Revisiting "Love and Marriage"
With a little extra!
We had very few subscribers back in August of last year, when I posted this essay about “Love and Marriage,” by the writer of some of my favorite old songs, Jimmy Van Heusen. And really, I’m thinking today not just of our dear mothers (our Word of the Week) but our dear fathers, too. ‘Cause without them, our mothers wouldn’t have been our mothers! So I hope those few of our subscribers who saw the original post will bear with me for a “revisit” to a great work from that Great American Songbook. I’ve included Sammy Cahn’s fun lyrics this time, and at the end, I’m going to throw in a little surprise.
Can something be lighthearted and serious at the same time? Of course! And Sometimes a Song proves my case, as it does this week with a delightful tune by four-time Academy Award “Best Original Song” winner, Jimmy Van Heusen (lyrics by Sammy Cahn). You may have heard some of Mr. Van Heusen’s wonderful songs, such as two of his Academy Award winners, “Swinging on a Star” (from Going My Way) and “High Hopes” (from A Hole in the Head). But today’s Van Heusen gem is “Love and Marriage,” recorded by the incomparable Frank Sinatra in 1955.
Love and marriage, Love and marriage, Go together like a horse and carriage. This I tell ya, brother, Ya can’t have one without the other. Love and marriage, Love and marriage, It’s an institute you can’t disparage. Ask the local gentry And they will say it’s element’ry. Try, try, try to separate them. It’s an illusion. Try, try, try and you will only come To this conclusion. Love and marriage, Love and marriage, Go together like a horse and carriage. Dad was told by mother, You can’t have one without the other.
“Love and Marriage” was not one of Mr. Van Heusen’s Academy Award winners, but it did receive the unique honor among songs in the American Songbook of being chosen for The Christopher Award, given each year for a work which meets three criteria: “artistic and technical proficiency, significant degree of public acceptance, and affirmation of the highest values of the human spirit.” I love the song, and I hope you will, too. Here’s three cheers for “Love and Marriage!”
This seems like as good a time as any to give a nod to a beloved old musical genre, the Barber Shop Quartet. I promise to do more on this delightful singing style in future Sometimes a Song entries, but for now I want to share a much-loved barber shop song written especially to honor “the girl that married dear old Dad!” I couldn’t find a proper barber shop version for you online, but what follows demonstrates the lasting popular appeal of this 19th century folk song, which at mid 20th century was still known by just about every living American.
Here is a clip of the fraternity glee club singing “I Want a Girl” on the music-filled long-running sitcom, The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet. At out house, we issue such videos this viewer warning: !!! DIFFERENT UNIVERSE ALERT !!!
Credit for locating this clip goes to our daughter, Jessica, a young woman with an old soul.
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Can’t help nibbling at the Barbershop bait. My favorite moment is this scene in The Music Man when an unsuspecting quartet is formed:
I thought everyone, like me, knew all the words to these great old tunes. [Here I go showing my age.] One I would NOT expect anyone else still above ground to know is a humorous ditty on the same general theme: “If it wasn’t for your father, would your mother be your mother...” It’s out there on YouTube. I’m not tech-savvy enough to send the link with my iPhone, or I would.