the Disney Studios, under the producer’s wand held by Hal Willner. One of the tracks was “Castle in Spain,” performed by Buster Poindexter, and sandwiched in a medley that also contained Sleeping Beauty‘s “I Wonder,” sung by the legendary Yma Sumac.
“Castle in Spain” (1988) by Buster Poindexter & The Banshees of Blue
Poindexter (an alter ego of punk band New York Dolls member David Johansen) introduces his version of the song by muttering “Ava Gardner, blah blah blah blah blah blah…,” giving some indication of his campy rendition to come, and the equally theatrical roots of the number.
“Castle in Spain” was featured in the Disney live-action film Babes in Toyland, released in 1961. The film was based on an operetta of the same name by Victor Herbert, originally produced in the early 1900s. There was also an earlier film version of Babes, produced in 1934 and featuring Laurel & Hardy. In the Disney film version, Ray Bolger (who, in 1939, had played the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz) plays the scheming and miserly Barnaby, who has designs on Mary Contrary. “Castle in Spain” is his attempt to woo Mary (played in the film by Annette Funicello), even though he has forced her into a situation from which she cannot refuse him.
Mary, looking quite contrary, while Barnaby overcompensates.
In our castle in Spain, you’ll be living rent-free
Every capital gain you’ll share with me
From this village below, every cent we will drain
And your fortune will grow in our castle in Spain
Every mortgage and lease I will re-valuate
And for you I’ll increase their interest rate
You’ll eat nothing but cake, you’ll drink naught but champagne
You’ll be in on the take in our castle in Spain
Surely, you must agree that it makes your head whirl
To be marrying me, you lucky girl
You have caught me today in a generous way
Come now, what do you say to our castle in Spain?
“You’ll eat nothing but cake…”
“Come now, what do you say to our castle in Spain?”