MUSIC CLIP - OSCAR PETERSON, “MOONGLOW”
Welcome to Afterglow, I’m your host, Mark Chilla.
We’re ringing in the new year this hour. As we say goodbye to the harrowing year of 2020 and say hello to a brand new year, I want to feature an hour of music from the Great American Songbook about beginnings, sung by some favorites like Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and more. We’ll hear a couple of “New Year” related songs, including “Let’s Start The New Year Off Right.” We’ll also hear some standards about fresh starts, like “I’m Beginning to See The Light,” “Begin The Beguine,” and “This Could Be The Start Of Something Big.” And Nat King Cole will provide us with some advice for starting over again.
It’s Let’s Begin: Songs for The New Year, coming up next on Afterglow
MUSIC - HARRY CONNICK, JR, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING NEW YEAR’S EVE”
Harry Connick, Jr. in 1993 with Frank Loesser’s classic New Year’s song “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” That comes from his album When My Heart Finds Christmas
MUSIC CLIP - ARTIE SHAW AND HIS ORCHESTRA, “BEGIN THE BEGUINE”
Mark Chilla here on Afterglow. On this show, we’re ringing in the new year by exploring songs about beginnings, fresh starts, and new love.
Before we begin our beguine, let’s not turn our back on the New Year’s holiday quite yet. The New Year’s song doesn’t quite have the same cache as the Christmas song, but many songwriters have devoted words and music this holiday devoted to turning over a new leaf. Let’s hear one that you might not be familiar with.
This comes from June Christy’s 1961 winter-themed album The Time Of Year, featuring songs written by Arnold Miller and Connie Pearce. Here is June Christy with the New Year’s song “Sorry To See You Go,” on Afterglow.
MUSIC - JUNE CHRISTY, “SORRY TO SEE YOU GO”
MUSIC - BING CROSBY, “LET’S START THE NEW YEAR OFF RIGHT”
Bing Crosby from the 1942 film Holiday Inn with Irving Berlin’s “Let’s Start The New Year Right.” Several iconic Irving Berlin holiday songs came from this film, including “Happy Holiday,” “Easter Parade,” and, of course, “White Christmas.” Before that, the much less familiar New Year’s song, “Sorry To See You Go,” written by Arnold Miller and Connie Pearce, and performed there in 1961 by June Christy.
Those aren’t the only New Year’s songs. There’s also another really depressing song I didn’t feature by Gordon Jenkins ironically titled “Happy New Year.” There are great versions of this by Nat King Cole, Chris Connor, and a few others, but it was just too sad. So let’s keep things light, shall we?
Here are a few more happy tunes about beginnings. We’ll start with Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington in 1961 with a tune co-written by Ellington. This is “I’m Beginning To See The Light,” on Afterglow.
MUSIC - LOUIS ARMSTRONG AND DUKE ELLINGTON, “I’M BEGINNING TO SEE THE LIGHT”
MUSIC - BILLIE HOLIDAY, “LIFE BEGINS WHEN YOU’RE IN LOVE”
Billie Holiday in 1936 with Teddy Wilson’s Orchestra, and the Lew Brown and Victor Schertzinger song “Life Begins When You’re In Love.” Before that, we heard Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington in 1961 with Ellington’s own “I’m Beginning To See The Light.”
This next song about beginnings is the namesake for the episode. It’s a 1933 song by Jerome Kern and Otto Harbach from their musical Roberta, a musical which also produced standards like “Yesterdays” and “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes.” This one is about standing on that precipice of new love, making the decision about diving in.
Here is Ella Fitzgerald, from her Jerome Kern songbook album with “Let’s Begin,” on Afterglow.
MUSIC - ELLA FITZGERALD, “LET’S BEGIN”
MUSIC - ELLA FITZGERALD, “I’VE GOT BEGINNER’S LUCK”
MUSIC - TONY BENNETT, “BEGIN THE BEGUINE”
Tony Bennett and arranger Ralph Sharon in 1960 from the album Mr. Broadway, with Cole Porter’s “Begin The Beguine.” Before that, Ella Fitzgerald in 1959 from her Gershwin songbook album with “I’ve Got Beginner’s Luck.” And starting that set, Fitzgerald again from her Jerome Kern songbook album with “Let’s Begin.”
