♫ Hello Dolly! ♫

There are nights, and then … there are n-i-g-h-t-s.  Tonight is a n-i-g-h-t.  They say that “Music hath charms to soothe the savage beast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak”, and there is, quite frankly, nobody that can soothe, soften and bend better than Louis Armstrong.  I have played his Wonderful World at least twice here, and am almost certain to do so again, but tonight, I picked another one he does like nobody else could, Hello Dolly!

According to SongFacts …

Hello, Dolly! is the title song from the Tony Award-winning 1964 musical which featured Carol Channing in the lead role. In 1969 it was made into a film starring Barbra Streisand. Although the contemporary score was composed in its entirety by Jerry Herman, the play can be traced in one form or another as far back as 1835, in outline at least. In spite of the immediate success of the stage production, the song was released as a single only reluctantly. In its May 23, 1964 edition, the English music paper Melody Maker carried an article “HELLO DOLLY! The hit no one wanted,” which included an interview with Louis Armstrong. Herein it was revealed that although the song had reached #1 in the US charts selling more than a million copies, no one wanted to record it. In retrospect, Satchmo was an obvious choice.

The song won a Grammy for best vocal performance. It was recorded on Kapp by Armstrong and his “All Stars”; the B Side was “A Lot Of Lovin’ To Do.” Five years later, Satchmo appeared in the film version where he dueted with Streisand.

The 62-year-old Armstrong became the oldest act to top the US charts when this reached #1. Four years later Satchmo also became the oldest artist to record a UK #1 when “What A Wonderful World” hit the top spot.  When Armstrong was asked about his new #1 song, he replied, “It sure feels good to be up there with those Beatles.”

There are many great singers who are not entertainers.  They are pure gold to listen to, but painfully boring to watch.  Louis Armstrong, in my book, is a both a singer/musician, and an entertainer.  He is at one with his audience.  He draws you in, he makes you smile, he makes your toes tap.

And now, let’s let Louis take our cares and our worries away for just a few minutes, shall we?

Hello Dolly!
Louis Daniel Armstrong

Hello, Dolly,
Well, hello, Dolly
It’s so nice to have you back where you belong
You’re lookin’ swell, Dolly
I can tell, Dolly
You’re still glowin’, you’re still crowin’
You’re still goin’ strong
We feel the room swayin’
While the band’s playin’
One of your old favourite songs from way back when

So, take her wrap, fellas
Find her an empty lap, fellas
Dolly’ll never go away again

Hello, Dolly,
Well, hello, Dolly
It’s so nice to have you back where you belong
You’re lookin’ swell, Dolly
I can tell, Dolly
You’re still glowin’, you’re still crowin’
You’re still goin’ strong
We feel the room swayin’
While the band’s playin’
One of your old favourite songs from way back when

Golly, gee, fellas
Find her a vacant knee, fellas
Dolly’ll never go away
Dolly’ll never go away
Dolly’ll never go away again

Songwriters: Jerry Herman

♫ Don’t Lie To Me ♫

It was just a couple of days ago that I played You Don’t Send Me Flowers, by Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond.  I typically try to put a few weeks’ distance between songs by the same artist, but just yesterday, a dear friend sent me information about a new song by Ms. Streisand, and I didn’t want to put it aside for any length of time, knowing I would likely forget it.  Now, I don’t intend these music posts to be political, necessarily, but sometimes they are, for the music is … well, not so much political as a statement against social injustice, or sometimes even revolutionary.

This song, Don’t Lie to Me, is Barbra Streisand’s first new original music since 2005, and was the first new single off her upcoming album Walls, due out November 2nd.   In a recent interview with Time magazine, Streisand explains what motivated her to write this song, along with John Shanks, Jonas Myrin, and Jay Landers …

“My problem is what’s been happening to America. Even basic human decency seems to be melting away faster than the polar ice caps. An artist – at least – has a form of expression, which I’m grateful for. It gives me a way to let off a little steam.  It’s easy to feel powerless, but we’re not.

