40-year anniversary of popular "Mill Valley" song

December 29, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
It was 40 years ago Christmas day that a Mill Valley kindergarten teacher wrote a song that changed her life, and the real estate of the town.

The song was "Mill Valley," sung by Miss Abrams and the Strawberry Point third grade class. It was a Billboard top 5 hit in 1970 and the simple song caught the world's attention.

An emerging filmmaker named Francis Ford Coppola directed a music video of the song, Rolling Stone magazine did a story and Annie Leibowitz shot pictures of the kids.

The original recording was done by kindergartners, but it sounded so bad that they borrowed the third graders to make the record.

Rita Abrams is still writing songs for musical comedy. Her newest "New Wrinkles: The Middle-Age Musical" plays New Year's Eve at the Seafood Peddler in San Rafael. She is also writing a book on the "Mill Valley" phenomenon.

She says she is still hearing from people around the world who may have heard the song for the first time. The song is available on the Internet and so is the music video.

Others write to her, nostalgically recalling the music from childhood and third graders in Mill Valley schools are still being taught the song.

And like the song lyrics, Abrams still lives in Mill Valley. "That's my home."


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