Saturday, December 12, 2015

#1: Sinatra, here to stay

George and Ira Gershwin wrote "Love Is Here To Stay" in the late '30s for the film The Goldwyn Follies. It was the last song written by George, who died of a brain tumor in 1937. Ira was left behind to complete the song alone and wrote the words while he was still grieving -- the show had to go on. They say the song is Ira's expression of his unending love for his brother. But it's also a regular-old love song. Here's how it was done in the movie:

Thank goodness Sinatra was born a baritone.

Now compare and contrast:

There's magic in there. Riddle's classically Riddle-esque arrangement and Frank's vocal -- and what prime voice he was in! -- exude so much warmth. And, of course, it swings, sweetly, this time; between choruses, can't you just see the couples swaying and swishing on the dance floor?

For me, the song is about the constancy and permanence of married love, and couples who've gone "a long, long way" together can perhaps appreciate it best. That stuff about the Rockies and Gibraltar crumbling and tumbling may strike us, almost eighty years later, as worn-out, corny old lines, But I think Ira nailed a profound truth: all that solid, seemingly "permanent" stuff, isn't, really. It's just "made of clay," as are we. But love is transcendent, and it's really all that matters.

If you find my #1 a bit of a letdown, think of it like a Sinatra song that peaks about seven-eighths of the way through and then comes in, as Mark Steyn says, for a soft, sweet landing.

In case you missed them, here are the other 99:

Happy Birthday, Frank! We love you!

Over at SteynOnline, Mark has "a cornucopia of print and audio delights" for your pleasure this birthday weekend. And don't forget to visit Ms EBL and Bob Belvedere, who've paid their own faithful tribute to The Voice all year long. I regret that I wasn't able to comment on much of it, or even to link to it all. I just couldn't keep up. But it's all there, and there's no reason not to extend your Frank-a-bration into the next year, savoring it all at your leisure.

Sinatra, a Catholic, was born on an important feast day. Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for Francis Albert Sinatra.

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