The song of the day for Tuesday, April 8, 2014 is “Last Night When We Were Young.”
About This Song
Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg wrote “Last Night When We Were Young” in 1936. Unlike most of their songs, especially at that time, it was not written for either a film or a theatrical production. In American Popular Song, Alec Wilder was a big fan of the song:
This is a most remarkable and beautiful song. It is one that goes far beyond the boundaries of popular music. For me, it is a concert song without trace of trying to be. It hasn’t any artiness or pretense. It’s obviously deeply felt, by both the composer and the lyricist, E.Y. Harburg.
It was indeed a deeply felt lyric by E.Y. Harburg, whose date of birth we remember today. Upon reflecting on this song, he said that he did not know where he acquired the title but that “the juxtaposition of those two phrases is almost a whole world of philosophy.”
It is one of the great songs in the American Songbook.
About This Version
Tony Bennett has recorded this song twice: first in 1960 on To My Wonderful One and again in 1992 for Perfectly Frank. While both versions are excellent, I prefer the later version, as I believe the song has more depth coming from the somewhat older perspective. Mr. Bennett is accompanied by the Ralph Sharon Trio, with Paul Langosch on bass and Joe LaBarbera on drums.
“Last Night When We Were Young,” as well as the album Perfectly Frank, is available from iTunes.