Hi Dean,

The Ruth Etting version is brilliant. It made me reflect on your comment ...

Quote:
The real question is: Why did virtually every worthy jazz musician latch onto this song right up to the present? Answer: GOOD CHANGES! That means there's a compelling, elegant and straight-ahead harmonic logic to the tune. Perfect for playing improvised solos against.

To be honest, I'm not sure it's as simple as "good changes". I agree with what you are saying but I find myself wondering if this song was only ever written as an instrumental would those "good changes" have had the same impact. Personally, I don't think so.

I bet that a large part of the appeal of this song is because of the lyrics. They are incredibly well written and are a perfect example of how to create lyrics that ring with truth. What I mean by that is when I was listening to Ruth sing, the image of a guy closing his eyes and resting his head on her shoulder was so visual it was like I could nearly touch it. What I call the 'believability factor' of these lyrics is full dial at 100%.

In addition, the lyrics are perfectly aligned with the music so that the conversational spoken stress of each word matches the equivalent musical stress. This alignment is not an easy thing to achieve and such exceptional attention to prosody boosts the lyrics' meaning significantly and makes them ring with honesty and sincerity. (For ease of reference I've copied Ruth Etting's lyrics below. It's well worth reading through them aloud and hearing/feeling how their apparent simplicity resonates with meaning.)

Quote:
Close your eyes
Rest your head on my shoulder and sleep
Close your eyes
And I will close mine

Close your eyes
Let's pretend that we're both counting sheep
Close your eyes
This is divine

Under a midnight sky
Watching a single star
Thrilled by the beauty of above
Alone just you and I
Hearing a steel guitar
Thrilled the beauty of our love

Close your eyes
Rest your head on my shoulder and sleep
Close your eyes
And I will close mine

Close your eyes
Let's pretend that we're both counting sheep
Close your eyes
This is divine

Music play
Something dreamy for dancing
While were here romancing
It's love's holiday
And Love will be our guide

Close your Eyes
When you open them dear
I'll be near by your side
So won't you close your eyes

Moreover, the song form is a variation of AABA (it's AABAACA) and this is an ideal form for lyrics that are grounded in one moment in time. These lyrics are set in that single moment of 'close your eyes'. The lyrics also contain a great deal of repetition and the word count is low. Lastly, these words are also written in direct address (I/you), the most personal perspective.

All the above lyric factors result in words that are incredibly easy to remember. I bet that any musician who plays this tune is singing the words in his or her head while s/he plays. As a result of this, the musician's playing would largely represent an interpretation of the lyrics that are playing through the musician's mind. Without these lyrics, I suspect that the song would not have been nearly as popular.

My observation is that those songs that achieve immense popularity have all elements working perfectly (lyrics, melody, harmony, prosody, believability). Once such a song is heard, all these elements are then in one's mind and colour subsequent performances of the song - even if they are instrumental performances.

Regards,
Noel

P.S. I haven't listened to your version yet. I'll have to come back for that smile
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LINKS TO MY BIAB/RB SONGS