And then there was just one left. Here we are, the 365th song, the last song on the list.
If you read last week’s entry and thought that was the end of the series, you were not mistaken. I’m just using this last song to bid adieu and thank the dozens of people who followed me for the last few months.
Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes; well, more like five hundred fifteen thousand five hundred and twenty minutes. That is the number of minutes that have gone by since I started this project almost a year ago. As I prepared for the last entries on the list, I wanted to start the last week with this song.
It’s been a fascinating year. Nothing overly exciting has happened, but it’s been quite eventful nonetheless. The fact that I was able to commit for a year and a half to not only creating the list but to doing write ups about each song is a feat itself.
A Musical – Brad Oscar, Brian d’Arcy James, Ensemble
A Musical, a love letter to the genre, is full of references from popular musicals. When the song came out, I saw a headline on a website claiming something like: “You’ll never guess the references to other musicals this song has” or something along those lines. I can’t remember the site, but it was probably the Huffington Post. They love those “dare-you”-attention-grabbing headlines. I took their dare. I listened to the song and had no trouble finding all the references. It wasn’t hard at all. In a way I felt like those geeks who love “Star Wars/Trek” and know every single detail of the franchises, I realised that I may have more in common with them that I ever thought. Don’t get me wrong; that won’t stop me from still making fun of them.
Private Idaho belongs to a group of songs that I went ahead and fetched from iTunes because they represent an era. This time, the early 1980s.
As I was becoming a young man, the mission was to be cool. To achieve that, some steps had to be taken. First, I had to lose weight. Chub and cool were never used in the same sentence in those days. Actually, neither it’s the case today. Anyway, I lost like 15 kilos, started to wear nice clothes designed for thin people, karate became my sport, and Marlboros 100 was the choice when it came to smoking. Talk about being cool, eh? I was the ‘cats meow’. Then again, I ask you, could a guy who still describes himself as the ‘cats meow’ in 2015 be cool at all? I’d say no. Neither in 2015 nor in 1981, for that matter.
This entry seems to come out of left field. I never thought I would be including a track in this style. However, I was cyber shopping in iTunes one evening, trying to see if I could recognise any song from the past when Just Once jumped at me. It just brought such good memories of a time when I was leaving my childhood and I was entering my young adulthood years.
Additionally at 16, and I’m about to toot my own horn, I was able to hit the same notes that James Ingram did on the song. At this age, I was already showing signs of disregard for any form of pop music and Just Once was one of the few that I knew. Whenever people talked about new music, I was clueless for the most part. So, I created a little routine for those instances.
E.L. Doctorow’s 1975 masterpiece, “Ragtime”, got its musical treatment in the late 1990s. It seemed appropriate to close the 20th century with such extraordinary story that flawlessly mixed historical figures with fictional characters.
When I first read the novel, I was blown away by Doctorow’s prose. It fascinated me how easily he intertwined real historical figures like Emma Goldman, Harry Houdini and Henry Ford with fictional characters. After finishing the novel, I stayed in a haze. I just couldn’t shake off the stories; they stayed with me for a long time.
NYC – Alicia Morton, Audra McDonald, Victor Garber, Andrea McArdle
You would think that this is a song I would have placed on the list sooner. The thing is that I have five or six versions of this song in my iTunes Library. I’ve settled for this one, from the 1999 TV movie because it features Victor Garber, an actor who is so easy to watch, and Audra McDonald – I haven’t included enough of her on the list.
On an earlier entry, I wrote about how despite Annie being a very popular show since the 1970s, it was only in 2011 that I discovered the musical. I always thought it was a kid’s show, but I was very surprised to find out how smart it was.
I always saw my maternal grandparents as individual beings. They were just “Abuela” and “Abuelo”. I never saw them as a couple. They were so different that I’ve always wondered what brought them together.
My grandfather Domingo was a peculiar fellow, to say the least. There are stories of him that, to this day, my mother and aunt can still marvel when they reminisce. If the guy felt he was low on iron, he’d put iron nails on a glass of water, let them soak overnight, and drink the water the next morning. It was a practical way to get his iron dosage, he’d argue. Were there any pesky ghosts or apparitions disturbing your peace at home? Not a problem. As a self-taught scholar of spiritualism and founding member of “La Sociedad Espiritista de Maracaibo”, he could organise a séance at a short notice to get all paranormal activity under control at your home.
God bless Liza! The woman has had her ups and downs for most of her career. Her struggles with drug addiction and alcohol dependency have been well documented by the press. However, there’s no doubt La Minnelli got her mother’s performing genes. Just like Judy Garland did on her day, Liza has always managed to leave her demons behind every now and then just to give her audience some amazing live performances. Case in point, “Liza’s At the Palace”.
The Dance Sequence (It’s De-Lovely/Anything Goes/There’s Nothing Like Swimming/I’ve Got You Under My Skin/Get Out of Town/I’ve Got My Eyes on You/You’re the Top) – Orchestra
This isn’t the first time I include a cut from this gorgeous soundtrack. Mostly like with “The Grotto” (See Week 09 – 57. Friday 22 August 2014), The Dance Sequence is a medley of Cole Porter’s songs used in the 1982 film “Evil Under the Sun.” The Agatha Christie mystery featured many stars, among them Peter Ustinov, Maggie Smith, Roddy McDowell and Diana Rigg. The fabulous piece is used to show a montage of the whereabouts of all the characters when a glamorous star is murdered on the beach. Throughout the film, a particular Porter song is used a character’s theme, and at this moment, all the tunes come together to frame the movie sequence. The superb arrangement comes courtesy of John Lanchberry, who is the only arranger I’ve given credit on this list.