Oldies But Goodies

Posted: August 9, 2013 in Uncategorized
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By Peter Stern, Philosophy Faculty

As minutes turn into hours, hours into days, days into weeks, and……I can’t help wondering whether ignorance is or isn’t bliss–man, I mean BLISS, as in BLISS!!!!!! This time this conundrum is provoked by, of all things, panicking as I try to create a favorite song list. First response: zip, zero, nada–can’t think of a single song that really fills the bill. Next: a veritable flood of songs surge through my addled brain, coming from here, there, and everywhere. Greatly confused, I then figure maybe I should give a quick peak over the proverbial shoulder to see what sorts of songs my colleagues mentioned. Here’s where the ignorance/bliss issue leaves me breathless: in all candooor, most of the songs named and discussed have never been heard of by my rapidly aging body of musical acquaintanceship. But that’s the reason we’re in school whether as teacher or student, isn’t it: we go to learn new things regardless of age and extent of ignorance.

And so here’s a five favorite song list with every song older than the hills and every day each song getting one more day older. For instance, my first song is “As Time Goes By.” The song is great partly as it plays with the idea of time passing and yet love and its rituals don’t; they’re eternal. The song also evokes time for me as it takes me back to my college days and the semiannual film festival held during finals week at the Brattle Street Cinema in Cambridge Mass. The main film menu consisted of a bunch of Humphrey Bogart flicks culminating in a screening of Casablanca, a film I came to know almost by heart. One of the great scenes in the movie shows us an unhinged Bogie telling Dooley Wilson to go ahead and play, “As Time Goes By,” with Dooley telling Bogie he didn’t think that was such a good idea (because it evoked for Bogie his aborted love affair with Ingrid Bergman). And I’m thinking to be alive then was bliss, but to be in the Brattle Street Cinema during finals week watching Casablanca was heaven itself.

Song Two: “Be My Baby” sung by the Ronnettes. An early rock n roll song which, in my view, still stands the test of time, is rich with great lyrics and a terrific sound, and also often reminds me I had the privilege of meeting, personally, all the Ronnettes, as I had been instrumental in getting them invited to perform at a big fall weekend concert at school.

Song Three: “Just One of Those Things” by Cole Porter, a song which sports lines like: “One of those things, one of those crazy flings, a trip to the moon on gossamer wings, just one of those things.” All the way to the moon and yet it’s over: no big deal, sort of. “So good bye, and amen, here’s hoping we meet now and then, it was great fun but it was just one of those things.”

Song Four: “Fly Me to the Moon” especially when sung by Frank Sinatra. Another love song evoking the moon, the stars, and playing around Jupiter and Mars because that’s the metaphor needed to capture what love is and what love can do. Oliver Stone uses the song to great effect at the start of Wall Street, as Charlie Sheen is taking the subway to work. It also reminds me of yet another of life’s mysteries namely how a thug like Sinatra can sing about love with such extraordinary subtlety and depth.

Song Five: “The Way You Look Tonight” again in a version sung by Mr. Sinatra with a marvelous mix of softness and bounce. “Never never change, keep that breathless charm for I love you just the way you look tonight.” Moreover, even if there is change, he’ll never forget the way she looks that night. Once again the power of love is wonderfully invoked and time is vanquished. And to my surprise, as I look at the back of the album cover, to confirm the magic of these old songs and the voice of Sinatra none other than Bono writes of the beauty and strength these songs manifest and of Sinatra’s endless artistry.

But Bono also reminds me that I really do have some favorite songs written and sung by singers more current than the list I’ve given here. And now I’ll have to cull this list and get it ready for the next time Paul and Michael decide we should share our favorite songs with the gifted denizens of the growing Flaneur Community.

  1. ッシュガード メンズ 半袖

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