These are the songs I picked on my first week, between 27 June and 3 July 2014.
01 FRIDAY 27 JUNE 2014
The Spirit of Adventure – Craig Copeland
I was introduced to this song when I saw the movie “Up” in 2009, and I instantly liked it. Actually, the entire soundtrack of this movie is a masterpiece. Effortless, yet multi-layered, this Academy Award-winning score by Michael Giacchino no doubt will be regarded in the future as one of the greatest scores of this early century.
When I chose this song, I hadn’t created any of the playlists yet. I picked it that day at the gym after I read the “Packing for a Long Trip” chapter on Jane Pauley’s book. I decided to include it perhaps with the idea of what the year ahead had in store for me or how special I would make the next 12 months. There may not be any big adventures, but no doubt that the catchy and inviting syncopation of the melody made me believe at that moment of a great year full of possibilities.
Song Title: The Spirit of Adventure – 2009 Genre: Soundtrack Artist: Craig Copeland Composer: Michael Giacchino Lyricist: Michael Giacchino Album: Up (Original Soundtrack)
Favourite Lyrics: I can’t wait another day / for my life to waste away.
02 SATURDAY 28 JUNE 2014
Proud of Your Boy – Adam Jacobs
I’m the first one surprised to have included this song, considering that it had only been in my iTunes library for barely a month when I chose it.
Cut from Aladdin, the Disney animated film from 1992. I was first introduced to Proud Of Your Boy in 2004 when Clay Aiken’s music video of the song was included in the extras of Aladdin’s Special DVD Edition. The song has been reinserted in the story for the Broadway show, which is where the version I include on this list.
I guessed I chose Proud Of Your Boy for my parents; I picked it the day after my birthday, the day my parents called to wish me a happy birthday. They always do that. They never call on my actual birthday, but the following day. Not because they forget or anything, that’s the 27th in Venezuela.
After all the years I’ve been in New Zealand, they still can’t figure out when to call me for my birthday. As the day approaches my mother asks me when they should call me, on the 26th, the 27th or the 28th. I can hear my father in the background telling her they should call me when in Venezuela is the 26th, but my mother doesn’t agree. He insists that according to one of the clocks of his mobile phone, which is set to the New Zealand’s official time, that is when they should call, on the 26th. I let them finish their debate, which can become lively at times. They decide to call me when in Venezuela is the 27th, which in reality is the day I was born. I say that will be fine.
It’s like that every year, same thing every year, and the funny thing is that other times they have perfectly understood the time difference between Venezuela and New Zealand. I can call them on a Friday evening, and they now right away that is Saturday morning in New Zealand.
On that day, 28 June, Proud of Your Boy took me back to the days when I was a kid, and either my mother or father tucked me in bed every night. I always asked them to stick around longer to have a little chit-chat. Sometimes they would tell me stories from their childhood, or we would just make plans for the future. Those were such lovely times.
Link: Proud Of Your Boy Demo
Song Title: Proud of Your Boy – 1992 Genre: Soundtrack Artist: Adam Jacobs Composer: Alan Menken Lyricist: Howard Ashman Album: Aladdin (Original Broadway Cast Recording)
Favourite Lyrics: I’ll do my best, what else can I do? / Since I wasn’t born perfect like Dad or you.
Runners Up: City Lights • Take Off With Us
03 SUNDAY 29 JUNE 2014
Long Ago And Far Away – Helen Forrest, Dick Haymes
I present you the first song on the list to have peaked at number 2 on the Billboard charts. It was also nominated for an Academy Award in 1944.
Long Ago and Far Away was introduced by Rita Hayworth and Gene Kelly in the 1944’s film “Cover Girl” (one of my all-time favourite musicals) I’m not sure if Rita did her own singing, though. Some sites report a Martha Mears or a Nan Wynn as the real singer.
I’m certain I first heard it in the late 1980s when I caught the movie late one night. The next time they showed it, I recorded it on a Betamax tape. Watching this film was the first time I can recall becoming familiar with Jerome Kern’s music and Ira Gershwin’s lyrics. Writing lyrics to Kern’s music was one of Ira’s first projects after his brother George’s death.
It wasn’t until I moved to the United States that I discovered other versions of the song. The version that I’ve included in the list is the Helen Forest & Dick Haymes’ cover, which is the one that stayed on the Billboard for 11 weeks.
