...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

June 09, 2004

Today Is Lyrical Wednesday

In lieu of a poem, and in honor of Cole Porter's birthday today, i present to you the lyrics to my favorite Cole Porter song. You may not have heard these lyrics because the song is more famous as an instrumental. It was band leader Artie Shaw's theme song, i believe.

Begin the Beguine

When they begin the beguine
It brings back the sound of music so tender,
It brings back a night of tropical splendor,
It brings back a memory ever green.

I’m with you once more under the stars,
And down by the shore an orchestra’s playing
And even the palms seem to be swaying
When they begin the beguine.

To live it again is past all endeavor,
Except when that tune clutches my heart,
And there we are, swearing to love forever,
And promising never, never to part.

What moments divine, what rapture serene,
Till clouds came along to disperse the joys we had tasted,
And now when I hear people curse the chance that was wasted,
I know but too well what they mean;

So don’t let them begin the beguine
Let the love that was once a fire remain an ember;
Let it sleep like the dead desire I only remember
When they begin the beguine.

Oh yes, let them begin the beguine, make them play
Till the stars that were there before return above you,
Till you whisper to me once more,
'Darling, I love you!'
And we suddenly know, what heaven we’re in,
When they begin the beguine

i think it's Porter's most romantic tune.

Happy one hundred and thirteenth birthday Cole Porter!

Posted by annika, Jun. 9, 2004 |
Rubric: Poetry


What a truly wonderful song!

Posted by: Brent on Jun. 9, 2004

I spent 15 years as a professional trumpet player - mostly big band music, as well. To me, the swing era was hands down the best musical years that we, as a society, ever experienced. The irony is that of one of my favorite swing tunes of all time, and the tune I always think of when I think of that era, isn't even swing. It's a beguine. Begine the Beguine. Great tune.

And for some silly reason, I always picture Woody Shaw playing from a huge open clam shell on stage. No idea where that came from.

BTW, is it safe to comment again?

Posted by: Rich on Jun. 9, 2004

Actually, Annie, Shaw's theme song was a little known song called "Nightmare". It probably should have been "The Wedding March", considering his penchant for marching down the aisle.

Begin the Beguine, a rhumba-like melody from the Carribean, was one of my father's favorite songs. He constantly played Eddie Heywood's record (78's then) and played it himself on the piano. It was one of about five songs that he could play.

Thanks for bringing back the memory.

Posted by: shelly s. on Jun. 10, 2004

A pretty good bio of Artie Shaw may be found here.

Interesting guy. Married 8 times, once to Ava Gardner. Besides being a big band leader and clarinetist, he was (is?) "a nationally ranked precision marksman, [and] an expert fly-fisherman." He also enlisted in the US Navy during WWII and led a Navy band in the Pacific. He made some leftist statements and was subpoenaed to testify before the HUAC in 1958, calling himself a "red dupe." He also lived as an expatriate for a short time in Franco's Spain before returning to California.

Posted by: annika! on Jun. 10, 2004

Uh, Woody Shaw, Artie Herman - whatever. Apparently the fog hasn't lifted. Bollocks.

Posted by: Rich on Jun. 10, 2004