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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Crazy

By Willie Nelson
1961

Arguably the most beloved crossover country hit of them all, this one was composed by a young, unknown singer-songwriter who then went by the name of Hugh Nelson (pictured). After the original artist he pitched it to turned it down, Nelson gave it to the husband of country singer Patsy Cline, who was looking for a follow-up to "I Fall to Pieces". Cline reportedly hated the fast tempo, and slowed it down to ballad form. The result was one of the all-time classic recordings. The song would become a pop and jazz standard as well.

Lyrics:

Crazy, I'm crazy for feeling so lonely.
I'm crazy, crazy for feeling so blue.

I knew you'd love me as long as you wanted,
And then someday you'd leave me for somebody new.

Worry, why do I let myself worry?
Wond'ring what in the world did I do?

Crazy for thinking that my love could hold you.
I'm crazy for trying and crazy for crying,
And I'm crazy for loving you.

Recorded By:

Shirley Bassey
Cassandra Wilson
Norah Jones
Don McLean
Linda Ronstadt

Monday, March 29, 2010

This Could Be the Start of Something

By Steve Allen
1954

Originally written by Allen as part of the score for the TV musical production, The Bachelor, Allen later co-opted it as the theme song for his Tonight Show from 1954 to 1957. It was used until Jack Paar took over. The song has since become a recognizable anthem of a certain era--the hi-fi, "bachelor-pad" swingin' Space Age '50s, when America really did feel like the sky was the limit.

Lyrics:

You're walkin' along the street, or you're at a party,
Or else you're alone and then you suddenly dig,
You're looking' in someone's eyes, you suddenly realize
That this could be the start of something big.

You're lunching at Twenty-One and watchin' your diet,
Declining a charlotte russe, accepting a fig,
When out of a clear blue sky, it's suddenly gal and guy,
And this could be the start of something big.

There's no controlling the unrolling of your fate, my friend,
Who knows what's written in the magic book.
But when a lover you discover at the gate my friend,
Invite her in without a second look.

You're up in an aeroplane or dining at Sardi's,
Or lying at Malibu alone on the sand,
You suddenly hear a bell, and right away you can tell
That this could be the start of something grand.

This could be the start of something very big,
Why don't you play your part?
Please give your heart to me....and see.
This could be the start of something wonderful,
Why don't you take a chance?
Just try romance with me....and see.

Your watchin' the sun come up and countin' your money,
Or else in a dim cafe you're ordering wine,
Then suddenly there he is, and you wanna be where he is,
And this must be the start of something...
This could be the heart of something...
This could be the start of something big.

Recorded By:

Ella Fitzgerald
Tony Bennett
Eydie Gorme
Oscar Peterson
Count Basie

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Get Me to the Church on Time

By Frederick Loewe & Alan Jay Lerner
1956

One of the many memorable and beloved tunes composed by Lerner & Loewe for their smash Broadway hit, My Fair Lady. It's sung by the character of Alfred Dolittle, played by Stanley Holloway in both the stage production and the Oscar-winning 1964 film version. It would become one of the show's very biggest and most endurant hits.

Lyrics:

There's just a few more hours.
That's all the time you've got. A few more hours
Before they tie the knot. Doolittle
There are drinks and girls all over London,
and I've gotta track 'em down in just a few more hours!

I'm getting married in the morning! Ding dong!
The bells are gonna chime. Pull out the stopper!
Let's have a whopper! But get me to the church on time!

I gotta be there in the mornin'
Spruced up and lookin' in me prime.
Girls, come and kiss me;
Show how you'll miss me.
But get me to the church on time!

If I am dancin' Roll up the floor.
If I am whistlin' Whewt me out the door!

For I'm gettin' married in the mornin'
Ding dong! the bells are gonna chime.
Kick up an rumpus, But don't lost the compass;
And get me to the church, Get me to the church,
For Gawd's sake, get me to the church on time!

I'm getting married in the morning,
Ding dong! the bells are gonna chime.
Doolittle Drug me or jail me, Stamp me and mail me.
But get me to the church on time!

