♫ Rainy Days And Mondays ♫

Given the fact that it’s Monday, I thought I’d play Monday, Monday by The Mamas And The Papas, but a search of the archives shows me that I just played that in July!  How do I forget these thing so quickly???  Anyway, the next ‘Monday’ song that came to mind was this one by the Carpenters, and it actually seems more apt today anyway.

Paul Williams wrote this with Roger Nichols. It was an early effort for the duo, who went on to write hits for Three Dog Night and separately wrote popular TV themes: Williams for The Love Boat and Nichols for Hart To Hart.

Sometimes song lyrics are written on the fly, and that was the case with a line in this song. Says Williams:

“On ‘Rainy Days And Mondays’ Chuck Kay, who was head of publishing at A&M, said, ‘That’s a perfect song for The 5th Dimension, let’s play it for them.’ I said, ‘Well, there are a couple of lines that aren’t done yet.’ He said, ‘You’ll finish it in the car.’ So in the car going over there, I came up with a fill line, which was ‘What I’ve got they used to call the blues.’ I didn’t have that line done yet, so I wrote it as just a quick fill line, because I wanted to mention the blues, but it was such a hackneyed expression, ‘I’ve got the blues.’ So I just wrote, ‘What I’ve got they used to call the blues.’ And it actually became my favorite line in the song. I think it’s the best line in the song. I met Johnny Mercer once at A&M Records, and he sat down and I introduced myself, ‘Paul Williams,’ and he shook my hand. And he walked back into the studio where he was mixing, then he stuck his head back out into the hall and he went, ‘Paul Williams, ‘what I’ve got they used to call the blues,’ that Paul Williams?’ I said, ‘Yes, sir.’ It was funny. It was one of the great moments of my life, to meet Johnny Mercer, who I think was the lyricist’s lyricist.”

The 5th Dimension passed on this song, but the Carpenters picked it up, giving them their second hit written by Williams and Nichols, who also wrote We’ve Only Just Begun. Williams’ acting career took off as he landed roles in Battle For The Planet Of The Apes and Smokey And The Bandit. He also appeared in The Muppet Movie and wrote songs for the film, including the classic Rainbow Connection.

Rainy Days and Mondays
The Carpenters

Talkin’ to myself and feelin’ old
Sometimes I’d like to quit
Nothin’ ever seems to fit
Hangin’ around
Nothin’ to do but frown
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down

What I’ve got they used to call the blues
Nothin’ is really wrong
Feelin’ like I don’t belong
Walkin’ around
Some kind of lonely clown
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down

Funny, but it seems I always wind up here with you
Nice to know somebody loves me
Funny, but it seems that it’s the only thing to do
Run and find the one who loves me (the one who loves me)

What I feel has come and gone before
No need to talk it out (talk it out)
We know what it’s all about
Hangin’ around (hangin’ around)
Nothin’ to do but frown
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down

Funny, but it seems that it’s the only thing to do (only thing to do)
Run and find the one who loves me (ooh)

What I feel has come and gone before
No need to talk it out (to talk it out)
We know what it’s all about
Hangin’ around (hangin’ around)
Nothin’ to do but frown
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down
Hangin’ around (hangin’ around)
Nothin’ to do but frown
Rainy days and Mondays always get
Me down

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Paul H. Williams / Roger S. Nichols
Rainy Days and Mondays lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ Moon River ♫

Some songs, I think, are simply timeless … or perhaps it is just that I am old and nostalgia has taken hold of my mind today.  I’ve been in a dark place of late … I see too much wrong in the world and realize that my small contributions toward righting the wrongs are pretty irrelevant.  So, tonight I went searching for a song that would take me back to another time … not necessarily a simpler or better time … just a different time.

This was used as Audrey Hepburn’s theme song in the 1961 movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Hepburn sings the song in the movie, and many have recorded this, including Andy Williams and Frank Sinatra, but the one that made the charts in 1961 was Jerry Butler’s version.  Butler’s version reached #11 in the U.S. and #14 in Canada, but it was South African singer Danny Williams’ version that topped the charts at #1 in the UK.  I listened to Danny Williams’ version and frankly, I liked it better than the rest!  I had never heard of him before, but his voice is as silk.

Henry Mancini wrote this song with lyricist Johnny Mercer. The original title was “Blue River,” but Mercer found out another songwriter was using that title.  Moon River is a real river in Savannah, Georgia, where Mercer grew up. His home overlooked the river and he had fond memories of the place. At the time, the river was known as The Back River, but was renamed Moon River in honor of the song, and Johnny Mercer’s home along the river became known as the Moon River House.  According to Mancini …

“I reckon I’ll have made around $100,000 on ‘Moon River’ within the next two years or so. It took me about 30 minutes to compose. It had to be in keeping with the character of Holly Golightly, the star of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and I had to bear in mind the limitations of Audrey Hepburn’s voice. I worked the whole song round a simple guitar basis, although the guitar isn’t heard much during the number.”

Danny Williams originally refused to sing it, saying that Johnny Mercer’s lyrics were nonsensical. But he saw the film and was so moved by it that he relented. Williams died of cancer on 6th December 2005.

With so many good versions to choose from, I was torn.  So, I am giving you a choice tonight, between Jerry Butler’s, Andy Williams’, and Danny Williams’.  Listen to one, to all, or to none … let me know what you think.

Moon River

Moon river, wider than a mile
I’m crossing you in style some day
Oh, dream maker, you heart breaker
Wherever you’re goin’, I’m goin’ your way

Two drifters, off to see the world
There’s such a lot of world to see
We’re after the same rainbow’s end, waitin’ ’round the bend
My huckleberry friend, moon river, and me

Moon river, wider than a mile
I’m crossin’ you in style some day
Oh, dream maker, you heart breaker
Wherever you’re goin’, I’m goin’ your way

Two drifters, off to see the world
There’s such a lot of world to see
We’re after that same rainbow’s end, waitin’ ’round the Bend
My huckleberry friend, moon river, and me

Writer/s: Johnny Mercer, Henry Mancini
Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC