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 Posted:   Sep 9, 2013 - 11:04 PM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

I'm listing here three different versions of this magnificent Porter song - wondering what versions people prefer and why. Different tempi can have such an impact on that way we receive a song!

The first from Eleanor Powell and Fred Astaire:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37XhIuqsWVk

The second from Sheryl Crow, sung by her in "De Lovely" - by far the slowest version:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuUFdWiumkU

And lastly Deanna Durbin:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kr1zs0wFEgU

For me, the Crow version is infinitely superior to the others. What do you think?

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 10, 2013 - 1:53 AM   
 By:   siriami   (Member)

I just know you meant to type Eleanor Powell!
For me, that is THE definitive version - or should I say versions - as it's taken at a few different tempos on the soundtrack by both Powell/Astaire and a superb vocal group version by the Music Maids, all under the superb arrangement of Edward Powell.
Alistair

 
 Posted:   Sep 10, 2013 - 2:54 AM   
 By:   gren99   (Member)

melora hardin doing a (imo) beautiful big band version from 'the rocketeer':

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=br7-YyH_VA4

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 10, 2013 - 4:00 AM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

I just know you meant to type Eleanor Powell!
For me, that is THE definitive version - or should I say versions - as it's taken at a few different tempos on the soundtrack by both Powell/Astaire and a superb vocal group version by the Music Maids, all under the superb arrangement of Edward Powell.
Alistair


Spot on!! Yes, Eleanor Powell - the other one was in "Sound of Music"!! I've just fixed it.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 10, 2013 - 4:01 AM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

melora hardin doing a (imo) beautiful big band version from 'the rocketeer':

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=br7-YyH_VA4


You guys on this messageboard amaze me!! This is a FABULOUS version of "Begin the Beguine"!!

 
 Posted:   Sep 10, 2013 - 6:45 AM   
 By:   Other Tallguy   (Member)

melora hardin doing a (imo) beautiful big band version from 'the rocketeer':

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=br7-YyH_VA4


You guys on this messageboard amaze me!! This is a FABULOUS version of "Begin the Beguine"!!


Since this was where I first heard it, to me this is definitive.

Once I was at WWII / Big Band night at a local aircraft museum. (Big band and dancing in a hangar under a B-17. AWESOME.) The band started playing Begin the Beguine and I started singing along. I was 23 and looked like I was 17. Several of the guests who looked old enough to have been in the war looked at me in surprise. One elderly lady said to me “I never knew this song had words. How did you?” I laughed and told her about The Rocketeer.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 10, 2013 - 4:15 PM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

Seems you had a well developed taste for music in your early 20's!! Your comment about the listener not knowing the song had lyrics merely demonstrates the fact that down in 'lowest common denominator' territory a great many people have the most scant knowledge - or none - of really good music. Here in Australian there's a great deal of appreciation for things like "Your cheatin' heart gonna tell on YOU!". Country and western - alive and well in the Antipodes.

When I was teaching English one time to middle and lower ability 14 year olds (boys and girls) I had to 'teach' them "Romeo and Juliet" (only God knows why!!). I started the unit with the Cranko choreography of Fonteyn and Nureyev's ballet of the same name. They rioted!! "This sux miss". I turned it off and swung around to them and said, "you don't like or appreciate culture: good, because this means I don't have to compete with you when tickets for the ballet are available". One or two of those kids did want to know more, but the populist mafia made sure that day would be forever postponed.

I think of Keats:

"Where are the songs of Spring: aye, where are they?
Think not of them: thou hast thy music too".

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 10, 2013 - 5:14 PM   
 By:   Disco Stu   (Member)

melora hardin doing a (imo) beautiful big band version from 'the rocketeer':

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=br7-YyH_VA4


That cover was the third let down in the film. It was sung by someone who didn't bother to do some research in how songs were sung in the day the story is set. Besides that her voice is thin and she doesn't hold the tone too well which she tries to cover with the oldest trick in the book: "volume volume volume". Then again virtually all those "back in the days" set films can't bother to sound the part. Cars yes, clothes yes, props yes sometimes even hairdos yes, faces now and then, singing hardly. Another very obvious and anoying one is the song "Mystery" in "The shadow".

D.S.

 
 Posted:   Sep 10, 2013 - 5:20 PM   
 By:   Sigerson Holmes   (Member)



Wish I could find a clip, but let me just mention Colombian opera figure Carlos Ramirez in the Cary-Grant-as-Cole-Porter biopic "Night and Day." The Latin/surrealistic staging of the number is one of the nuttier things about that nutty movie. I'm always thrown by the opening credits, where it says the picture was directed by the same man who made "Yankee Doodle Dandy."

"Night and Day" was one of movie history's great cases of "What the hell happened?" . . . until "De-Lovely" came out, that is.

Good article on the reel vs. real Porter story:

http://www.squareone.org/stoddard/porter.html

 
 Posted:   Sep 10, 2013 - 5:26 PM   
 By:   MKRUltra   (Member)

Very fond of the incorporation of it into the score for Australia:


 
 Posted:   Sep 10, 2013 - 6:36 PM   
 By:   Sigerson Holmes   (Member)

 
 Posted:   Sep 10, 2013 - 6:39 PM   
 By:   Sigerson Holmes   (Member)

Incidentally, Regie, I don't think we'd have this thread if it weren't for Artie Shaw.



