So... in the past I'd never had a chance of finding out what song it was. No doubt I'd be cursing my memory for days before I finally gave up on trying to figure out what song it was. But today, with search engines like Google, anything is possible.
I'd rather be a sparrow than a snail.
Yes I would, if I could, I surely would.
I'd rather be a hammer than a nail.
Yes I would, if I only could, I surely would.
It turns out that the movie was titled "Voyage of the Yes", made in 1973 and it starred Desi Arnaz Jr and Mike Evans (Lionel Jefferson on "All in the Family"). The song is El Condor Pasa, made famous by Simon and Garfunkel in 1970. I'm not sure why I keyed in on Desi Arnaz Junior's version and not the one by Simon and Garfunkel---but there you go. The memory is a strange beast.
Also interesting is how much additional information the Internet can provide. I never knew that Simon and Garfunkel had accidentally grabbed the melody El Condor Pasa which was originally written by the Peruvian composer Daniel Alomía Robles in 1913. Apparently Paul Simon was listening to a musical group, "Los Incas", while they performed the song in Paris and Simon decided he'd like to use the melody with his own lyrics. Simon was told that the song was from the 1800s and not under copyright so he wrote the song and included it on the album Bridge Over Troubled Water.
However In 1970 Alomía Robles' son, Armando Robles Godoy, filed a copyright lawsuit against Paul Simon and demonstrated that the song had been composed by his father and that his father had copyrighted the song in the United States in 1933. Oops!
I'd never have known any of that if it wasn't for Google and Wikipedia. Gotta love the Internet. Thanks, Al.
BTW, Los Incas ended up performing on "Bridge over Troubled Water" and that album ended up being Simon and Garfunkel's last studio album. It managed to get the Grammy for best record that year and the title song got song of the year. Sweet.