Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I've Heard That Song Before

Words and Music by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn

Even though most of the music in the dusty box is from this 1942 era, I don't want to overemphasize that period. I will probably pick one more pure war propaganda tune and move on. My current selection was based on the suspicion that the lyrics are a nod to the "Play it again, Sam" nostalgia that Casablanca created. But Casablanca was released in November 1942...so that doesn't add up. Youth on Parade, the musical film I've Heard That Song Before was introduced in was released in October 1942. So this is an example of a romantic ideal revolving around the memories we assign to music appearing consecutively and independently. Both Casablanca and the songs used in Youth on Parade were evolving at the same time and the fact Rick is reminded of his affair with Ilsa by the 1931 song As Time Goes By is probably unrelated to the line in this Styne and Cahn song "Please have them play it again...". In fact, am I being crazy to suggest this is why people historically get the quote wrong? Casablana was in the theaters only a few weeks after Youth on Parade was in theaters. So the same people who heard Ilsa say, "Play it, Sam." also heard Margaret Whiting sing a very similar line in a song that would soon be nominated for an Academy Award. I think over time the two scenarios got mixed up in people's minds. I'm sure this factoid revelation is super illuminating in the era of Ebola.

Maybe it's also no coincidence that Vera Lynn also recorded I've Heard That Song Before since she was the top recording singer in England at that time.

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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.