Record Player

Sunday Song List: The Frank Sinatra Edition

I LOVE music of all kinds! I don’t think it’s much of an exaggeration to say that I could not live without it. From classical to blues to jazz to big band to rock ‘n roll to ’80s music – yes, it is an actual genre for those of us who grew up on it :-) and everything in between. I love it all! And if the music has any ties to classic film or that era, I have an even greater affection for it.

So for those that love music as much as I do, I thought it might be fun to share with you on occasion a simple lists of songs I listen to or discover as I indulge in my passion for entertainment from that great time period. Who knows, we may find that we have the same tastes in music and love the same songs or you may just discover a great new song you’ve never heard before.

rank Sinatra Nothing But the Best Album

Since it seems like I’m in a Frank Sinatra mood almost all the time and have been listening to him a lot lately, I thought I’d kick things off with a list of songs that he recorded during his career. In the future however, my lists will feature a variety of artists.

Some of these have been my favorite Sinatra recordings for a while and some I recently discovered through various movies or television specials. Continue reading →

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Concert

Earlier this year ISaxophone3 mentioned that I play the saxophone in a community band and had a great time at our spring concert playing the tune “But Not for Me,” which was composed by George Gershwin. Yesterday during our fall concert, we played two more pieces by Gershwin so I thought why not do what I did then and discover what, if any ties they had to classic movies.

I hope you won’t mind though if I share a little story with you first. As I was getting ready for the concert, I was feeling way more nervous than usual (I could barely eat my lunch!) and was not feeling at all confident in my playing abilities.

But a funny thing happened as soon as we walked onto the stage, sat down, and started playing our first piece. All my nervousness seemed to vanish in an instant, and I realized that I love to perform on stage in front of an audience!

Now that might not sound like a big deal, especially to those of you who have any kind of stage experience, but as a once extremely shy introvert who has struggled my whole life with social awkwardness, unhealthy perfectionism, and a fear of doing pretty much anything in front of large groups, I never would have expected to find myself in that situation, especially since I don’t exactly possess a ton of musical talent. I’m not quite sure why I never felt that way at previous concerts, but it was quite an exhilarating revelation and now I can’t wait for our next one!

As for the two Gershwin pieces we played, the first was actually a medley of the songs “Someone to Watch Over Me” and “Bidin’ My Time” and the other one was “Strike Up the Band.” They weren’t quite as fun to play as “But Not for Me” but it is always satisfying to play tunes that I am familiar with, so I really enjoyed performing them. Continue reading →

George Gershwin’s “But Not for Me” is Definitely for Me

Mickey Rooney Judy Garland Girl Crazy 1943

Yesterday I performed in a concert with my band (I play the saxophone in a community band), and by far my favorite of all the pieces we played was the jazz standard “But Not for Me,” which was composed in 1930 by George Gershwin with lyrics by Ira Gershwin.

I think it might be the most fun piece we’ve ever played. Well except for maybe the time we played songs from the musical Hair. “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” especially was an absolute blast to play!

Anyway, when I got home I decided to look up the history of “But Not for Me,” and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it has ties to classic film. Turns out it was originally written for the 1930 musical Girl Crazy, a play that by most accounts made Ginger Rogers a star and helped launch the career of Ethel Merman. On opening night of the play, the pit orchestra included the likes of Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa, Glenn Miller, and Jimmy Dorsey. Boy, would I have loved to have been there for that!

The song was also performed by Judy Garland in the film version of Girl Crazy from 1943, and it appeared in the movies Manhattan (1979), When Harry Met Sally (1989), and Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994). Continue reading →

Classical Music in Old Movies: The Blue Danube Waltz

Statue of Johann Strauss II, Vienna Austria

What do old movies and classical music have in common? I’m sure there are many possible answers to that, but for me it’s that I once thought they were both boring and something I would never enjoy. I have only myself to blame for the way I felt about old movies, but with classical music? I sort of blame McDonald’s for that one! :-)

Okay, so I’m only half joking about that but if you remember this popular McDonald’s Commercial from 1986 it might help to understand why (although after reading the comments on YouTube, I think I may be the only one who didn’t like it!) Continue reading →

Hooray for Hollywood! A Song from Hollywood Hotel

While listening to a movie related podcast the other day, I heard the popular tune “Hooray for Hollywood” and I have not been able to get it out of my head since! I didn’t know much about the song, but because I was pretty sure it held a significant place in the history of Hollywood, I felt like I should know more about it. I’ve heard the melody many times but realized that I didn’t even know any of the lyrics to the song other than the words of the title, so I thought I’d do a little research on its history.

The song “Hooray for Hollywood” was composed in the late 1930’s by Richard Whiting, who is also known for the standards “Ain’t We Got Fun” and “On the Good Ship Lollipop,” the latter made famous by Shirley Temple in the movie Bright Eyes (1934). It was first featured in the movie Hollywood Hotel (1937) starring Dick Powell, Rosemary & Lola Lane, and Ted Healy. It was sung by Johnnie Davis and Frances Langford, who were accompanied by Benny Goodman and his orchestra. Continue reading →