They’re very troubling times. The leader of the free world doesn’t seem to care much about truth, and he’s chipping away at the pillars of democracy, like freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press. I believe in the power of the truth, and I can’t stand being lied to. I don’t think the country should be lied to either. So that started me thinking about how to put down my thoughts in music and lyrics about what was on my mind.”

When asked about the title of her upcoming album, Walls, she explained …

“Well, we have a president who wants to build walls, and that got me thinking—walls can be structural, and walls can be emotional; walls between people. So I asked my dear friends Marilyn and Alan Bergman to write a song for this album, and it came out as “Walls,” which says we would have that better day if all those walls came tumbling down. I hope we find a way to tear down walls and build more bridges instead. There’s also a very hopeful song on this, “Better Angels,” that was inspired by Lincoln’s first inaugural address. It reminds us of who we have the potential to be when we listen to the better angels of our nature.”

The interview is quite interesting, if you feel inclined to take a look.  But for now, without further ado …

Don’t Lie to Me
Barbra Streisand

Why can’t you just tell me the truth?
Hard to believe the things you say
Why can’t you feel the tears I cried today, cried today, cried today
How do you win if we all lose?
You change the facts to justify
Your lips move but your words get in the way, in the way, in the way

Kings and Queens, crooks and thieves
You don’t see the forest for the trees
Head and heart on our knees
You can’t see what we all see

How do you sleep when the world keeps turning?
All that we built has come undone
How do you sleep when the world is burning?
Everyone answers to someone

Don’t lie to me, don’t lie to me, you lie to me
Don’t lie to me, don’t lie to me, you lie to me

You can build towers of bronze and gold
You can build castles in the sky
You can use smoke and mirrors, old clichés
Not today, not today

Kings and Queens, crooks and thieves
You don’t see the forest for the trees
Hand on heart, down our knees
You can’t see what everyone sees

How do you sleep when the world keeps turning?
All that we built has come undone
How do you sleep when the world is burning?
Everyone answers to someone

Don’t lie to me, don’t lie to me, you lie to me
Don’t lie to me, don’t lie to me, you lie to me

Can’t you see I’m crying?
Can’t you see we’re crying?
Where’s the new horizon?
Where’s the new horizon?

How do you sleep?
How do you sleep?
How do you sleep?
(How do you sleep when the world is turning?)
How do you sleep?
(All that we built has come undone)
Enough is enough
(How do you sleep when the world is burning?)
How do you sleep?
(Everyone answers to someone)

Don’t lie to me, don’t lie to me, you lie to me
Don’t lie to me, don’t lie to me, you lie to me

Can’t you see I’m crying?
(Can’t you see we’re crying?)
Can’t you see we’re crying?
Everyone answers to someone

Songwriters: Barbra Streisand / John Shanks / Jonas Myrin / Jay Landers
Don’t Lie to Me lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ You Don’t Bring Me Flowers ♫

I was just strolling barefoot through my list of tbp (to be played) songs tonight, and this one struck my fancy, for no particular reason other than that I like it.

The song was written by Neil Diamond with Alan and Marilyn Bergman for the ill-fated daily TV sitcom All That Glitters. The song was intended to be the theme song, but Norman Lear, the show’s creator, changed the concept of the show and the song was no longer appropriate. Diamond then expanded the track from 45 seconds to 3:17, adding instrumental sections and an additional verse. The Bergmans contributed to the song’s lyrics.

In 1977, Diamond released the album I’m Glad You’re Here with Me Tonight, which included the track You Don’t Bring Me Flowers as a solo performance. Early in 1978, Barbra Streisand covered the song on her album Songbird.

These solo recordings were famously spliced together by Gary Guthrie, a producer at the radio station WAKY-AM in Louisville, Kentucky, who did it as a going away present to his wife, whom he had just divorced. Guthrie’s spliced-together duet version first aired on WAKY on May 24, 1978.  It was such a hit, that other stations began doing their own mix of the song.

Guthrie sent CBS his version of the duet on July 27, and by August 3, both Striesand and Diamond had agreed to the release of a duet version. However, rather than issue any of the spliced-together versions, Columbia Records had Streisand and Diamond record a brand-new “official” studio version, which was released on October 17, 1978.

