Monthly Archives: September 2013

Show Me!

I Dream of You by Charlotte Lawson

I Dream of You
by Charlotte Lawson

When Eliza Doolittle launches into her musical tirade against Freddy Eynsford-Hill in Alan Jay Lerner’s and Frederick Loewe’s My Fair Lady, the audience is treated to one of the great moments in the musical theater. Eliza sings of her irritation with Freddy, her new suitor, in the following lyrics:
Words! Words! Words!
I’m so sick of words!
I get words all day through;
First from him, now from you!
Is that all you blighters can do?

Eliza follows her tirade with a plea to be shown Freddy’s feelings via actions instead of just his talking about how he feels about her. “Show me,” sings Eliza. Her song is a great song and a show-stopper.

I Dream of You (More Than You Dream I Do), a song written by Marjorie Goetschius and Edna Osser and published in 1944 is a song that addresses this same subject. The song concerns a dilemma that just about every couple in love has faced, namely, convincing the other that one’s love is real. Though the song was written in a different era, it could just as easily have been sung by Freddy Eynford-Hill in response to Eliza Doolittle’s challenge of “Show me!” The poor love-sick voice states his case with these words:
You’re completely unaware, dear
That my heart is in your hand
So for love’s sake won’t you listen
And try to understand

I dream of you, more than you dream I do
How can I prove to you this love is real

You’re mean to me, more than you mean to be
You just can’t seem to see the way I feel

When I am close to you, the world is far away
The words that fill my heart my lips can’t seem to say

I want you so, more than you’ll ever know
More than you dream I do, I dream of you

Charted versions were recorded by Andy Russell, by Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra, by Frank Sinatra, and by Perry Como.
The recording by Andy Russell was released by Capitol Records It first reached the Billboard magazine charts on 21 December 1944 and lasted 3 weeks on the chart, peaking at #5.
The recording by Tommy Dorsey was also made in 1944 and reached the Billboard charts in December of that year and lasted 8 weeks on the chart, peaking at #4.
The recording by Frank Sinatra first reached the Billboard magazine charts on 18 January 1945 and lasted 4 weeks on the chart, peaking at #7.
The recording by Perry Como was made on 8 December1944 and reached the Billboard magazine charts on 18 January1945 and lasted 1 week on the chart, at #10.

To listen to a version of the song, click on the song title. To download a song, right click on the song title, then right click on Save target as
Charted versions
Andy Russell I Dream of You
Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra, vocals by Freddie Stewart I Dream Of You
Frank Sinatra, Axel Stordahl and his Orchestra I Dream Of You
Perry Como with orchestra (unidentified) I Dream Of You

Non-charted versions
Alma Cogan I Dream Of You
Les Brown and his Band of Renown, vocals by Doris Day I Dream Of You
Mildred Bailey, Paul Barron and his Orchestra I Dream of You
Count Basie and his Orchestra I Dream Of You
Jerry Lewis I Dream Of You


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Of This and That – and Cocktails for Two . . .Clink! Clink!

Cocktails for Two  by Ted Cowart

Cocktails for Two
by Ted Cowart

Cocktails For Two is a pop song by Arthur Johnston and Sam Coslow. The song was originally introduced by Danish singer Carl Brisson, Paramount Pictures’ replacement for Maurice Chevalier in 1934’s Murder at the Vanities. This romantic ode to legalized liquor became immensely popular when it materialized after the repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment that banned alcohol in 1933. The song was later used in the 1947 Paramount film, Ladies Man, starring Eddie Bracken and Cass Daley. Duke Ellington’s version of the song was recorded in 1934. Other covers include Zarah Leander’s Swedish version for Odeon in 1934, Tommy Dorsey’s swing version for Victor on 31 October 1938, and Bing Crosby’s performance for CBS radio on 20 June1955. Over the years, the song inspired several parodies, including the immaculately off-key reading from 1960 by Jo Stafford and Paul Weston (as Jonathan and Darlene Edwards).
Sheet music for Cocktails For Two

Sheet music for Cocktails For Two

The opening moments of the song speak to the song’s origin. Mentioned discreetly in the song’s introduction is the line that people could be “carefree and gay once again” and “No longer slinking, respectfully drinking/Like civilized ladies and men.” The song seems to imply that it is the availability of liquor that makes the world safe and calm, painting a quiet picture of lovebirds enjoying their cocktails. As originally intended, the song played like a sigh of relief.

