Posted by: Jim E | April 13, 2012

Music, Lyrics…So Many Words And Notes…Will We Run Out?…

It has always intrigued me…there are so many songs…both lyrics and music…yet, we never seem to run out of notes or words…and though I can sometimes hear a few notes that sound like they came from a familiar song, they all sound different on the whole…how do they do that???…and more than that, there are some songwriters who write hundreds of songs…they aren’t “one song type” of people, they write many kinds of songs…and all are different…how is that possible???…now, I know I have very little knowledge about music…I mean, I know what I like or don’t like…but it is amazing to me…

The other day I heard a song that I like, though I haven’t heard it recently…it was from the era of music that I love…songs from the Great American Songbook…what is referred to as standards today…from the 20’s through the 60’s, I suppose…this song I heard, “Day by Day”, was being sung by Eydie Gorme…lyrics by Sammy Cahn, music by Axel Stordahl and Paul Weston…its a great song and beautifully done by Eydie Gorme…

The song “Day by Day” was written about 1946…it’s a good song and well written…it made me think of all the songwriters of that time…and in this case Sammy Cahn…he teamed up with a number of people who wrote the music for his words…and many singers have recorded his songs over the years…and even though the songs were written so many years ago, we wind up hearing modern day singers singing them again and again…and they show up in movies over and over…in this case, Eydie Gorme has a great voice…a full range of ability, though not necessarily shown in this song but in so many others…Judie and I heard her and her husband Steve Lawrence at the Minnesota State Fair in the 90’s…they were great…

So many of the songs from the Songbook were written for stage musicals…and many others for movies…and some just happened, stand alone songs…like another of Sammy Cahn’s songs that I love, was written in 1945, “It’s Been a Long, Long Time”…it is a post WWII song, written from the perspective of a person welcoming home a loved one at the end of the war…it was recorded by many, and was a “hit” by a number of singers (remember hundreds of thousands of men were coming home, so different singers attracted different people)…but the first was Kitty Kallen and the Harry James orchestra…you can put yourself in the shoes of those who had been waiting during the war for someone to come home…here’s the song…

Another of the many Sammy Cahn songs was written in 1944, during WWII…we were in the midst of the worst of the war and there were many “boys” overseas…this song was from the point of view of a soldier wanting his love to wait for him and her promise to do so…the music is written by Jule Styne…it was a “bittersweet beauty of a song” that came because of the forced separation during the war…it was recorded by Dinah Shore first…but here is a very good recording of it by Martha Tilton…it was a big hit song during that very dark time of the war…and still is sung today…

Sammy Cahn wrote so many that I had a hard time choosing which to include…but I thought WWII would be a good time to pick from…he wrote into the 1970’s and was awarded many awards for his lyrics…including the Academy Award…he wrote a number of songs for Frank Sinatra…in fact the next, and last song, of Sammy Cahn I will include, was introduced by Frank Sinatra…and later by Kathryn Grayson, in “It Happened in Brooklyn”…you will enjoy this one, she has such a beautiful voice…and you will “see” what is behind the song in the film…it’s the “power of film”, I guess…

And since these songs were written, by Sammy Cahn…there have been thousands more written…mostly forgettable songs…and some lasting, but all different…so I guess we will never run out of words and notes…they keep coming…mostly forgettable, yes…but the fact that they keep coming is really something to think about…and for those we remember from of our youth or from our more recent past…they are both part and parcel of who we are…and great songwriters like Sammy Cahn…or Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, Jimmy Van Heusen, Johnny Mercer, Rogers and Hart, Jule Styne and so many hundreds of other from long ago…or right now…all these we remember have made our lives more complete and enjoyable…

And for me, though I was born in 1942…and WWII was over when I turned 3…I don’t remember those times very well…but that war effected me during my growing up years…and the music from that time still amazes me…it’s what helped them through the war…and it’s what I grew up on…and it has left memories that punctuate my thoughts almost everyday…its why I love the music of that time…have a great weekend…

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