The song reached number one on the Hot 100 chart for two non-consecutive weeks in December 1978, producing the third number-one hit for both singers. The single sold over one million copies, and eventually went Platinum.

In 1979, Guthrie sued CBS for $5 million, claiming that he was improperly compensated for his role in making the song a hit. The suit was unsuccessful, but acknowledgment and gratitude for Guthrie came from CBS with a Gold record plaque, flowers from Diamond and a telegram from Streisand.

You Don’t Bring Me Flowers
Neil Diamond/Barbra Streisand

You don’t bring me flowers
You don’t sing me love songs
You hardly talk to me anymore
When I come through the door at the end of the day

I remember when
You couldn’t wait to love me
Used to hate to leave me
Now after lovin’ me late at night

When it’s good for you, babe
And you’re feeling alright

Well, you just roll over
And you turn out the light
And you don’t bring me flowers anymore

It used to be so natural (Used to be)
To talk about forever
But used-to-be’s don’t count anymore
They just lay on the floor ’til we sweep them away

And baby, I remember
All the things you taught me

I learned how to laugh
And I learned how to cry

Well I learned how to love
And I learned how to lie

So you’d think I could learn
How to tell you goodbye

You don’t bring me flowers anymore

Well, you’d think I could learn
How to tell you goodbye

You don’t sing to me

And you don’t sing me love songs

You don’t bring me flowers anymore

Songwriters: Alan Bergman / Marilyn Bergman / Neil Diamond
You Don’t Bring Me Flowers lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Spirit Music Group

♫ A Taste Of Honey ♫

For no earthly reason, this popped into my head today in the shower and has refused to leave all day, so … you know what that means!  A few centuries ago when I was a teenager, I was a big fan of Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass.  They were by no means the first, nor the last to record this song, but theirs is my favourite version.

Songwriters Bobby Scott and Ric Marlow wrote this as the theme to a play of the same name by Shelagh Delaney that was made into a movie in 1961. This instrumental version was recorded by piano player Martin Denny and won a Grammy for Best Instrumental Theme.

In 1966, Alpert received Grammys with his version of the song in three different categories: Best Instrumental Arrangement; Best Instrumental Performance, Non-Jazz; and Record of the Year. In addition, Larry Levine (the engineer for this song) received a Grammy with Alpert’s version for Best Engineered Recording – Non-Classical.

This song has been recorded both as an instrumental and as a vocal by so many artists it would make your head spin.  The Beatles recorded it in 1962, and Tony Bennett in 1964.  Acker Bilk recorded an instrumental version in 1963 that reached #16 in the UK. Barbra Streisand also recorded it in 1963.  I had never heard The Beatles version, so tonight I listened to it, thinking I might play it alongside Herb Alpert’s.  Um … no.  I like The Beatles, mind you, but … not their rendition of this song.  I also listened to Streisand’s version, and again, while I love Barbra … no, just no.  And so, tonight you get … Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass …

♫ What Kind Of Fool ♫

Sigh.  Once again, I have let our friend Ellen down.  On Wednesday, I did not do a music post.  I do the music posts, as a rule, last thing before going to bed at night, and on Tuesday night I did not find a song in my heart, so I gave up and went to bed.  Apparently, it was Barbra Streisand’s 77th birthday, and Ellen was hoping I would honour her on that day with a song.  (Sometimes I think Ellen takes great pleasure in gently chastising me for missing these special dates, but don’t tell her that I’m onto her!)

So, two days late, Happy Birthday Barbra!birthday-cake

I am not posting any trivia about the song or artists tonight, for I’m counting on Ellen to fill in all the gaps for us later today!

