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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Is That All There Is?

I can't find the reference, but I seem to remember that it was Louis Armstrong who proposed that the only way to take American popular music seriously (as we should) is to grasp that every American pop song is a joke. Quite apart from the fact that it has been one of my favorite songs for a quarter century, I have always considered Peggy Lee's definitive performance of Leiber and Stoller's "Is That All There Is?" a quintessential representation of the depths available to pop music, but especially to pop music that assumes an ironic attitude toward those depths. Lee's 1969 recording was early but it wasn't the first, and we know only that the song was written in the mid-sixties, possibly some time around my birth day in 1965 I'd like to think, ushering me onto the planet.


jimf said...

Do you have _Mirrors_? If not, you should.

jimf said...

> _Mirrors_

The old prospector's nose for gold,
The sailor who can read the sky,
The gambler's sense of when to fold,
The trick to making apple pie:
These mysteries one cannot explain,
That old black art so queer and quaint,
Like making love or making rain --
Either you got it, or you ain't. . .

Some cats know just where it's at;
They're not like some others.
I would 'ruther one like that,
If I had my druthers.