MUSIC CLIP - GERRY MULLIGAN AND CHET BAKER, “I'M BEGINNING TO SEE THE LIGHT”
In just a bit, we’ll have more songs about beginnings from the Great American Songbook for this New Year’s celebration. Stay with us.
I’m Mark Chilla, and you’re listening to Afterglow
MUSIC CLIP - CHARLIE BARNET AND HIS ORCHESTRA, “BEGIN THE BEGUINE”
MUSIC CLIP - J.J. JOHNSON AND KAI WINDING, “THIS COULD BE THE START OF SOMETHING BIG”
Welcome back to Afterglow, I’m Mark Chilla. We’ve been exploring songs about beginnings in honor of the start of a new year. Let’s turn now to a song written by the multi-talented entertainer Steve Allen. This song became kind of a calling card for Allen, used as the theme music for several different variety shows he hosted, including his original run as the host of The Tonight Show.
Here again is Ella Fitzgerald from one of her best jazz albums Clap Hands Here Comes Charlie, with Steve Allen’s “This Could Be The Start Of Something,” on Afterglow.
MUSIC - ELLA FITZGERALD, “THIS COULD BE THE START OF SOMETHING”
MUSIC - BING CROSBY AND CONNEE BOSWELL, “START THE DAY RIGHT”
Bing Crosby and Connee Boswell in 1939 with the Charles Tobias song “Start The Day Right.” And before that, Ella Fitzgerald in 1961 with “The Could Be The Start Of Something.”
Let’s hear two more songs about starting. This next one is a little known song all about new love, featuring lyrics by Yip Harburg. This is Mildred Bailey and pianist Ellis Larkins in 1957 with “You Started Something,” on Afterglow.
MUSIC - MILDRED BAILEY, “YOU STARTED SOMETHING”
MUSIC - FRANK SINATRA, “IT STARTED ALL OVER AGAIN”
Frank Sinatra in 1961 from his Tommy Dorsey tribute album I Remember Tommy with the Bill Carey and Carl Fischer song “It Started All Over Again.” Before that, we heard Mildred Bailey in 1957 with Yip Harburg’s “You Started Something.”
As we explore songs all about beginnings as the new year begins, here are a handful of song about new love. We’ll start again with Frank Sinatra, from his 1957 album Songs For Swingin’ Lovers.
This is Sinatra with the Sammy Fain, Irving Kahal, and Pierre Norman song “You Brought a New Kind of Love to Me,” on Afterglow.
MUSIC - FRANK SINATRA, “YOU BROUGHT A NEW KIND OF LOVE TO ME”
MUSIC - FRED ASTAIRE, “NEW SUN IN THE SKY”
MUSIC - JUDY GARLAND, “IT’S A NEW WORLD”
Judy Garland in 1954 with a song by Harold Arlen and Ira Gershwin. That was “It’s A New World,” from the film musical A Star Is Born, a song that is criminally underperformed. Before that, we heard Fred Astaire and Oscar Peterson with the Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz song “New Sun In The Sky.” That’s from the 1952 album The Astaire Story. And starting that set, Frank Sinatra and arranger Nelson Riddle in 1957 with “You Brought A New Kind Of Love To Me.”
Well we’ve reached the end of our show on “beginnings.” One more piece before I go. I know many of us are happy to put 2020 behind us and start all over with a new year. So the final piece this hour is a timeless take on that very topic. It originally comes from the pen of Jerome Kern and lyricist Dorothy Fields from the 1936 musical Swing Time.
Here is a recording from 1962. This is Nat King Cole and pianist George Shearing with “Pick Yourself Up,” on Afterglow
MUSIC - NAT KING COLE AND GEORGE SHEARING, “PICK YOURSELF UP”
Nat King Cole and George Shearing in 1962 with an inspiring tune to start your new year, “Pick Yourself Up,” by Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields.
Happy New Year, and thanks for tuning in to this edition of Afterglow.
MUSIC CLIP - GEORGE SHEARING, “PICK YOURSELF UP”
Afterglow is part of the educational mission of Indiana University and produced by WFIU Public Radio in beautiful Bloomington, Indiana. The executive producer is John Bailey.
Playlists for this and other Afterglow programs are available on our website. That’s at indianapublicmedia.org/afterglow.
I’m Mark Chilla, and join me next week for our mix of Vocal Jazz and popular song from the Great American Songbook, here on Afterglow.