Songs have a way of taking me back to a time of my life that provided milestones for the path leading me to where I am today.
We all have them, those cherished ones that we hold dear. Some of which may cause a tear to flow, a shit-eaten’ grin to form. I recently thought of five of ‘em and simply wanted to share them with “old folks at home” who might also remember them.
The first was from a movie that was directed by Alfred Hitchcock. How the hell the master of suspense engrain music into my soul is anybody’s guess, but I’m sure many of us who remember the movie would never forget the song. It’s “Que Sera, Sera, What Will Be, Will Be.”
Doris Day, who was warning authorities in their effort to save her son who had been kidnapped when her husband, Jimmy Stewart, caught a dying man in his arms in the opening series of the show, “The Man Who Knew Too Much.”
The song stayed with me throughout my pre-teen years and it got me to forget such “crooners” as Pat Boone, who rose to fame by “covering” songs first made famous by African Americans like Fats Domino. (See “Ain’t that a Shame” and “Blueberry Hill.”
It was at the start of the rebellious 1960s that I first got a taste of my all-time favorite singer and songwriter. Bobby Darin, creator of “Splish Splash,” “Dream Lover” and “Queen of the Hop” turned to a jazzed-up version of a soft melody written more than a hundred years ago from The Three Penny Opera.
“Mack the Knife” became the best song of 1960 and turned the teeny bopper singer into a force for the ages after giving us such great songs as “If I were a Carpenter, “Artificial Flowers” and “Simple Song of Freedom.”
My next song was also written some hundred years ago and first made famous by Lena Horne. But it was the faster version done by the Spaniels that echoed within the sounds of Doo Wop. “Stormy Weather” was a favorite of city street-corner singers who loved to blow harmony.
It was a song to practice while singer as a baritone, a second tenor, and first tenor. You couldn’t help but stomp your feet and snap your fingers to get into the rhythm of the song.
“Yesterday” by the Beatles moved me more than any other song done by the Fab Four. It brought back so many memories of a lost love and how everything seemed to be so much better when troubles were so far away. “Now I long for yesterday” is a refrain I say whenever I recall those carefree days and nights.
But it is the song by Ben E. King that gets to me whenever I hear it today. I read somewhere that it was based on an old Black spiritual written by a Philadelphia minister and might have been a prayer to God who would always stand by me whenever I’m in trouble. The title was used in a movie from a short story written by Stephen King.
The former lead singer of the Drifters seemed to cry out in this, my all-time favorite song. In the darkest moments when the moon is the only light we’ll see, we can call upon love to help get us through. . .
“I won’t cry. I won’t cry. No, I won’t shed a tear. Just as long . . . as you stand . . . stand by me.”
— “Stand By Me”
According to the ancient Greeks, music was divine as it assisted in healing both soul and body. It purified and soothed people’s spirits and it inspired, encouraged and helped them relax. I thank the Universe for providing such a device.