SPRING CLINGING

There’s something bad in everything good: when spring comes, can spring cleaning be far behind? — Evan Esar

Spring has come, but in my sequestered domain, this doesn’t mean spring cleaning must follow. Though my closets be crammed and my drawers be loaded — make that cluttered — I’ll have no problem leaving spring cleaning far behind (even if others stink otherwise).

Now, I’m not saying that spring cleaning doesn’t have its place. For example, it might be worth the bother if you’re young and in love:

Speaking of “young love,” how old do you think the above song is? If you guessed it dates back to the ‘Golden Age’ of popular music (1920s, 30s, 40s), welcome to one of my happy places. If you’re thinking I’m clinging to the best of those romantic old songs out of naught but nostalgia, nothing could be further from the youth — my guileless youth that Father Time gradually re-placed. But suppose the mature me were unable to relate to the ever-young work of, say, Twain, Stevenson and Swift — it wouldn’t be that their writing has become outdated.  I would simply have lost the capacity to appreciate its timelessness.

In like manner, whether it be seen as ‘gilding the lily’ of youth or burnishing the harmony of maturity, I still think of the oldies as younger than springtime….and on that note, I’ll tune out:

 

IT MIGHT AS WELL BE SPRING

In the spring, a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love. –Tennyson

As I write this on the eve (March 19) of posting it on the first day of spring, it might as well be spring because, as a once-upon-a-time young man, I’ve been turning to thoughts of love since I discovered it many springs ago….then I discovered that I hadn’t discovered it, but by then, it was too late to undiscover it. Or something along those lines. Love can be so confusing.

Anyway, like spring itself this year in Ohio, I’m getting a head start. I need time to gather spring songs for this post, an idea which arose out of my time songs post on March 10. But there seem to be even more love(ly) songs with “spring” in the title than with “time” in the title– so many, in fact, that it’s going to be hard to limit my spring song list to fewer than I’d love to share. But at least the title of this post suggests where to start:

For song #2, how about two for the price of one — both “spring” and “time” in one title:

Next, a long-forgotten spring song that’s a particular favorite of mine because its lyrics (by George Marion Jr.) are a marriage of exquisite simplicity and sophistication:

Wouldn’t you know it? Suddenly, the weather is turning colder. Now it looks like….

Well, it could be worse. If you live in the southern hemisphere, spring will not arrive for six more months. Fancy that! Fie on thoughts of love so late 😦 — why should those ‘down under’ wait?

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.

Then be not coy, but use your time.
And while ye may, go marry;
For having lost but once your prime,
You may forever tarry.

–Robert Herrick (1591-1674)

Carpe diem.

IT’S SPRING AGAIN

It’s spring again / And birds on the wing again / Start to sing again / The old melody.   from I LOVE YOU (lyrics and music by Cole Porter)

Yes, fellow (and gal) music lovers, it’s spring again — the season which usually comes unusually late or early every year and seems to inspire the romantic poet in every song writer….or at least it did when the world was more melodic, and composers were Cole Porters at heart. It has been said of Porter that “even in the absence of his melodies, his words distill an unmistakable mixture of poignancy and wit that marks him as a genius of light verse.”*

I think the same can be said, though not always to the same degree of genius, of many song writers from America’s Golden Age of popular music. No matter their individual personalities, their songs — not least, their “spring songs” — betray them as “rank sentimentalists” beneath the surface (in the manner of Captain Renault seeing through Rick in CASABLANCA).

To the point, here’s a sampling of such songs (and their lyricists) from that lost world, followed by clips of recordings sung by voices which may sound strange to generational “foreign-ears,” but as Jimmy Stewart once said of his singing Porter’s EASY TO LOVE in the film BORN TO DANCE, the song’s so good, even he couldn’t mess it up:

SPRING IS HERE (Lorenz Hart) www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFiNQObPxEk

THERE’LL BE ANOTHER SPRING (Peggy Lee) www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1utcGFiXu8

SPRING WILL BE A LITTLE LATE THIS YEAR (Frank Loesser) www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbwRgQ-I_ms

IT SEEMS TO BE SPRING (George Marion Jr.) www.youtube.com/watch?v=Svi45srqhgM

IT MIGHT AS WELL BE SPRING (Oscar Hammerstein II) www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-JLbac6EVE

SPRING, SPRING, SPRING (Johnny Mercer) www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZT6RHkYViOc

*quoted from the dust jacket of Cole Porter, selected lyrics, Robert Kimball, editor