Of all the many versions of the song, however, Cocktails For Two is best remembered today due to the irreverent, comic, and sound effects-laden version by Spike Jones and His City Slickers. The City Slickers first recorded the song in 1944 with Carl Grayson supplying the vocal. It was their biggest all-time hit, reaching #4 on the Billboard charts. Cocktails For Two may just be Spike Jones’ finest moment – a rare example of where popular music and novelty overlap and are embraced by the record-buying public.

Spike Jones

Spike Jones

Spike Jones obviously had great fun with this song that featured the vocalizations of “glugmaster” Carl Grayson. Jones was quick to showcase Grayson’s comic vocal talents and ability to make weird sound effects, one of which was known as the “glug.” The best way to describe this sound is that it is the closest a human can come to swallowing his tongue without having to be hospitalized afterwards. The first use of this effect on record is on the tune Siam, although this is considered only a mild glug. The glugmeister took over a great deal of the vocal duties from Del Porter, who had been singing most everything in the band’s repertoire up until then. Of the six gold records earned by Spike Jones, two have vocals by Grayson, namely Cocktails For Two and Der Fuehrer’s Face. Carl Grayson is a model of how to sing while grinning.

It is often said that in order to properly satirize something, one must first reach the level of the original. Spike Jones already knew how a pop song was supposed to sound, and the first forty seconds or so of Cocktails For Two sound as if he had hired Fred Waring’s Pennsylvanians to sing this section of the piece. Tightly-harmonized women sing the opening lines over soft strings, met by a crooning male singer, who set the scene. For those opening moments, the song sounds remarkably like any other record from that period – neat, polished, and insufferably boring.

And then all Hell breaks loose!!

Picking up the tempo, the crooning male singer sings: “In some secluded rendezvous” – a whistle blows, a man screams, a gunshot fires, “That overlooks the avenue” – honking car horns in traffic, “With someone sharing a delightful chat” – nonsense babble is heard, “Of this and that and cocktails for two,” – everything stops for the light “clink-clink” toast of the cocktail classes. Even when things slow down a bit for the lyrics that are harder to illustrate sonically, the madness is back in full force for the musical break, turning from an orchestra of rude mouth noises and hiccups to a searing Dixieland jazz band.

No matter how many times I listen to this record, it still strikes me how busy and varied of a sound Jones is able to create. Every honk, every whistle, every hiccup, and every clink is right where it should be, creating a sound that, while sonically silly, is musically flawless.

Spike Jones did not so much ridicule or destroy the song as he turned it completely inside-out. In his hands, Cocktails For Two is a fast, tight, and very precise record that manages to sound loose, funny, and carefree. While the composers of the piece probably would disagree, to accomplish that feat, Jones had to be some kind of a musical genius. There is simply no other word to describe what he created.

Here are the lyrics to the song (without the sound effects, of course)
Oh what delight to be given the right
To be carefree and gay once again
No longer slinking, respectfully drinking
Like civilized ladies and men

No longer need we miss
A charming scene like this:
In some secluded rendezvous,
That overlooks the avenue,
With someone sharing a delightful chat,
Of this and that,
And cocktails for two.

As we enjoy a cigarette,
To some exquisite chansonette,
Two hands are sure to slyly meet beneath a serviette,
With cocktails for two.

My head may go reeling,
But my heart will be obedient,
With intoxicating kisses,
For the principal ingredient,

Most any afternoon at five,
We’ll be so glad we’re both alive,
Then maybe fortune will complete her plan,
That all began
With cocktails for two

The song was recorded by several artists, but three versions (Duke Ellington, Johnny Green, and Will Osborne) charted on the Billboard charts in 1934 and the Spike Jones version charted in 1945. (Sorry, I do not have the Osborne version.) To listen to a song, click on the song title. To download a song, right click on the song title, then right click on Save target as

Charted Versions
Duke Ellington and his Orchestra Cocktails For Two
Johnny Green and his Orchestra, vocals by Howard Phillips Cocktails For Two
Spike Jones and His City Slickers, vocals by Carl Grayson Cocktails For Two

Non-charted Versions
Carl Brisson (from the 1934 movie Murder at the Vanities) Cocktails For Two
Zarah Leander (1934) Cocktails For Two
Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra (1938) Cocktails For Two
Bing Crosby (1955 radio show) Cocktails For Two
Jonathan and Darlene Edwards Cocktails For Two

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Pop songs are more or less straightforward “reflections” of the society and culture in which they were produced. Songs are most valuable for addressing what concerns people, how they see issues, and how they express their hopes, their ideals, their anger, and their frustrations.