I gotta be there in the morning
Spruced up and lookin' in me prime.
Some bloke who's able. Lift up the table,
And get em to the church on time!

If I am flying, Then shoot me down.
If I am wooin',
Get her out of town!

For I'm getting married in the morning!
Ding dong! the bells are gonna chime.
Feather and tar me;
Call out the Army; But get me to the church.
Get me to the church...
For Gawd's sake, get me to the church on time!

Starlight is reelin' home to bed now.
Mornin' is smearin' up the sky. London is wakin'.
Daylight is breakin'. Good luck, old chum,
Good health, goodbye.

I'm gettin' married in the mornin'
Ding dong! the bells are gonna chime...
Hail and salute me Then haul off and boot me...
And get me to the church, Get me to the church...
For Gawd's sake, get me to the church on time!

Recorded By:

Frank Sinatra
Mel Torme
The Brian Setzer Orchestra
Rosemary Clooney
Nat King Cole

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

This Can't Be Love

By Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart
1938

A fine example of the sophisticated wit and melodic gift of the Rodgers/Hart team, this song was introduced on stage by Eddie Albert and Marcy Westcott in the musical The Boys from Syracuse. Bandleaders Eddy Duchin and Benny Goodman had hits with it right after. Hart's typically clever lyric pokes fun at the traditional depictions of love in pop ballads.

Lyrics:

This can't be love, because I feel so well.
No sobs, no sorrows, no sighs.
This can't be love, I get no dizzy spells.
My head is not in the skies.

My heart does not stand still,
Just to repeat,
This is too sweet to be love.
This can't be love because I feel so well,
Yet I long to look into your eyes.

Recorded By:

Ella Fitzgerald
Nat King Cole
Diana Krall
George Shearing
Stacey Kent

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Rainbow Connection

By Paul Williams & Kenneth Ascher
1979

This one's a bit out of my usual jurisdiction in terms of time-frame, but I truly believe this song to be a modern classic that has, without question, become a standard. Written for The Muppet Movie, in which it was sung by Jim Henson as the voice of Kermit the Frog, it stands alongside "Over the Rainbow" and "When You Wish Upon a Star" among the all-time iconic songs derived from children's fantasy film. Wistful, beautiful, timeless.

Lyrics:

Why are there so many
Songs about rainbows,
And what's on the other side?
Rainbow's are visions,
They're only illusions,
And rainbows have nothing to hide.

So we've been told and some chose to believe it,
But I know they're wrong, wait and see.
Someday we'll find it:
The Rainbow Connection,
The lovers, the dreamers and me.

Who said that every wish
Would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star?
Somebody thought of that,
And someone believed it,
And look what it's done so far.

What's so amazing
That keeps us star gazing?
What do we think we might see?
Someday we'll find it:
That Rainbow Connection,
The lovers, the dreamers and me.

Have you been half asleep,
And have you heard voices?
I've heard them calling my name.
Are these the sweet sounds
That called the young sailors?
I think they're one and the same.

I've heard it too many times to ignore it,
It's something that I'm supposed to be.
Someday we'll find it:
The Rainbow Connection,
The lovers, the dreamers and me.

Recorded By:

Johnny Mathis
Vonda Shepard
Jason Mraz
Sarah McLachlan
The Carpenters

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Make Someone Happy

By Jule Styne, Betty Comden & Adolph Green
1960

A wonderful, infectious life-affirming love ballad from the 1960 Broadway production Do Re Mi, in which it was introduced by John Henry Wheeler and Tilda Mullen. It is perhaps best known to modern listeners thanks to the Jimmy Durante version, used during the closing credits of Sleepless in Seattle, and during a 2008 car commercial. A typically gorgeous Styne melody married to the simple, stirring words of Comden & Green.

Lyrics:

Make someone happy,
Make just one someone happy;
Make just one heart the heart you sing to.
One smile that cheers you,
One face that lights when it nears you,
One girl you're ev'rything 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've found her, build your world around her.

Make someone happy,
Make just one someone happy,
And you will be happy, too.

Recorded By:

Barbra Streisand
Perry Como
Frank Sinatra
Chris Botti
Sammy David Jr.

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