[Composer Richard] Rodgers was particularly annoyed by what seemed to him Hammerstein’s dilatory attitude when it came to writing lyrics. So his way of dealing with the situation would be to punish his partner with silence when the long-awaited lyrics finally arrived. One of the most difficult songs Hammerstein everwrote was “Hello, Young Lovers,” a poignant musing about a past love that is one of the high points of THE KING AND I. It took him five weeks of struggle, but he eventually had something he felt proud of. He sent the lyrics by special messenger to Rodgers, with instructions to wait for an answer, but no answer came. After four days, Rodgers called on another matter and, at the very end, said that, by the way, the lyrics were fine. Then he hung up. They were four of the most painful days of Hammerstein’s life. –from SOMEWHERE FOR ME, A BIOGRAPHY OF RICHARD RODGERS, by Meryle Secrest
Of all the pre-R&R songs in popular music with “Hello” in the title, no doubt the one with the most staying power has been Rodgers and Hammerstein’s HELLO, YOUNG LOVERS. Thus, it is with that evergreen that we begin this selection of “Hello” songs:
Next, we turn from ever green to avian blue:
We close with a question (or two or three) for all you lovely ladies out there (but you must play the song to hear the questions):
Yesterday marked the 96th anniversary of the death of the great “colored” comedian Bert Williams, whose humorous 1920 song I WANT TO KNOW WHERE TOSTI WENT (WHEN HE SAID GOODBYE) appeared in my last post. You can learn a bit more about this pioneering black entertainer in the racist America of the late 1800s/early 1900s by clicking here: https://www.loc.gov/item/ihas.200038860/
To commemorate the anniversary of the day Bert Williams said “Goodbye forever,” I thought I would extend that post’s theme with a curtain call of several later “goodbye” songs from America’s Golden Age of Popular Music (if not yet America’s Golden Age of race relations). Just a little something to keep in mind, every time we say goodbye (courtesy of Cole Porter):
So, what’s good about goodbye? I’m glad you asked (courtesy of Harold Arlen):
Perhaps next post, I’ll transition into some ‘hello’ songs. It would help the transfiguration if I could put this song title in reverse:
P.S. The first several readers of this post may have been confused by changes made in the last clip after I posted it. What I initially thought was a clip of another vocalist singing “Hello, My Lover, Goodbye” turned out to be in error, so, left with few choices, I hastily tried to switch to a clip of Doris Day (NOT one of my favorite vocalists) singing the song. After a few ‘haste-makes-waste’ starts, I made the substitution, but probably left a few of you wondering if I hadn’t said goodbye to my mind. But all’s well that ends well (I hope).
There are too many books I haven’t read, too many places I haven’t seen, too many memories I haven’t kept long enough. –Irwin Shaw, playwright, screenwriter, novelist and author of Bury The Dead
The dead have spoken….
but the living have moved on.
Hear their voices left in your mind,
keep their memories in the images
that are reborn in shared solitude.
Who among us has not known the haunting fear,
whispering we might not survive the silence?
I am pleased to announce (as is often said when making an announcement) the proper pairings of birth names with noms de plume listed in Part 1:
Next (as is often said when making another announcement), I am pleased to announce that I have selected the following song from the requests made by readers of Part 1 to be played in Part 2, which I am pleased to announce totaled one request, which was a considerable help in deciding the final choice. So, after much soul searching — not to mention weeping and gnashing of my remaining teeth — here is the request winner:
But wait — there’s more! I have my own favorite song from the list. Composed by Eubie Blake with lyrics by Andy Razaf, here is MEMORIES OF YOU, with vocal refrain:
I close with the 1930 instrumental version played by Eubie Blake & His Orchestra:
If you haven’t been following this series, you don’t know what you’ve been missing (athough some might claim ignorance is bliss). If you are a follower, you may think the humor has been pretty juvenile. This first selection of Part 05 should assuage all concerns:
3 to 1 you now think this series is for the birds….but you ain’t heard nothing yet. Here’s a real turkey:
OK, I don’t need a straw vote to tell me the next selection has nowhere to go but up….
Now that’s what I call ending on a high note (as opposed to starting on a high chair). And so we come to the moment you’ve all been waiting for….
At the end of Part 04 of this series, I said it ain’t over until the fat lady sings, which wouldn’t happen until Part 05. Unfortunately, the fat lady has yet to show (something must be holding her up), so I’ll have to put Part 05 on hold. Meanwhile….
If you’re not having any fun, what’s holding you back? It’s good to let loose. For example….
….and Dance Around in Your Bones.
Think dancing sans skin is a stretch? Mark my words — stranger things have happened:
Getting back to the fat lady, I can feel it in my bones that she’ll show up soon — hopefully, in skin and singing. After all, who ever heard it’s not over until the fat lady dances (the very thought sends shivers down my spine). Verily, the future end of this series hangs in the balance. Give me (Post) five.
The first three posts in this series have been monopolized by guys, so what…do you say we turn to the gals for amusement? What a muse meant by that remark is more songs of the same type, but with ladies leading the way — as with this girl-before-boy title tune:
Beatrice Kay (1907-86), for the benefit of those who have never been to She-boy-gan, Paducah, Elmira, or Tacoma, was a NYC-born singer specializing in parodies of songs which, in some cases, have seen better days — but then, haven’t we all?
The quarrel of the story is that no matter what depths of depravity women fall into, men are to blame for it all (with the possible exception of mistermuse’s male followers). Therefore….
So, men, let us close by resolving to resist lady fingers, she’s-cake and all other such she-nanigans (no matter how tempting), O-Kay? However, this does not mean that Part 04 is the end of this series. If that’s what you were thinking, I have news for youse guys: it’s not over until the fat lady sings. You’ll have to wait 4 Part 05 be4 that happens.