Of course, songs are almost always open to multiple interpretations. For example, in the 1960s Puff the Magic Dragon was widely associated with marijuana and its effects. Yet the lyricist, Leonard Lipton, claimed that the song was about the loss of childhood innocence. Co-writer, Peter Yarrow has frequently explained that Puff is about the hardships of growing older and has no relationship to drug-taking. He has also said of the song that it “never had any meaning other than the obvious one” and is about the “loss of innocence in children.” Evidently this interpretation prevailed because by the 1970s,Puff had become standard repertory at nursery schools and children’s sing-alongs. The richness of using songs as sources for understanding history – and the need to delve deeply into the available evidence when doing so – lies in their openness to such multiple uses and interpretations.

Pop songs give a voice to what people are thinking. There may be exceptions, but rarely do songwriters just sit down and write a song. The song must come from somewhere, be it a personal experience or be it from the collective national experience. Artists write according to their experiences and what they believe will sell. To appeal to their audiences, pop song writers have to write what the audiences want by adapting to the time.

When listening to or interpreting a song, I always try to set the song in some kind of historical setting. I usually ask the question: What was going on in the world that inspired the writer to produce this particular song? For example, I believe that only during the Great Depression of 1929-1933 would someone write a song entitled Brother, Can You Spare A Dime? And only after the Depression and only when economic recovery was seen to be a reality would a songwriter pen Happy Days Are Here Again. Furthermore, when Pearl Harbor was attacked and our nation became embroiled in a global war, the national consciousness was expressed in such songs as We Did It Before (And We Can Do It Again), Remember Pearl Harbor, and Goodbye Mama, (I’m Off To Yokohama).

Songs serve to unify groups of people and to move them to common action or help them express their common emotions. Certain songs become “anthems” for particular generations, as Bob Dylan’s Blowin’ in the Wind became for many in the 1960s. In times of national crisis, certain songs seem especially appropriate, such as Irving Berlin’s God Bless America. These songs express widely-shared values or experiences and emotions that help to define a group’s identity and solidarity.

One of those widely-shared emotions was the feeling of separation and loneliness caused by World War Two. Waiting for that parting and aloneness to end was the context for the song and those feelings were felt both by those manning the front lines and by those coping on the home front. Martin Block and Sunny Skylar captured those feelings in their 1945 song, Waitin’ For The Train To Come Home. Saying goodbye to home, to family, to lovers was a common experience for a majority of people. The sense of homesickness, of being away from loved ones, especially during holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries all contributed to this sense of loneliness. Waiting for it all to end and for a return to some kind of normal life again was the common thread for most people who lived through those war years.

Waitin’ For The Train To Come In was in a long line of “waiting songs” that included Counting The Days, Gee, It’s Good To Hold You, I’m Glad I Waited For You, You’ll Never Know, I’ll Walk Alone, My Guy’s Coming Home, I’ll Wait For You, You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To, I’m Gonna See My Baby, and I Don’t Want To Walk Without You to name just a few. Of all the “waiting songs,” the Block/Skylar piece most poignantly captured the feelings of lonesomeness, of anticipation, and of waiting for it all to be over with these words:
Waitin’ for the train to come in
Waitin’ for my man to come home

I’ve counted every minute of each live long day
Been so melancholy since he went away
I’ve shed a million teardrops or more
Waitin’ for the one I adore

I’m waitin’ in the depot by the railroad track
Lookin’ for the choo, choo train that brings him back
I’m waitin’ for my life to begin
Waitin’ for the train to come in

I’m waitin’ in the depot by the railroad track
Lookin’ for the choo, choo train that brings him back
I’m waitin’ for my life to begin

Waitin’ for the train to come in
Waitin’, waitin’, I’m waitin’ for the train to come in

Renown jazz singer Peggy Lee, who had developed a trademark sultry purr to her voice was the perfect instrument to convey the expressive emotion of the song. She had had the most popular version of the song, peaking at #4 on the Billboard charts. Other charted versions of the song were performed by Harry James and by Johnny Long.

