It’s been many months since I have shared a blog post — although I’ve continued reading blog posts by others…
When COVID-19 became serious here in the Boston area, I started leading sing-alongs each night via FaceBook Live.
So the extra time which I had previously devoted to writing blog posts became focused instead on researching and practicing 5-6 new songs each day.
And then sharing them each night at 8:oo pm.
One hundred and twenty one of these sing-alongs are queued up on my FaceBook page in case you are curious to sample any of them.
In July I went to Cape Cod to write original songs, and my focus shifted from sing-alongs to composition.
Now I’m back at home.
And very grateful that folks continued to visit my site even when I was not actively sharing new blog posts.
I am also grateful for my fellow bloggers who reached out — via email and Facebook — during the past months to see if I was OK.
I happily dedicate the Gershwin Brothers’ song in the player at the beginning of this post to YOU.
As Ira once wrote, “(it)’s wonderful, (it)’s marvelous that you should care for me…”
As those of you who have read past blog posts may remember, I am someone who loves the spring and summer.
I do not like when the days get shorter and the nights get colder — and on top of that I hear from Dr. Fauci that we will probably be wearing masks until the end of 2021…
But accept autumn I must, as I must accept the mask-wearing and the lack-of-hugs and the increased-hand-washing and the ongoing sense of anxiety and loss during this COVID era.
Deep breath in.
And deep breath out.
Thank goodness for music!
It is can be a comfort, a balm, a tonic, an inspiration…
“‘S Wonderful” was written by George Gershwin and his older brother Ira for a show called Funny Face starring Adele Astaire and her younger brother Fred in 1927.
The Gershwins and the Astaires had been friends for many years — ever since they first met as teenagers when George was working as a song plugger and Adele and Fred were looking for new material for their vaudeville act.
Funny Face was originally called Smarty, and the creative birth of Smarty was not easy.
Reminiscing about the out-of-town tryout period for Smarty, Ira later recalled, “Everyone worked day and night, recasting, rewriting, rehearsing, recriminating…of rejoicing there was none.”
He and George ended up writing 24 songs for the show, the title of Smarty changed to Funny Face, and miraculously it ended up being a hit, opening in New York City on November 22, 1927.
Adele performed “‘S Wonderful” with a Canadian actor named Allen Kearns (who Wikipedia tells us also debuted another classic Gershwin Brothers song, “Embraceable You” in their 1930 musical Girl Crazy).
As they had done with their previous Gershwin Brothers’ hit — Lady, Be Good! — the Astaires agreed to perform Funny Face in London, where it was met with even greater enthusiasm than in NYC.
The Astaires — particularly Adele who was more outgoing and spontaneous than her hard-working younger brother — were the toast of the town and became friends with members of the royal family (even being invited at one point to meet the new princess Elizabeth as a baby).
In fact Adele stopped performing three years later when she married the Earl of Cavendish (whom she had met on the night of their final performance in London of Funny Face) and moved to a castle in Ireland.
You can click here for a link to Adele’s Wikipedia page with many more details from her fascinating life.
In addition to leading more sing-alongs and finishing more original songs, I have decided it is time to start releasing my original songs via a company called CD Baby to Apple Music, iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, Napster, and a bunch of other online music platforms.
As some of you may know, this is not a simple process.
I have registered my first collection of songs with the Library of Congress, have joined a performing rights organization (ASCAP), have done a lot of reading, and have watched a lot of helpful videos to learn about how radio play, downloads, and streaming generate different kinds of income — which are collected by a bewildering combination of organizations…
I hope to share more about this process in future blog posts.
I end THIS post with gratitude for Ira and George Gershwin, who have left us an extraordinary legacy of music.
And I am grateful for pianist/producer Doug Hammer, who recorded and mixed this uptempo version of “‘S Wonderful” with me before COVID-19 entered our lives.
I am also grateful to YOU for reading and listening to another one of my blog posts.
I am not sure if writing blog posts and releasing original songs is the best use of my time with the climate change crisis breathing down own necks…
The fires burning in California and Oregon and Washington are terrifying and extraordinary.
The hurricanes battering the Caribbean and Mexico and the southeastern United States are catastrophic and astounding.
Will my nieces and nephews at some point say to me, “Why weren’t you out in the street every day with signs protesting climate change while life as we know it on planet earth was irreparably being changed/altered/destroyed?”
We shall see…
I am glad to be back blogging and very grateful that folks continued to visit my site even when I have been focused elsewhere.
Let us continue to sing and dance and wear our masks and wash our hands and send money (if we can) to folks who need it and write new blog posts and record new songs and send postcards to potential voters and donate (if we can) to political candidates and remain engaged in the political process here on planet earth.