How many of us have discovered pastimes and hobbies to fill the time while we go through this difficult time?
Things that have a calming effect amidst all the uproar swirling around us.
Maybe things we’ll continue to do after this thing is all over.
That may not be a bad thing.
Since this is my space, I can reveal some of my activities.
Actually, they are things I have done over the years without having to spend my time sequestering myself in an effort to help bring about an end to the current nightmare.
When people have asked, I have always told them that broadcasting sports events was what I do, not who I am.
I am a voracious reader of mystery and spy novels. I can lose myself watching old films on Turner Classic Movies.
In fact, I appreciate all good movies, and series on the various digital networks.
As I have written in the past, I love music. I adore the classic standards, great show tunes, and the popular music of my time. I basically taught myself to play the piano. I can’t play by ear. I wish I could. But I can read music and as a result I possess over a thousand pieces of sheet music.
I’m an old-fashioned guy, who is lucky to be married to an old-fashioned gal who appreciates those standards.
I often play and sing to her. She listens attentively. But the drinking glass I put on the top of the piano is always empty of tips when I am done.
Music, of course, is about the melody and the lyrics. You can’t have a classic song without both being first-rate.
People hum tunes that stick with them. I find that those who do are happy souls.
There are hundreds of great song writers who penned memorable songs which have lasted for an eternity.
They seem to be the more famous of the duo who write tunes. That’s if one isn’t writing both.
The list is unlimited.
And if you’re an old soul, you know who they are.
But I find the words are magic.
Being someone who appreciates the written word, I am drawn to those who write the lyrics. Some, you would know, many of them you would not.
So at this point, I would like to re-print just some, of the memorable, and poignant words that help make up a song.
I think the timing may be right for this.
“What are you doing the rest of your life? North and south and east and west of your life? I have only one request of your life…that you spend it all with me. All the seasons and the times of your days, All the nickels and the dimes of your days, Let the reasons and the rhymes of your days, All begin and end with me”
Alan and Marilyn Bergman – “What Are You Doing the Rest Of Your Life” (music by Michel Legrand) [click to listen]
“What the world needs now is love sweet love, It’s the only things that there’s just too little of, What the world needs now is love sweet love, No, not just for some, but for everyone”
Hal David – “What The World Needs Now Is Love” (music by Burt Bacharach) [Click to listen]
And another from that great duo.
“What’s it all about, Alfie? Is it just for the moment we live? What’s it all about when you sort it all about Alfie? Are we meant to take more than we give, or are we meant to be kind? And if only fools are kind, Alfie, then I guess it is wise to be cruel. And if life belongs only to the strong, Alfie. what would you lend on an old golden rule? As sure as I believe, there’s a heaven above, Alfie, I know there’s something much more, Something even non-believers can believe in, I believe in love, Alfie. without true love we just exist, Alfie. Until you find the love you’ve missed you’re nothing. Alfie. When you walk let your heart lead the way and you’ll find love any day. Alfie……Alfie”. [click to listen]
Burt Bacharach, Dionne Warwick and Hal David
“Make someone happy, make just someone happy, Make just one heart that heart you sing to. One smile that cheers you, one face that lights when it nears you, One girl (man) you’re everything to. Fame, if you win it, comes and goes in a minute, Where’s the real stuff in life to cling to?
Love is the answer, someone to love is the answer, Once you found her (him) build your world around her (him),
Make someone happy, make just someone happy, and you, will be happy too”
Betty Comden and Adolph Green – “Make Someone Happy” (music by Jule Styne) [click to listen]
“My Romance doesn’t have to have a moon in the sky, My Romance doesn’t need a blue lagoon standing by; no month of May, no twinkling stars, no hideaway, no soft guitars. My Romance doesn’t need a castle rising in Spain, nor a dance to a constantly surprising refrain. Wide awake I can make my most fantastic dreams come true; My Romance doesn’t need a thing but you”
Lorenz Hart – “My Romance” (music by Richard Rodgers) [click to listen]
Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart
The following lyrics were all written by the same person. Johnny Mercer.
Many would argue that he just might be the finest, most prolific lyricist of all time. I wouldn’t disagree, even though it is folly to actually rate these brilliant writers. We can’t even begin to list them. It’s all in the ear of the beholder.