Peggy Lee circa 1945

Peggy Lee circa 1945

To listen to a version of the song, click on the song title. To download a song, right click on the song title, then right click on Save target as
Peggy Lee, Dave Barbour and his Orchestra, guitar solo by Dave Barbour Waitin’ For The Train To Come In
Harry James and his Orchestra, vocals by Kitty Kallen Waitin’ For The Train To Come In
Johnny Long and his Orchestra and Dick Robertson Waitin’ For The Train To Come In

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Clang, Ding, Chug, Bump, Buzz, and Plop

Catching the Trolley by Charles Borromée Antoine Houry

Catching the Trolley
by Charles Borromée Antoine Houry

Using such words as “clang,” “ding,” “chug,” “bump,” “buzz,” and “plop,” songwriters Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane immediately captured the spirit of a turn-of-the-century Saint Louis trolley in much the same way that George Gershwin evoked the various street noises of Paris in the 1920s with his use of some Parisian taxi horns in his classic symphonic tone poem, An American in Paris. Every time I hear those taxi horns, I think of Paris and every time I hear the words “clang, clang, clang,” I think of that trolley car in the 1944 film Meet Me in St. Louis.

The film was adapted by Irving Brecher and Fred F. Finklehoffe from a series of short stories by Sally Benson, originally published in The New Yorker magazine under the title 5135 Kensington, and later in novel form as Meet Me in St. Louis. The film was directed by Vincente Minnelli, who met Judy Garland on the set, and later married her.

Sheet music for The Trolley Song

Sheet music for The Trolley Song

The Trolley Song was nominated for the Academy Award© for Best Original Song at the 1945 Academy Awards, but lost to Swinging On A Star from The Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald film, Going My Way.

Judy Garland debuted the song in the film as well as Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, both of which became hits after the film was released. The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film, Meet Me in St. Louis tells the story of an American family living in St. Louis at the time of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition World’s Fair in 1904 and stars Judy Garland, Margaret O’Brien, Mary Astor, Lucille Bremer, Tom Drake, Leon Ames, Marjorie Main, June Lockhart, and Joan Carroll.

In the final scene of what is a summer vignette in the film, Esther (Judy Garland) joins an expectant crowd of young people (the ladies are sporting colorful flowery hats and shirt-waist dresses) that have gathered for a picnic to ride a trolley bound for the under-construction fairgrounds (the fair is still six months away). Esther is wearing a black outfit trimmed with white without a hat, nervously noticing and despairing that John Truett (Tom Drake), the boy-next-door whom she loves, has not arrived yet. As they begin to ride off – to the “clang, clang, clang” of the trolley bells, they all belt out The Trolley Song. Without singing, an anxious and tense Esther moves around the train amid the swirl of pastel colors and song, continuing to look for John. He is late as usual from basketball practice and must run after the trolley to catch it. She is relieved when he runs after the trolley, catches it and boards. She happily finishes the song on a high note, leading all of her friends in her musical tale of flirtation with a handsome man. It is an extravagant five-minute production number about a young woman in love with a guy who makes her heartstrings go zing, zing, zing and thump, thump, thump.

Judy Garland and Tom Drake in the Trolley Song scene from Meet Me in St. Louis

Judy Garland and Tom Drake in The Trolley Song scene from Meet Me in St. Louis

Here is how the song is developed in the film:
Clang ,clang, clang went the trolley
Ding, ding, ding went the bell
Zing, zing, zing went my heartstrings as we started for Huntington Dell.

Chug, chug, chug went the motor
Bump, bump, bump went the brake
Thump, thump, thump went my heartstrings as we glided for Huntington Lake.

The day was bright, the air was sweet
The smell of honeysuckle charmed me off my feet
I tried to sing, but couldn’t squeak
In fact I felt so good I couldn’t even speak

Buzz, buzz, buzz went the buzzer
Time to all disembark,
Time to fall went my heartstrings as we got off at Huntington Park
As we got off at Huntington Park.