Long Ago and Far Away became one of my favourite scene in the movie. The idea that there is one particular person predestined for you; someone you can dream of, and who will be easy to recognise when you meet him, gave me hope. Such fate seemed so attainable for a man my age that I was certain that was how I would eventually find my pre-destined true love.
Although many years would go by before I figured out that there is no such thing as the one, this is still the one song I’d love to dance at my wedding.
Song Title: Long Ago And Far Away – 1944 Genre: Soundtrack Artists: Helen Forrest & Dick Haymes Composer: Jerome Kern Lyricist: Ira Gershwin Album: American Songbook Series: Jerome Kern
Favourite Lyrics: Just one look and then I knew / That all I longed for long ago was you.
Runners Up: Vivaldi Concerto in G • The Song is You
04 MONDAY 30 JUNE 2014
The Way You Look Tonight – Teddi King
Another Jerome Kern’s song, The Way You Look Tonight is perhaps one the most popular songs from the 1930s, many artists have recorded it. I don’t think I need to elaborate much on this pick, how could I not include it? I’m sure other covers of this one will be included on this list.
Song Title: The Way You Look Tonight – 1936 Genre: Soundtrack Artist: Teddi King Composer: Jerome Kern Lyricist: Dorothy Fields Album: American Songbook Series: Jerome Kern
Favourite Lyrics: With each word your tenderness grows, / Tearing my fears apart / And that laugh that wrinkles your nose, / Touches my foolish heart.
Runners Up: All the Things You Are • La Gata Bajo la Lluvia • I Begged Her • The Worry Song • There Goes the Ball Game/How Lucky Can You Get
05 TUESDAY 1 JULY 2014
Maybe – Alicia Morton
This one brings back good memories. Although I only became familiar with the musical Annie in 2011, I had seen the movie in 1982 and had found Carol Burnett to be the only enjoyable aspect of the movie. I should mention that many years later I discovered the merits of the film, after all, it was directed by John Huston. Of all the songs I found Maybe to be my favourite, I thought the melody was so pretty.
Let’s go back to 1987. Part of the thesis project to earn my degree in Psychology, my first career, involved the making of an episodic video series for children. The objective of the program was to increase creativity in children between the ages of 8 and 10. So, I wrote eight half-hour scripts and cast all my cousins (the ones born in the 1970s,) and three adults (they were only 22). I hired a video crew, got a musical director, choreographer, a friend keyboardist, and turned my parents’ house into a TV studio. Think of it as a cross between community access TV and a 1980s Latino version of the quintessential Judy-and-Mickey-let’s-put-a-show-together.
The story revolved around a group of siblings who had a kids’ TV show called “The Sound of Colour”. Along with the eldest son’s girlfriend and their cleaning lady/nanny, they entertained and educated children every afternoon. By the time we meet the characters the show is presenting a cycle dedicated to “Humankind and its Ingenuity”. Kind of teaching kids to be creative by example.
Are you still with me? If you didn’t have any questions before reading the previous paragraph, I’m sure you may have a few now. Everything will be clear eventually. For now, all you need to know is that there was plenty of singing and dancing.
The plan was rather simple. I was to write lyrics for the songs, and then a friend was to compose the music. Using pre-existing songs as an inspiration, I wrote lyrics to the songs I wanted for my show. I guess you’re starting to see where I’m going with this. Maybe was one of the existing songs that served as inspiration for the show. After I had written the lyrics, I passed them on to my friend along with an audio tape that had all the songs where I had found the inspiration for the lyrics. However, my friend couldn’t come up with new music for my lyrics, so I had to use the original Maybe melody with my newly minted lyrics. I know, I know, major copyright infringement, but what was I supposed to do? (Sorry, Mr Strouse.)
So, on the last episode, an eight-year-old girl had to lip-synch to a song recorded by an 18-year-old woman pretending to be a child. (Oh, don’t be so judgemental. Many stars from M.G.M. were dubbed during post-production). In the end, none of the actors did their own singing. Besides having terrible voices, we had a scheduling conflict. The day the sound studio became available; they were learning their dance routines with the choreographer. (I just realised how pretentious that sounds, but I swear that was the case.)
