20/20 Musical Vision!
I was driving one day with the radio on and the DJ started talking about New Year's 2020 (it was August so this was weird) and she said she hoped there would be a lot of throwback 1920's style parties. And I realized, pretty soon we will be in the 20's again!
I've had a goal to learn to play more songs by other writers and artists and to arrange and post more covers. I got an idea that it might be fun to record a song from each decade from 1920 to 2020, to celebrate the past 100 years of popular music. I plan to post a new video each week. These aren't fancy videos. And I'm not the most accomplished instrumentalist or arranger. It's all very casual and just for kicks and I'm just letting you all in on it for fun. I started last week with "Someone To Watch Over Me" by George and Ira Gershwin. It's a song I've always loved, and I think I heard it for the first time when I sang it in a school choir. Now that I'm older, there are lyrics that strike me as funny, like the singer randomly bagging on this guy's appearance in the middle of a song where she pines for him. I'm probably missing some context from the musical it was written for. But there's no denying the gorgeous melody and timeless idea of wanting someone to care for you.
Today I have a new video of my version of "It's Only A Paper Moon", published in 1933, with music by Harold Arlen and lyrics by Yip Harburg and Billy Rose. When you do a google search of the song, the first thing to come up is a version by Ella Fitzgerald, and it's magnificent. I first heard the song quite a few years ago as a recording by James Taylor. It was sweet and old timey and folky in true James Taylor fashion. I figured it must be a cover of some 1950's tune about sock hop decorations or something. Then one day I actually listened to the words, and my mind was blown. A song about how the whole universe is just a big fake thing that is only real when someone believes in you. Holy crap.
The layers get deeper for me as time goes on. Sometimes I feel like the only thing that is real in this world is love. Everyone wants to put on a big show on whatever social media platform is the big thing, so people can be jealous, and it's all paper. Actually it isn't even as real as paper. We chase a bunch of fake stuff and don't notice the real magic of what is right before our eyes. Our relationships. Love. The people believing in all of the paper moons we cut out and try to stick into the sky. The people holding the ladder for us while we try. The ones who hold us when it all falls down.
I love the cute, jaunty, jazzy version as it's intended to be, but I wanted to try something different for this. Something spacier and a little spooky. Here's "It's Only A Paper Moon".
Stay tuned next week for the 1940's!