With my high-starched collar, and my high-topped shoes
And my hair piled high upon my head
I went to lose a jolly hour on the Trolley
And lost my heart instead.

With his light brown derby and his bright green tie
He was quite the handsomest of men
I started to yen,
so I counted to ten, then I counted to ten again

Clang, clang, clang went the trolley
Ding, ding, ding went the bell
Zing, zing, zing went my heartstrings
From the moment I saw him I fell

Chug, chug, chug went the motor
Bump, bump, bump went the brake
Thump, thump, thump went my heartstrings
When he smiled I could feel the car shake

He tipped his hat, and took a seat
He said he hoped he hadn’t stepped upon my feet
He asked my name, I held my breath
I couldn’t speak because he scared me half to death

Chug, chug, chug went the motor
Plop, plop, plop went the wheels
Stop, stop, stop went my heartstrings
As he started to go then I started to know how it feels
When the universe reels

The day was bright, the air was sweet
The smell of honeysuckle charmed you off your feet
You tried to sing, but couldn’t squeaks
In fact, you loved him so you couldn’t even speak

Buzz, buzz, buzz went the buzzer
Plop, plop, plop went the wheels
Stop, stop, stop went my heartstrings

As he started to leave
I took hold of his sleeve with my hand
And as if it were planned he stay on with me
And it was grand just to stand with his hand holding mine
To the end of the line

Five versions of the song charted in 1944-45. Garland’s single and a version by Vaughn Monroe both peaked at number four, but the biggest hit version was by The Pied Pipers, which hit number two on Billboard magazine’s “Best Sellers in Stores” chart the week of December 16, 1944. Additionally, the Four King Sisters and Guy Lombardo recorded the song, each peaking on the Billboard charts at #13 and #19 respectively. Later non-charting versions of the song included Frank Sinatra, Dave Brubeck (1953), Herb Alpert (1967), and a Portuguese version of the song by João Gilberto (1970).

The Charted Versions
Pied Pipers, Paul Weston and his Orchestra The Trolley Song
Judy Garland, Georgie Stoll and his Chorus and Orchestra The Trolley Song
Four King Sisters, with Male Chorus The Trolley Song
Vaughn Monroe and his Orchestra, vocals by Vaughn Monroe and Marilyn Duke The Trolley Song
Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians, vocals by Stuart Foster and the Lombardo Trio The Trolley Song

Non-charting Versions
Frank Sinatra The Trolley Song
Sarah Vaughan The Trolley Song
Dave Brubeck The Trolley Song
Herb Alpert The Trolley Song
João Gilberto The Trolley Song

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gonna love him5

Perhaps the most memorable film about the aftermath of World War Two was The Best Years of Our Lives. The ironic title refers to the troubling fact that many servicemen had “the best years of their lives” in wartime, not in their experiences afterwards in peacetime America when they were forced to adapt to the much-changed demands and became the victims of dislocating forces. However, it could be argued that the servicemen also gave up and sacrificed “the best years of their lives” – their youthful innocence and their health – by serving in the military and becoming disjointed from normal civilian life.

The story depicts the lives of three enlisted men who face an uncertain future at the end of World War Two. Army Sergeant Al Stephenson (Fredric March) comes home to a family that has grown up while he was away at war and a banking job where his bosses have little interest in supporting the men who risked their lives in the name of freedom. Handsome decorated Army Air Force captain and bombardier, Fred Derry (Dana Andrews) faces a dead end job and a war bride he barely knows. After losing his hands in battle, sailor Homer Parrish (Harold Russell), the hometown’s former football hero, has a harder time adjusting to others’ attitudes and his own fear of pity than any physical challenges. The challenges of each of these three homecoming veterans capture the spirit of a country recovering from a war that affected the lives of every American. The movie never glosses over the reality of altered lives and the inability to communicate the experience of war on the front lines or the home front. The Best Years of Our Lives was the first major Hollywood production to deal with the problems faced by veterans returning from World War Two. At the time, most producers thought the war-weary public was more interested in escapist entertainment, but producer Samuel Goldwyn proved them wrong by turning this into the top-grossing film of the decade.

Dana Andrews and Virginia Mayo in a scene from The Best Years of Our Lives

Dana Andrews and Virginia Mayo in a scene from The Best Years of Our Lives

Approaching the subject of coming home after World War Two from a different perspective was a song by Frances Ash entitled, I’m Gonna Love that Girl (Guy) Like She’s (He’s) Never Been Loved Before. As can be seen from the way I have written the title, the song can be sung by either a female or male singer. The song speaks of the years of separation and waiting, of the feelings of missing and kissing, and of the hopes of never parting again and of being together forever. In its own way, I find the song every bit as poignant as the film The Best Years of Our Lives. Read the words in the context of the aftermath of a devastating and dislocating war and you will see what I mean. I have used here the words as if sung by a returning serviceman.
I’m gonna love that gal
Like she’s never been loved before
I’m gonna show that gal
She’s the baby that I adore

When she’s in my arms again
Our dreams will all come true
Then the years between might never have been
We’ll start our lives anew

I’m gonna kiss that gal
Like she’s never been kissed before
And though I miss that gal
She’s the baby I’m waitin’ for

We’ll never part again
She’ll hold my heart again
Forever and ever more
I’m gonna love that gal
Like she’s never been loved before

At the time of its first popularity in 1945, this song charted on the Billboard charts with recordings by two artists – Perry Como and Benny Goodman. Other non-charted versions were made by Dinah Shore, Randy Brooks, Betty Grable, and Paula Green. To listen to a version of the song, click on the song title. To download a song, right click on the song title, then right click on Save target as.
Charted versions

Perry Como, Russ Case and his Orchestra I’m Gonna Love That Gal
Benny Goodman and his Orchestra, vocals by Dottie Reid I’m Gonna Love That Guy

Non-charted versions

Dinah Shore (from the 25 October 1945 radio show, Bird’s Eye Open House with Dinah Shore) I’m Gonna Love That Guy
Randy Brooks and his Orchestra, vocals by Marion Hutton I’m Gonna Love That Guy
Betty Grable (from the 1951 film Call Me Mister) I’m Gonna Love That Guy
Paula Green and her Orchestra, vocals by Paula Green I’m Gonna Love That Guy (Like He’s Never Been Loved Before)

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An Unlikely Pair – But It Worked!

don't fence me in

It was one of the more unusual combinations in show-biz history: a folksy cowboy star and a cosmopolitan song writer. The folksy cowboy star was Roy Rogers, billed as “The King of the Cowboys.” The cosmopolitan song writer was Cole Porter, composer of such sophisticated pieces as Night and Day, I Get a Kick Out of You, Well, Did You Evah!, I’ve Got You Under My Skin, My Heart Belongs to Daddy, You’re the Top. You’d Be So Easy to Love, In the Still of the Night, True Love, I Love Paris, Begin The Beguine, and Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall In Love).

This unlikely pair – Cole Porter and Roy Rogers – combined to introduce the song Don’t Fence Me In, containing some of the most un-Porter like lyrics this brilliant tunesmith ever wrote. The song is about a footloose and fancy-free individual who refuses to settle down. The year was 1944 and the song was introduced in the Warner Brothers film, Hollywood Canteen.

Originally written for an unproduced 20th Century Fox musical, Adios Argentina, in 1934, the song was based on a text by engineer and poet Robert (“Bob”) Fletcher, who worked with the Department of Highways in Helena, Montana. Fletcher sold the poem for $250 to Porter, who adapted it into a song and planned to give Fletcher credit as co-writer. Porter’s publishers refused to allow that, but after the song became a hit, a habitual litigant named Ira Arnstein went so far as to sue Porter for plagiarism, though he failed to prove his case. Eventually, Fletcher was given co-authorship credit in subsequent publications of the song. Although it was one of the most popular songs of its time, Porter claimed it was his least favorite of his own compositions.

Porter’s revision of the song retained quite a few portions of Fletcher’s lyrics, such as “Give me land, lots of land,” “… breeze … cottonwood trees,” “turn me loose, let me straddle my old saddle,” “mountains rise … western skies,” “cayuse,” “where the west commences,” and “… hobbles … can’t stand fences,” but in some places, Porter modified the words to give them “the smart Porter touch.”(Incidentally, That strange word, “cayuse” in the lyrics denotes an archaic term used in the American West, usually referring to a low-quality horse or pony.) Porter substituted some whole lines, rearranged lyric phrases, added two verses, and composed his own music for it. Porter’s verse about Wildcat Kelly was not included in most of the hit recordings of the song. However, Roy Rogers did refer to “Wildcat Willy” when he performed the song in 1944’s Hollywood Canteen and Horace Heidt’s version includes the verse. Both versions are heard below.

