I’ve got a playlist for everything. Going shopping on a Tuesday and it’s sunny and warm but windy? I got a playlist for that
Listening to music during the last week of every year is difficult – for me. I still consider it “the holidays” but Christmas music can fall flat on the 26th of December. One of the good days, though, during this period is December 31st, New Year’s Eve. I’ve got a playlist for that day although it mostly consists of many versions of only two songs: “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” and “Auld Lang Syne”. I fell in love with the former – written by Frank Loesser – when I discovered the song through Harry Connick, Jr’s version. His is infinitely romantic and accentuates the amorous possibilities of this last night of the year. The song first charted in 1949 for the Orioles. That version appears on this playlist.
The ages old “Auld Lang Syne” – which Harry Burns sums up so succinctly at the end of “When Harry Met Sally…” – is the ultimate “closing” song – not just for a playlist or an album but for most anything; not the least of which is a calendar year. The Beach Boys included it on their landmark Christmas album of 1964 and it featured a spoken greeting from drummer Dennis Wilson. Relient K is a band that are such huge Beach Boys fans that they also added it on their Christmas album (“Let It Snow, Baby…Let It Reindeer”) and it features – word for word – the same spoken greeting; right down to Dennis’ flubbing of the line “and if you hap-happen to be listening…”.
London, Ontario-born Guy Lombardo is credited with popularizing the tune in North America and he performed it every New Year’s Eve for decades until he died – like Presley and Crosby – 1977. It’s cool that it is the first song played every New Year’s Eve in Times Square after the ball drops. Billy Joel’s version is particularly notable as it is from his live album “2000 Years: the Millennium Concert”. His recording took place at Madison Square Garden on New Year’s Eve 1999 and was used by him to mark the end of the 1900’s. I’ve included a version by the Pipes and Drums of the 48th Highlanders of Canada, a Canadian Army infantry regiment based in Toronto since 1891. The regiment’s official role? “To close with and destroy the enemy”.
I have also included in it’s entirety June Christy’s stellar 1961 album “This Time of Year”. This melancholy album is challenging in that it is far from your average Christmas album but it still addresses themes of the season, albeit from a more lonesome standpoint. It deserves it’s own post, really, and you should seek it out although it’s hard to find. Her song “Sorry to See You Go” is the official ‘end of Christmas holidays’ song in this house as it should be in yours.
The legendary Billy Ward wrote “Ringing in a Brand New Year” and released it with his group, the Dominoes, in 1953. Charles Brown also recorded the song and released it as a single in 1961 but he used the title “Bringing in a Brand New Year”.
I have left out of this playlist the soundtrack to the 2001 film “Ocean’s Eleven”. The George Clooney/Brad Pitt remake does not take place on New Year’s Eve as the Frank Sinatra/Dean Martin original does but I still watch the remake every year at this time so the music from it is very “New Year’s Eve” to me. This music applies to me personally so I won’t list the tracks – although David Holmes’ music for all three remake films is outstanding at any time of the year.
Here’s my playlist for the last day of any year:
“What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” — the Brian Setzer Orchestra, Diana Krall, Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gormé, Boney James, the Charlie Spivak Orchestra, Ella Fitzgerald, Harry Connick, Jr., Lou Rawls, Nancy Wilson, the Orioles, the Osmonds, the Ramsey Lewis Trio, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and King Curtis
“Auld Lang Syne” — the Beach Boys, Ben Rector, Billy Joel, Brian Wilson, Chris Isaak, Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra, the Guy Lombardo Orchestra, Jimi Hendrix, Relient K, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and the 48th Highlanders.
“Let’s Start the New Year Right” — Bing Crosby
“Eee-O Eleven” — Sammy Davis, Jr.
“Happy Holiday” — Ray Noble and His Orchestra
“Ringing in a Brand New Year” — Billy Ward and the Dominoes
“Bringing in a Brand New Year” — Charles Brown
“Happy Holiday/Let’s Start the New Year Right” — Mel Tormé
June Christy’s “This Time of Year” album
Happy New Year’s Eve to all my readers!!