Thursday, June 16, 2011

Euphonic Earworms: Zing! Went the Strings of my Heart

Two features begin in one week! Gee and I have also decided to do a recurring feature on songs that we really love. I know that this won't be everybody's cup of tea, but I also know that I like reading other blogger's music posts who have similar taste, so maybe a few people will enjoy these. I've actually discovered some favorite artists through other blogs, so hopefully this will do the same for at least a few people out there! The music I love is very dear to me and I would love to help keep the wonderful tunes of the past alive!

So, the first song: "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart" performed and sung by my absolute all-time favorite, Judy Garland. The first is from 1938, and the second from 1935.

Despite Judy's seriously over-plucked eyebrows (she looks like a china doll!), you can see how adorable she was at the start of her career and you get a taste of her magnetism on stage. The funny thing is, this is actually not that good of an example of the typical Judy performance, she is rather held-back and reserved, not overly expressive in this video. I'm sure that has to do with the director or someone behind scenes in the film, because Judy loved to put on a performance, both in technical skill in belting tunes out, and in emotional expressiveness. Still, even in this toned-down performance, she manages to tug on my heartstrings (as she sings about her heartstrings). And the lyrics are simple but wonderfully sweet.
And here's the 1935 radio version, which I recommend for two reasons: first, it changes half-way through into a swing version, which is my favorite version of this song. Secondly, as the description for the video says, this is the version Judy sang on the radio while her father was in the hospital, and she sang with extra effort knowing her dad was listening. Pretty much every other adult relationship she had at the time was toxic or would soon become so (always the adult's fault. She was just a kid, and she was constantly used and/or abused - her mother, managers, perhaps Louis B. Mayer, etc) and her father was the one person she felt she could trust and who actually loved her. So what gives this song an extra heart-wrenching quality is that her father died in the hospital the day after she sang this, before she had a chance to see him again. She was only 13. I imagine she had some very sad/emotional associations with this song whenever she was requested to sing it in the future. Anyway, here it is:
- Emily

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