Saturday, June 18, 2011

Euphonic Earworms: Deep Purple

Here's a song, from 1939, that I absolutely adore. When I first heard this song/saw this musical short, something about it perfectly seized upon my imagination and my aesthetic longing for Romance (in both the capital and lowercase "r"sense of the word), and I was consumed with an obsession for a few weeks. While I have since cooled off on my fervor for this song, I still love it. Not only is Artie Shaw and his Orchestra a wonderful match with Helen Forrest's honeyed voice, but the video accompanying it is great. After a bit of Helen and Artie doing their thing, it segues into a nighttime garden scene and tells a little story that is both beautiful and melancholy.

A funny thing I have to add: Gracie mentioned to me that TCM recently played this short in between movies, and she was at her grandmother's house when she saw it. So she sat down and was watching it with her grandma, and they were both sitting in silence when the guy comes on with his cravat-ed dapperness. Her grandma turned to her and was like, "If you ever find a guy in a top hat, hold on to him."

Wise words, granny, wise words. We're totally on the same page here. And Gracie told her as much. 

This song was actually first published by Peter DeRose as solely a piano composition in 1933, and it was a major hit, being played by the likes of Paul Whiteman. It wasn't until 1938 that lyrics would be penned by Mitchell Parish, after steady sheet music sales for the past five years proved the song had staying power. This probably only increased the song's popularity, as it was covered by tons of major musicians and continued to be covered into the late 70s and still hit the Top 20 charts. 
Here's another version, by Larry Clinton and his orchestra, sung by Bea Wain. I don't love it as I do Artie & Helen's version, but I still do like it. 

- Emily

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