Tagged: popular songs of the 1930s-40s Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • mistermuse 12:19 am on January 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter, , , popular songs of the 1930s-40s,   

    JAZZ FOR LAUGHS (PART 02) 

    Part 02 is such sweet sorrow,
    I could not wait till it be morrow
    To bring to you 02 before
    I bring to you Parts 03 and 04.
    Beyond 04 I cannot see,
    But two to one it won’t be 03.

    It’s not every day you see a poem co-authored by Shakespeare and Mistermuse….or a post about a man (Fats Waller) who was born in May and died in December, three days after my previous post featured a man (Spike Jones) who was born in December and died in May. A bit odd, perhaps, but hardly more noteworthy than a May-December romance….so, just for laughs, let’s call it a May-December Much Ado About Nothing.

    Thomas “Fats” Waller, for those whose knowledge of jazz history is thin, was born May 21, 1904 in NYC. His father, a minister, was strict and tried to restrict his son to church music, but Fats was more attracted to popular music, and after his mother died, he moved in with a man who befriended him, stride pianist James P. Johnson. At age 15, Waller was hired by the Lincoln Theatre as house organist, providing improvisational background music for silent movies. Thus began his career as one of the most beloved jazz musicians and prolific song writers of his time, ending with his premature death at age 39.

    Perhaps Waller is best remembered (if at all) for is his jovial personality and humorous way with popular songs such as this….

    ….and this:

    But Fats could do ’em straight, too, as with this 1936 classic:

    It’s only fitting to close with his 1929 composition and most famous song, which he often performed tongue-in-cheek, but took (mostly) seriously here:

    Until the next post in this series, behave yourself.

     

     
    • Don Frankel 10:44 am on January 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      The Muse and The Bard is to me like George and Ira or Oscar and Lorenz. I know I told you that I saw ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’ on Broadway and it’s a great musical. There are not too many people whose lives are rich enough to make a musical about but Fats Waller’s was.

      Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 12:11 pm on January 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you, Don. Measure for Measure, that’s the best compliment I’ve had since the Twelfth Night of my marriage, which was 49 years ago.

        You did indeed tell me you saw AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’ on Broadway, and you’re absolutely right about Fats Waller’s life. To quote jazz author Warren Vaché: “Fats Waller died tragically young. Although he left us a priceless heritage of songs that will be appreciated by generations to come, we will never know how much greater that heritage might have been if he had lived longer.”

        Liked by 1 person

    • RMW 1:14 pm on January 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Had no idea Fats Waller died so young… considering he was such an American icon and had such an influence on music, I always imagined him living well into old age.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 2:42 pm on January 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        You might say that Fats ‘lived large’ in his short life, eating and drinking like there’s no tomorrow….until one day in his 39th year, there WAS no tomorrow. But he remains a bigger-than-life figure to this day, and rightly so.

        Liked by 1 person

    • literaryeyes 6:04 pm on January 31, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      The piano work in Ain’t Misbehaving is beautiful. These songs are like jazz and blues waltzing down the avenue. Serious and fun, just like Mr. Muse.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 6:37 pm on January 31, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you, Mary. Not to make Don Frankel jealous, but you just tied (the first sentence in his comment) for best compliment. On second thought, I’ll give you the edge because a gentleman should always defer to a lady (before de fur flies). 🙂

        Like

  • mistermuse 5:37 pm on February 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , popular songs of the 1930s-40s, , ,   

    A DISTANT RAINBOW 

    Once upon a time, in a sepia-toned place called Kansas (before landing in the colorful and Merry Old Land of Oz), a girl by the name of Dorothy sang a song called OVER THE RAINBOW. We all (many of us, at any rate) know who sang that song in the film, but the man who composed it is now long past recognition by almost all. He was born on this day (Feb. 15, 1905), and his name was Harold Arlen. This post is simply an appreciation of the man and his music, each of which encompasses much more than one man and one song….for, in those days, popular songs generally did not live by melody alone and were not born of one person alone. Composers/songs needed lyricists/words.

    Arlen himself (according to biographer Edward Jablonski) acknowledged that words – even the title – were just as important as the melody, often saying that “A good lyric writer is the composer’s best friend.” The lyricists who collaborated with Arlen were among the best in the business: Ira Gershwin, Ted Koehler, Johnny Mercer, E.Y.”Yip” Harburg….and the songs they wrote were among the best in popular music history (many of them done for movies and Broadway shows). Here are some of them:

    1930 – GET HAPPY
    1931 – BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA
    1932 – I’VE GOT THE WORLD ON A STRING
    1933 – IT’S ONLY A PAPER MOON; LET’S FALL IN LOVE; STORMY WEATHER
    1934 – ILL WIND
    1935 – LAST NIGHT WHEN WE WERE YOUNG
    1939 – OVER THE RAINBOW; WE’RE OFF TO SEE THE WIZARD; DING-DONG THE WITCH IS DEAD
    1941 – BLUES IN THE NIGHT
    1942 – THAT OLD BLACK MAGIC
    1944 – AC-CENT-CHU-ATE THE POSITIVE

    But even those who remember Harold Arlen the composer probably do not know that he was also a fine singer who made a number of recordings, such as this one in 1933:

    Harold Arlen died April 23, 1986, but his music should never die.

     
    • arekhill1 6:57 pm on February 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      If I only had a brain, I’d write something wittier here.

      Like

    • mistermuse 7:13 pm on February 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I’d try to respond in kind, Ricardo, but I’d only be grasping at straws.

      Like

    • Michaeline Montezinos 11:44 pm on February 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      As I listened to this beautiful voice singing one of many of my favorite songs you had listed, I think I fell into love all over again with this rich and lovely music. Have seen the movie many times. Thank you, mistermuse for awaking the romantic in my soul. It is so sad that Harold Arlen could not become a great vocalist. He certainly deserved that in addition to his career as a lyricist.

      Like

    • Joseph Nebus 12:26 am on February 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Boy, that is a heck of a list of songs, ins’t it?

      Like

    • scifihammy 12:42 am on February 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      While I know most of the songs you list, it is as you say, I did not know the composer. Thanks for the enlightenment 🙂

      Like

    • mistermuse 6:26 am on February 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      “They don’t make ’em like that anymore.” Thank all of you for your comments.

      Like

    • Don Frankel 10:29 am on February 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      You know I remember seeing on TV an older Yip Harburg sitting at a Piano and explaining how he came up with the lyric for Somewhere Over The Rainbow. He played the opening notes on the Piano and showed how he kept thinking of the sound and then how “Somewhere” just seemed to pop out so naturally. It was fascinating.

      Like

    • mistermuse 11:39 am on February 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Don, the story of Harbug’s and Arlen’s writing the score for THE WIZARD OF OZ and their difficulties with”Over the Rainbow” is indeed fascinating. My Jan.13 2014 post RAINBOWS FOR CHRISTMAS covers it in some detail, for those interested. Just click January 2014 in the “Archives” column to the right, and scroll down to Jan. 13.

      Like

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