What Kind of Fool
Barbra Streisand/Barry Gibb

There was a time when we were down and out
There was a place when we were starting over
We let the bough break
We let the heartache in
Who’s sorry now

There was a world when we were standing still
And for a moment we were separated
And then you found him
You let the stranger in
Who’s sorry now

Who’s sorry now
What, what kind of fool (what kind of fool)
Tears it apart (tears it apart)
Leaving me pain and sorrow

Losing you now
Wonderin’ why
Where will I be tomorrow

There was a time when we were down and out
There was a place when we were starting over
We let the bough break
We let the heartache in
Who’s sorry now
Who’s sorry now

What, what kind of fool (what kind of fool)
Tears it apart (tears it apart)
Leaving me pain and sorrow

Losing you now
Wondering why
Where will I be tomorrow

Was there a moment when I cut you down
Played around
What have I done
I only apologize
For being as they say, the last to know
It has to show
When someone is in your eyes

What kind of fool (what kind of fool)
Tears it apart
Leaving me pain and sorrow

What kind of fool
How can I win
Where will I be tomorrow
What, what
What, what, yeah
Don’t leave me baby
Where will I go
Where will you be, what have I done?
Oh where will I be so, tell me why
Why why
What kind of fool

Songwriters: Albhy Galuten / Barry Gibb
What Kind of Fool lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ The Way We Were/Try To Remember ♫

This song is actually a compilation of two songs, The Way We Were, originally sung by Barbra Streisand, and Try To Remember, originally sung by just about everybody, including Gladys Knight.

I hope you don’t mind if I just give you the music tonight, sans background trivia, for I am simply exhausted and cannot go digging tonight.  I do like the song, though, and love the way she sings it, so sit back, relax, and just listen …

The Way We Were – Try To Remember
Gladys Knight

Memories light the corners of my mind
Misty water-colored memories of the way we were
Scattered pictures of the smiles we left behind
Smiles we gave to one another for the way we were

Can it be that it was all so simple then
Or has time rewritten every line
If we had the chance to do it all again
Tell me, would we?
Could we?

Memories may be beautiful and yet
What’s too painful to remember
We simply choose to forget
So it’s the laughter we will remember
Whenever we remember
The way we were
The way we were

Songwriters: Alan Bergman / Marilyn Bergman / Marvin Hamlisch
The Way We Were – Try To Remember lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ Evergreen ♫

This song about new love was the theme to the 1976 remake of A Star Is Born. The film, which starred Streisand, was very popular and this song won the Academy Award for Best Song.  I knew I was in the mood to play some Streisand tonight, but I couldn’t decide between this one and Memories.

Paul Williams, who had written hits for the Carpenters and Three Dog Night, wrote this with Streisand. The songs for A Star Is Born had to be written before filming began, since they were performed on camera. When Williams signed on to the project, Streisand had the music and one verse for the song “Everything.” Over the next seven weeks, they wrote all the songs for the movie.  According to Paul Williams …

Paul-Williams“She sat down and played on a guitar, the melody for ‘Evergreen’ that she’d written. It was just such a beautiful melody. I said, ‘There’s your love song. There’s the big love song.’ I asked her for the melody. She put it on tape for me, and I took it home. I actually wrote that as the last thing, which I think bothered her. But all the Kris Kristofferson stuff was the first thing up on the shoot schedule. So I wrote the songs for Kris first.

You know, Barbra recorded two or three of my songs before we did A Star Is Born. People would always ask, ‘Were you nervous about writing the Streisand music?’ Of course, she’s an amazing talent. But to sit down and write songs and to play songs for Kris… I mean, this is the man who wrote ‘Sunday Morning Coming Down,’ ‘Me And Bobby McGee.’ It was wonderful. Kris was great about the songs. But the very last thing that I wrote was ‘Evergreen.’ I gave that to Barbra, and then hit the road and didn’t look back.

I actually wrote those first two lines in the opposite order. I wrote ‘Love, fresh as the morning air, love soft as an easy chair.’ I called Barbra as I was getting on a plane to go on tour with Olivia Newton-John. We were doing a 6-week tour, and Barbra was in Arizona getting ready to start filming A Star Is Born. I called her and said, ‘You know what, flip those two first lines, because it sings better.’ ‘Love, soft as an easy chair, love, fresh as the morning air.’ ‘Morning’ sang better at that point in the song. And I remember saying to Barbra, ‘They’ll probably laugh us out of the theaters for starting a love song with a line about a chair, but I think it works better that way.’ And I think it was the biggest-selling soundtrack album ever at that time, and of course the song won the triple crown: the Oscar, the Grammy, and the Golden Globe.”