The final lyrics of the song, including the reference to Wildcat Kelly, are as follows:
Wildcat Kelly was lookin’ mighty pale
Standin’ by the sheriff’s side
When that sheriff said I’m taking you to jail
Wildcat raised his head and cried. . .

Oh give me land, lots of land
Under starry skies above
Don’t fence me in

Let me ride through the wide
Open spaces that I love
Don’t fence me in

Let me be by myself in the evening breeze
Listen to the murmur of the cottonwood trees
Send me off forever but I ask you please
Don’t fence me in

Just turn me loose
Let me straddle my old saddle
Underneath the western skies

On my cayuse
Let me wander over yonder
Where the purple mountains rise

I want to ride to the ridge when the west commences
Gaze at the moon ’til I lose my senses
Can’t look at hobbles and I can’t stand fences
Don’t fence me in

Though Adios Argentina was never produced, Warner Brothers resurrected Don’t Fence Me In for Roy Rogers to sing in the 1944 film Hollywood Canteen, starring Joan Leslie, Robert Hutton, and Dane Clark. The film was written and directed by Delmer Daves, and was notable for featuring over sixty movie stars (appearing as themselves) in cameo roles. The East Coast counterpart to the Hollywood Canteen was the Stage Door Canteen, celebrated in a 1943 RKO film.The basic plot of Hollywood Canteen revolves around two soldiers on leave who spend three nights at the Hollywood Canteen before returning to active duty in the South Pacific. Slim Green (Robert Hutton) is the one millionth G.I. to enjoy the Canteen, and consequently wins a date with Joan Leslie. The other G.I., Sergeant Nolan (Dane Clark) has a dance with Joan Crawford. Canteen founders Bette Davis and John Garfield give talks on the history of the Canteen. The soldiers enjoy a variety of musical numbers performed by a host of Hollywood stars, and also comedians, such as Jack Benny and his violin. Among those entertaining at the Hollywood Canteen are Roy Rogers. Don’t Fence Me In is sung by Rogers and danced by Trigger, billed as “the smartest horse in the movies.” Additionally, the song is also performed in the film by the Andrews Sisters, and played as a dance number by Jimmy Dorsey and his Orchestra.

Joan Crawford and John Garfield in a scene from "Hollywood Canteen"

Joan Crawford and Dane Clark in a scene from Hollywood Canteen

In 1945, the song was sung again as the title tune of another Roy Rogers film, Republic Studios’ Don’t Fence Me In, considered one of Roy Rogers best films. In the film, Dale Evans plays a magazine reporter who comes to Roy Rogers’ and George “Gabby” Hayes’ ranch to research her story about a legendary late gunslinger. When it is revealed that Gabby Hayes is actually the supposedly dead outlaw, Rogers must clear his name. Rogers and The Sons of the Pioneers perform songs, including the Cole Porter title tune.
Movie poster for "Don't Fence Me In"

Movie poster for
Don’t Fence Me In

Many people heard the song for the first time when Kate Smith introduced it on her radio broadcast of 8 October 1944. Don’t Fence Me In was also recorded by Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters in 1944. The Crosby/Andrews Sisters version later sold more than a million copies and topped the Billboard charts for eight weeks in 1944–45.

Several recordings of Don’t Fence Me In charted on the Billboard charts. To listen to a version of the song, click on the song title. To download a song, right click on the song title, then right click on Save target as
Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters, Vic Schoen and his Orchestra Don’t Fence Me In
(Swing and Sway with) Sammy Kaye and his Orchestra, vocals by Billy Williams Don’t Fence Me In
Kate Smith, with 4 Chicks and a Chuck, orchestra under the direction of Jack Miller Don’t Fence Me In
Horace Heidt and his Musical Knights, vocals by Gene Walsh, the Sweetswingsters, and the Glee Club Don’t Fence Me In
Gene Autry (Billboard Country charts) Don’t Fence Me In
Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers (from the soundtrack of Hollywood Canteen) Don’t Fence Me In

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Alone or Lonely?