When the song was first heard, it failed to catch on, but Shaw's swing arrangement of it two years later (regarded by some as one of the greatest swing records ever) made the song much more popular and was a big influence on the Astaire/Powell performance too (even on the "Rocketeer" version, I think).

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 10, 2013 - 6:53 PM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

(I say again, you guys are bloody marvellous!!)

Sigerson, Artie Shaw was one hell of musician wasn't he? You are probably right about his role in popularizing "Begin the Beguine". (After all, if it wasn't for Mendelssohn nobody today would know about JS Bach - for he fell into obscurity after his death.)

Porter's songs are generally not for the uninitiated; they are full of clever melodic twists, key changes and risque and sophisticated lyrics. "Night and Day" - who could imagine a song built into its opening just the one note. He emulates the rain with that opening note and then the rest of the song well, er, flows after that!! Linda Ronstadt once said that many of Porter's songs were like cotton reels, unravelling and going in different directions. They are, most of them, 'through composed' but, of course, many of them remain strophic or modified strophic.

"Begin the Beguine" is so evocative of a time and a feeling, similar to many of Porter's songs about reminiscing and tinged with regret: "It was Just One of Those Things", "Where is the Life that Late I Led?", "Ah yes, I Remember it Well" (Gigi), just to name three. And Porter, the seasoned traveller, used his worldly experiences to great affect in his songs, "..should still she be cruisin' that amusin' Pontaveccio"!!

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 10, 2013 - 6:59 PM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

Cvalda, that IS a lovely version isn't it? I haven't seen the film "Australia" because I cannot stand Baz Lurhmann, but he has moved up a tiny notch if he's used Porter for the music!!

 
 Posted:   Sep 10, 2013 - 7:16 PM   
 By:   MKRUltra   (Member)

Cvalda, that IS a lovely version isn't it? I haven't seen the film "Australia" because I cannot stand Baz Lurhmann, but he has moved up a tiny notch if he's used Porter for the music!!

Australia is probably his least Baz-y work -- no incongruous rap songs, Bollywood staging, etc. Just old fashioned, sweeping historical melodrama. Lots of people hate it, but I think it's great, shameless entertainment, and will probably be "rediscovered" in years to come. You should give it a chance. Score is very good, too:

 
 Posted:   Sep 10, 2013 - 7:16 PM   
 By:   Sigerson Holmes   (Member)

"Gigi" - Lerner & Loewe. (Perhaps you were remembering "Can-Can"?)

"Australia" is the exception that proves the Baz-gives-me-a-headache rule, if you ask me. I can wholeheartedly recommend that one; proceed without fear. It has just the right rationalization for his eccentric storytelling style this time (it's from a child's point of view) and just the right balance of WWII action and sentiment. Trust me? Give it a try.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 10, 2013 - 9:46 PM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

"Gigi" - Lerner & Loewe. (Perhaps you were remembering "Can-Can"?)

"Australia" is the exception that proves the Baz-gives-me-a-headache rule, if you ask me. I can wholeheartedly recommend that one; proceed without fear. It has just the right rationalization for his eccentric storytelling style this time (it's from a child's point of view) and just the right balance of WWII action and sentiment. Trust me? Give it a try.


See posting below.

 
 Posted:   Sep 10, 2013 - 9:46 PM   
 By:   shicorp   (Member)

I have to confess that I wasn't too fond of "De-Lovely" (most of the arrangements seemed too 'modern' to me and changed the spirit of the songs); my favorite version on the screen thus has to be the Artie Shaw clip - followed by Astaire and Powell. Another honorable mention must go to "Evil Under The Sun" where the song is briefly used as underscore during one of Poirot's investigations.

My all-time-favorite (vocal) version on RECORD is that from Mario Lanza's weekly radio show:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FSL0I0eOHE

Great arrangement and vocals. A close contender is Frank Sinatra's 1940s recording for Columbia. Among the ones better not to be mentioned (IMO) is the try by Julio Iglesias - and I think there were some more versions at that time in a similar vein. Nearly as bad as the Taco "Puttin' On The Ritz" frown

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 10, 2013 - 9:49 PM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

"Gigi" - Lerner & Loewe. (Perhaps you were remembering "Can-Can"?)

"Australia" is the exception that proves the Baz-gives-me-a-headache rule, if you ask me. I can wholeheartedly recommend that one; proceed without fear. It has just the right rationalization for his eccentric storytelling style this time (it's from a child's point of view) and just the right balance of WWII action and sentiment. Trust me? Give it a try.


Senior's moment; my memory is obviously letting me down seriously. "It Was Just One of Those Things" was from "Can Can", yes. Incidentally, Lerner & Loewe were interesting: putting the lyricist first. Alan Jay was one of the greatest, whilst Fritz wasn't such an outstanding composer.

I'm just so prejudiced against Baz because of that campy style of his and cartoonish mindset. Flicker, flicker, bang, bang. When "Romeo & Juliet" came out the whole English staffroom was cooing and billing (ancient words, aye?) and I was the sole dissenter, "pass me the bucket please". "Gatsby" has had mixed reviews - probably saved by the magnificent Leo!!

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 10, 2013 - 9:56 PM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

What do you think of Michael Buble's version?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6-FSc3CpQI

To me, Buble has a beautiful voice reminiscent of Sinatra, but the passion and longing and interpretation of the song is missing. Listen again to Crow and you can hear the regret in her voice.

 
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