Evergreen
Barbra Streisand

Love soft as an easy chair
Love fresh as the morning air
One love that is shared by two
I have found with you
Like a rose under the April snow
I was always certain love would grow
Love ageless and evergreen
Seldom seen by two
You and I will
Make each night the first
Everyday a beginning
Spirits rise and their dance is unrehearsed
They warm and excite us
‘Cause we have the brightest love
Two lights that shine as one
Morning glory and midnight sun
Time, we’ve learned to sail above
Time, won’t change the meaning of one love
Ageless and ever, evergreen

Songwriters: Barbra Streisand; Paul Williams
Evergreen lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ Right Here Waiting For You ♫

Singer and songwriter Richard Marx wrote this song on the road as a love letter to his wife, actress Cynthia Rhodes.

“I wrote the song for my wife Cynthia who was in South Africa shooting for a film. We were not married then and I wanted to meet her because I had not seen her for a few months. But my visa application was rejected and when I came back I wrote this song which was more of a letter from me to her. It was the fastest song I wrote, in barely 20 minutes. And this was the time when there was no Skype and Social networking so I had to ship the track to her. The song was very personal and was not intended to go public. But my friends pursued me to record it.”

A bit about Richard Marx … His father wrote TV jingles for chocolate bars and peanut butter, and Richard made his professional debut singing on some of his dad’s commercials. When he was 18, Marx left his hometown of Chicago and headed to LA, where another commercial-minded musician, Lionel Richie, took the young singer-songwriter under this wing. After a 5-year apprenticeship in which he sang harmonies on several of Richie’s hits had some of his compositions recorded by artists such as Kenny Rogers and Chicago, Marx finally landed his own recording contract. And he was poised for stardom: Marx’s self-titled 1987 debut album yielded four top-10 hits, including the #1 song Hold On To The Nights.

Marx originally pitched the song to Barbra Streisand. But she had a few issues with his lyrics. “She called and said, ‘I love this music, this melody is gorgeous, but if I’m going to record it, I’m going to need you to rewrite the lyrics because I’m not going to be right here waiting for anybody,'”  I’m rather glad he kept the song … and the lyrics.

Right Here Waiting for You
Richard Marx

Oceans apart day after day
And I slowly go insane
I hear your voice on the line
But it doesn’t stop the pain

If I see you next to never
How can we say forever

Wherever you go
Whatever you do
I will be right here waiting for you
Whatever it takes
Or how my heart breaks
I will be right here waiting for you

I took for granted, all the times
That I thought would last somehow
I hear the laughter, I taste the tears
But I can’t get near you now

Oh, can’t you see it baby
You’ve got me going crazy

Wherever you go
Whatever you do
I will be right here waiting for you
Whatever it takes
Or how my heart breaks
I will be right here waiting for you

I wonder how we can survive
This romance
But in the end if I’m with you
I’ll take the chance

Oh, can’t you see it baby
You’ve got me going crazy

Wherever you go
Whatever you do
I will be right here waiting for you
Whatever it takes
Or how my heart breaks
I will be right here waiting for you
Waiting for you

Songwriters: Richard Marx
Right Here Waiting for You lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, BMG Rights Management

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♫ Somewhere ♫

Somewhere
Barbra Streisand

Someday
Somewhere
We’ll find a new way of living
We’ll find a way of forgiving
Somewhere

There’s a place for us
Somewhere a place for us
Peace and quiet and open air
Wait for us somewhere

There’s a time for us
Someday there’ll be a time for us
Time together with time to spare
Time to learn
Time to care

Someday
Somewhere
We’ll find a new way of living
We’ll find there’s a way of forgiving
Somewhere
Somewhere
Somewhere

There’s a place for us
A time and a place for us
Hold my hand and we’re half way there
Hold my hand and I’ll take you there
Somehow
Someday
Somewhere

Songwriters: Richard Mullins
Somewhere lyrics © Capitol Christian Music Group