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Saturday, August 2, 2008

Midnight Sun

By Lionel Hampton, Sonny Burke & Johnny Mercer
1947

The title of this jazz composition is a reference to the phenomenon that takes place in northern Norway for one month during each summer, in which the sun does not fully set, but rather hovers over the horizon through the night. Originally an instrumental by the Hampton Orchestra, this song got its very own lyrics in 1954 when Mercer, hearing the tune on his car radio while motoring down an L.A. freeway, wrote words for it as he drove.

Lyrics:

Your lips were like a red and ruby chalice,
Warmer than the summer night.
The clouds were like an alabaster palace,
Rising to a snowy height.
Each star, its own aurora borealis,
Suddenly you held me tight.
I could see the midnight sun.

I can't explain the silver rain that found me--
Or was that a moonlit vale?
The music of the universe around me,
Or was that a nightingale?
And then your arms miraculously found me,
Suddenly the sky turned pale.
I could see the midnight sun.

Was there such a night?
It's a thrill I still don't quite believe.
But after you were gone,
There was still some stardust on my sleeve.

The flame of it may dwindle to an ember,
And the stars forget to shine.
And we may see the meadow in December,
Icy white and crystalline.
But oh, my darling always I'll remember
When your lips were close to mine.
And we saw the midnight sun.

Recorded By:

Ella Fitzgerald
Jo Stafford
Sarah Vaughan
Lionel Hampton
Carmen McRae

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