The song of the day for Saturday, January 30, 2016 is “Nature Boy.”
About This Song
“Nature Boy” was written in 1947 by eden ahbez, the name adopted by George Alexander Aberle, who was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1908. In the 1930s, he lived in Kansas City and worked as a pianist and band leader. In the early 1940s, he moved to Los Angeles and began playing piano in a health food and raw food store run by John and Vera Richter, who followed a Naturmensch and Lebensreform philosophy influenced by the Wandervogel movement in Germany. In following their philosophy, he and other followers grew their hair long, became vegetarians and were, for all practical purposes, the earliest hippies. They called themselves The Nature Boys.At the suggestion of Johnny Mercer, eden ahbez approached Nat King Cole with his song “Nature Boy.” Unable to meet with Nat Cole personally, he left the song with Cole’s valet. Cole began to perform the song in his concerts; in 1947 he recorded it for Capitol Records, with an arrangement by Frank DeVol, who used strings and flute in his orchestration. The song was a big hit for Nat Cole and Capitol Records.
About This Version
Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga made a lovely recording of “Nature Boy” for their 2014 album Cheek To Cheek.
I’ve been reading a lot (well, all) of Ross Macdonald novels in the past few months, most of them set in Southern California. In several of those books, there are characters who remind me of this song, for better or for worse. I’m sure he ran into one or more nature boys on the west coast as he was plotting those wonderful mysteries.
Just remember: the greatest thing is to love and be loved in return.
“Nature Boy,” as well as Cheek To Cheek, is available from iTunes.
For our Saturday video, we have a short snippet of Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga singing today’s song from their PBS special.