This is Rod McKuen’s English adaptation of Jacques Brel’s French classic, “Ne me quitte pas.” McKuen was a legendary poet and songwriter for many decades beginning in the sixties, and “If You Go Away” is arguably his best work. The word dramatic doesn’t even begin to describe the powerful words McKuen wove into this magnificent song. The lyrics reflect the words of someone sadly saying goodbye to their lover, all the while hoping that the lover will change their mind and stay. The song is poignant and brilliant from the opening words …
Regina Lampert: “Why do people have to tell lies?” Peter Joshua: “Usually it’s because they want something. They’re afraid the truth won’t get it for them.” The dictionary defines charade as “a blatant pretense or deception,” which means that most of the things we hear and see around us are charades. Thus, one of the […]
The music from the Broadway classic Camelot is as exhilarating today as it was in 1960 when it first took Broadway by storm. Much like its counterpart Brigadoon (which opened in New York in 1949), Camelot is a story about a magical place where the decadence that surrounds our lives today is nonexistent. (Remarkably, but not surprisingly, Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner created the music and lyrics for both Camelot and Brigadoon.)
“I always knew what the right path was. Without exception, I knew, but I never took it. You know why? It was too damn hard.” In his Oscar-winning performance in this very heavy 1992 film, which includes a great deal of humor as well, Al Pacino plays the role of a hell-raising, retired military officer, […]
There are at least a couple other versions of the words to this masterpiece (the Carpenters’ is well worth checking out), but I’m biased toward the original lyrics both written and sung by Neil Sedaka. Like all great lyrics, they bring a clear picture to the listener’s mind — an image of a lonely man, sitting at a table, playing game after game of solitaire. The songwriters nailed it with this stanza…
“Is that your answer, Old Man? You’re a hard case too, ain’t you?” In difficult times, I’ve often thought about a scene from one of Paul Newman’s most memorable films, Cool Hand Luke. Newman’s character, Luke Jackson, had escaped from a prison chain gang earlier in the day, and a posse is closing in on […]
One could write an entire book based on these penetrating lyrics. Perhaps the most poignant words of all are contained in the last two lines of the song: “The time has come for me to pay for yesterday … when I was young.” Whenever I listen this song, I think of the multi-talented Sammy Davis Jr. Prior to his death from throat cancer in 1990, I happened to read Sammy’s memoir, Why Me? It read like a real-life version of Yesterday When I Was Young.
“Yeh, now all you have to do is hold the chicken, bring me the toast, give me a check for the chicken-salad sandwich, and you haven’t broken any rules.” There’s nothing more aggravating than a waiter who is saddled with the twin deficits of a bad attitude and a bureaucratic mind-set. A memorable scene from […]
People generally think of Janis Ian as a one-song wonder, but that one song, “At Seventeen,” is a work of true genius. Whether you’re a man or a woman, Ian’s agonizing words make it easy to envision the painful life she must have endured during her adolescent and teen years.