So here goes:
“Moon River, wilder than a mile: I’m crossin’ you in style some day. Old dream-maker, you heart-breaker, wherever you’re goin’, I’m goin’ your way: Two drifters, off to the see the world. There’s such a lot of world to see. We’re after the same rainbow’s end, waitin’ round the bend, my Huckleberry friend, Moon River and me”
“Moon River” (music by Henry Mancini) [click to listen]
“It’s a quarter to three. There’s no one in the place except you and me, So set ’em up Joe, I’ve got a little story you ought to know, We’re drinking, my friend, To the end of a brief episode, Make it One For My Baby and one more for the road……You’d never know it, But Buddy, I’m a kind of poet and I’ve gotta lotta things to say, And when I’m gloomy, You simply gotta listen to me, Until it’s talked away, Well, that’s how it goes and Joe I know you’re getting anxious to close, So thanks for the cheer, I hope you didn’t mind my bending your ear………”
“One For My Baby” (music by Harold Arlen) [click to listen]
“Skylark, Have you anything to say to me? Won’t you tell me where my love can be? Is there a meadow in the mist, Where someone’s waiting to be kissed?…..And in your lonely flight, Haven’t you heard the music in the night, Wonderful music, Faint as a ‘will o’ the wisp’, Crazy as a loon, Sad as a gypsy serenading the moon. Oh, Skylark, I don’t know if I can find these things, But my heart is riding on your wings, So if you see them anywhere, Won’t you lead me there?”
“Skylark” (music by Hoagy Carmichael) [click to listen]
I’ll wrap this up with three of my favorites from a 60’s Broadway show, “The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd“.
The words and music were written by Leslie Briscusse and Anthony Newley. You may remember Newley as an accomplished singer as well. They collaborated on both elements of the songs.
Anthony Newley and Leslie Briscusse
“Bird flying high, You know how I feel. Sun in the sky, You know how I feel. Breeze drifting by, You know how I feel, It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me, Feeling Good….Dragon fly out in the sun, You know what I mean. Butterflies all having fun, You know what I mean.
Sleep in peace when day is done, That’s what I mean. And this old world is a new world and a bold world, for me. Stars when you shine, You know how I feel. Scent of the pine, You know how I feel.
Freedom is mine, I know how I feel, It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life, for me Feeling good”.
“Feeling Good” [click to listen]
“Look At That Face just look at it, Look at that fabulous face of yours I knew first look I took at it, This was the face the world adores. Look at those eyes as wise and as deep as the sea, Look at that nose it shows what a nose should be. As for your smile it’s lyrical. Friendly and warm as the summer’s day. That face is just a miracle. Where could I ever find words to say, the way that it makes me happy whatever the time or place? I’ll find in no book what I find when I Look At That Face”.
“Look At That Face” [click to listen]
Finally, one of the songs from that show that will likely be the first I will play and sing when this brutal time is over.
It’s ready to go, whenever the dust finally clears.
“On a wonderful day like today I defy any cloud to appear in the sky. Dare any raindrops to plop in my eye On a wonderful day like today. On a wonderful morning like this I could kiss everybody I’m so full of love and good will.
Let me say further more I’d adore everybody to come and dine, The pleasure’s mine, And I will pay the bill.
May I take this occasion to say that the whole human race should get down on its knees, Show that we’re grateful for mornings like these, For the world’s in as wonderful way, On a wonderful day like today”.
“A Wonderful Day Like Today” [click to listen]
Let me make something clear.
I have listed the lyrics of just some of the songs I play and sing. There are about a hundred more and they are by no means the greatest ever written.
Some of them would be considered as such.
They are from a certain era. There are fabulous lyrics written before and after the timeline I’ve chosen here.
For example, Leonard Cohen, who wrote “Hallelujah”, Bob Dylan, Smokey Robinson, Joni Mitchell, Stephen Sondheim, Paul Simon, who I knew at one point, and Ira Gershwin are merely a few of the remarkable people who have brightened everyone’s lives.
I hope some of you were able to smile at many of the lyrics I’ve passed along.
I admit that most of them have been love songs, but considering I’m kind of a romantic, please understand.
I remain looking forward to “A Wonderful Day Like Today” sooner, than later.