More than 25 years have gone by, and I wish I could remember the exact lyrics, they were so pretty, and … Who am I kidding? I’ve never forgotten the lyrics to the songs I wrote for the project. The lyrics I wrote for Maybe went like this, in Spanish of course. It is always like this; you have to dream and work hard to get something, but you should also consider that in the end, it will be worthwhile. At night when you dream, a world you shall create that will become useful [for some], maybe. Lyrics made more sense in Spanish, trust me.
Song Title: Maybe – 1977 Genre: Musical Artist: Alicia Morton Composer: Charles Strouse Lyricist: Martin Charnin Album: Annie (TV Original Soundtrack)
Favourite Lyrics: So maybe now it’s time / And maybe when I wake / They’ll be there calling me “Baby”… / Maybe.
Runner Up: NYC
06 WEDNESDAY 2 JULY 2014
Coney Island – Amanda Balon, Gary Beach, Harve Presnell, Kathie Lee Gifford, Shelly Burch
Probably not too many people have heard this song, and even fewer people may know that it comes from the sequel to the musical “Annie”.
A Broadway-bound musical, “Annie 2: Miss Hannigan’s Revenge” opened in December 1989 in Washington DC, and closed before the end of January 1990. It never made it to Broadway, and it is so obscure that it doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page.
As I mentioned before, I only became familiar with “Annie” in 2011. I never paid much attention to it because I always thought of it as a children’s musical. One day I heard “NYC”, also from “Annie”, and loved it. So, I went to iTunes and previewed the 30th Anniversary Cast Recording, liked it and decided to buy it. I thought it was a very smart musical where every song worked perfectly in every situation. I wondered why I never dug it.
Included in the anniversary CD, there was a recording of “Annie 2: Miss Hannigan’s Revenge”. Coney Island jumped out of my iPod the first time I heard it.
As a video editor, I’m constantly exercising my visual pacing, and there are certain songs that not only take me places, but they take me through paths that I didn’t expect to go down. I’ll explain myself.
When I was 13, my parents went to Paris for a week or so and came back with a record of the Cabaret Lido. The Lido’s 1978 show was called Allez Lido! I fell in love with the album and listened to it regularly. That was the time I started playing with images and movement in my head. I would sit in our family room, close my eyes and just let the music of Cabaret Lido guide me through an edit. Combining long shots, medium shots, and close-ups I would cut the musical numbers in my head. From then on, I got into the habit of editing musical numbers in my head, every time I listened to music.
If I can’t see an edit in my head when I hear a song, it is very unlikely I’ll listen to that song again.
Now and then there are songs that challenge me. Coney Island is one of them. I liked it right away, but it took me some time before I could start cutting a sequence in my head. The song has one of the most gorgeous bridges I’ve heard in a long time. When you think you’re going in one direction, the arrangements change and take you down a different path, and there’s also plenty of room to insert little shots and details while you are it. During the first times I listened to it, I imagined how Bob Fosse would have choreographed it.
I can see the Coney Island influence on my work as an editor and motion graphic artist in the last three years.
Song Title: Coney Island – 1989 Genre: Musical Artists: Amanda Balon, Gary Beach, Harve Presnell, Kathie Lee Gifford, Shelly Burch Composer: Charles Strouse Lyricist: Martin Charnin Album: Annie (The Broadway Musical 30th Anniversary Cast Recording)
Favourite Lyrics: I’ll betcha you’ll be glad you came / ‘cause you’ll never come back the same.
Runners Up: You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile • You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile (reprise)
07 THURSDAY 3 JULY 2014
Who Do You Love, I Hope – Andrew Palermo, Nicole Ruth Snelson
This song, from “Annie Get Your Gun”, is the first Irving Berlin song on this list. I’m sure I’ll include a lot of his work. I came to know his work when I was 15 and got hooked.
I’ve always thought Who Do You Love, I Hope was very cute and catchy, particularly the version that made it to this list. It comes from the 1999 Broadway revival starring Bernadette Peters. This particular production introduced many changes to the production including new orchestrations, which I guess is what I like this particular version better.
Song Title: Who Do You Love, I Hope – 1946 Genre: Musical Artist: Andrew Palermo, Nicole Ruth Snelson Composer: Irving Berlin Lyricist: Irving Berlin Album: Annie Get Your Gun – The New Broadway Cast Recording
Favourite Lyrics: Is it the blondie who acted so shy / I heard the things that she said / Is it the redhead who gave you the eye / Say that it is and you’re dead.
Runner Up: There’s No Business Like Show Business