I want to be alone…I just want to be alone.” Greta Garbo uttered those now-famous words in the 1932 Oscar© winning film Grand Hotel. The line would be a part of Garbo’s persona, both on and off the silver screen, for the rest of her life. Later in her life, Garbo tried to correct the impression that she was a recluse, saying: “I never said, ‘I want to be alone.’ I only said, ‘I want to be left alone.’ There is all the difference.”

Garbo was right, of course. Whether or not she was reclusive, may be a matter of debate; there is no debate as to the profound difference between being alone and being lonely.

While I do not pretend to be a psychiatrist, there are a few things that seem obvious to me.

From a mental health perspective, there is a basic assumption that social interaction is very important. Most theories of psychological development assert this. I, for one, believe that the ability to connect with others is vital for healthy and successful human development.

Of course, some people prefer to be alone at certain times. I know that I do. The question then becomes why? Being alone can have its advantages. The creative person craves time alone. Any professional who takes a sabbatical and spends some time alone and uses that time creatively and productively returns refreshed, mentally, spiritually, and perhaps even physically. If individuals want to be alone because they are immersed in writing a novel or engaged in a major research project and solitude makes it easier to concentrate, then they would have an understandable reason to want to be alone. The reason why people prefer to be alone is the key to understanding whether their desire for solitude is healthy or related to social anxiety.

On the other hand, there is a great difference between being lonely and being alone. Many people are alone and lead happy lives. Since many elderly people live alone for a multitude of reasons, there is an assumption that, as a group, the elderly are probably more lonely than most among us. But that assumption is not necessarily correct. Many elderly people have developed traits or habits that help them to be comfortable with themselves alone. They have found ways to keep busy mentally. Many rely on good memories of a deceased spouse for comfort, while relishing the peace and quiet of a household void of too much activity. They have reached the point where their status quo is one of calmness. The old propaganda poster produced by the British government in 1939 during the beginning of the Second World War, intended to raise the morale of the British public in the event of invasion speaks to this point: “Keep Calm and Carry On”

keep calm
While common definitions of loneliness describe it as a state of solitude or being alone, loneliness is actually a state of mind. Loneliness causes people to feel empty, isolated and unwanted. People who are lonely often crave human contact, but their state of mind makes it more difficult to form connections with other people. Loneliness, according to many experts, is not necessarily about being alone. Instead, it is the perception of being alone and isolated that matters most.

The whole issue of loneliness was addressed in a generally overlooked song of the 1940s written by Dick Robertson, James Cavanaugh, and Frank Weldon in 1944 entitled A Little On The Lonely Side. The loneliness of which this song speaks is the loneliness caused by the separation of two lovers. We are not told the reason for their separation, only that this state of affairs brings loneliness to the subject of the song. But one can imagine the cause. Certainly, placing the song in the context of all the kinds of separations caused by World War Two, loneliness was a daily reality, both in the theaters of the war and on the home-front. While the versions heard here are all sung by male vocalists, the singers could just as easily have been female singers and the message of the song would have been the same. Despite the theme of the song, Billboard magazine described the song as “lilty” and that the words were performed in “bouncy fashion.” The song, therefore, is not a dirge as might be suspected, given the subject matter. The lyrics describe the situation thusly:
I’m a little on the lonely
A little on the lonely side
I keep thinking of you only
And wishing you were by my side.
You know my dear, when you’re not here
There’s no one to romance with
So if I’m seen with someone else
It’s just someone to dance with.
Every letter that you send me
I read a dozen times or more
Any wonder that I love you
More and more.
Oh, how I miss your tender kiss
And long to hold you tight
I’m a little on the lonely side tonight.

The song was recorded by several artists, but these three versions charted on the Billboard charts in 1945. To listen to a version of the song, click on the song title. To download a song, right click on the song title, then right click on Save target as

Frankie Carle and his Orchestra, vocals by Paul Allen A Little On The Lonely Side
Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians, vocals by Jimmy Brown A Little On The Lonely Side
Phil Moore Four, vocals by Phil Moore and the Phil Moore Four A Little on The Lonely Side

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