Peter Tibbles, who lives in Melbourne, Australia, has been handling the Elder Music section of this blog on Sundays for about 10 years, and doing a spectacular job of it. His knowledge and taste are peerless.
I don't like to interfere with such fine work but now and then, I have a little something to say about music. Today is one of those times.
This came to mind when I first met my new physical therapist who tends exclusively to feet. I wrote about that last Friday. It turns out she had lived, studied and worked in Manhattan for several years and loves it as much as I do.
Our conversation reminded me of a 1946 record album (remember 78s?) about New York City that I last mentioned here way back in 2009 – “Manhattan Tower”. I sent it to her and took a listen myself, which I had not done in several years. I found myself smiling throughout, while feeling all warm and fuzzy.
There is a back story to this.
I was a little girl of no more than five or six when my parents obtained the album at its first release. It made such an impression on me that I made it my own. I played those two 78s hundreds of times over many years and I am convinced it is what began my love affair with New York – nothing else explains my yearning, from earliest childhood, to live there.
The album is a love letter to New York City, a suite composed and conducted by Gordon Jenkins with the lead performances sung by Eliot Lewis and Beverly Mahr. Never heard of them? Me neither – except on this album.
There are four parts – Magical City, The Party, New York's My Home and Love in the Tower. The arrangement can sound overblown and schmaltzy nearly 75 years later and maybe it is. But there is something about music from our youth that persists.
In the 1950s, a new version of “Manhattan Tower” was released adding many more songs including what was a big hit for Patti Page back then, Married I Can Always Get.
I don't like all these extra tunes so I never listen to that version. The 16-minute original seems to me to be too perfect to mess with and I discovered that I still know every word of the lyrics.
Music from our youth tends to stick with us as we get old. And we can often recall events from our younger years more easily than what we had to dinner last evening. So maybe you, too, have some early music memories that you still love.
Here is the original ”Manhattan Tower” from 1946, the full 16-minute suite - for those of you who don't find it too treacly.