Sunday, July 05, 2009

Suzanne's Soundtrack Sunday

Participating in yesterday's July 4th parade brought about some musical questions. Maybe some of you have the same questions. Better yet, maybe you have some answers?

-If the movie is titled "The Jazz Singer", why was every single released off the soundtrack NOT jazz? Pondered this as "America" was playing while we waited to step off on the parade route.

-Why is it that a lousy song by a so-so singer, because it has an appropriate theme for a holiday, gets played ad nauseum on the holiday? Thought this as I was subjected to Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" over and over. And why should God bless just the USA and not the whole world-or universe, for that matter?

-By the same token, why is it that an excellent song gets relegated to just being played leading up to the holiday that is part of the song's subject, even though it was NOT considered a holiday song by the composer? All the thinking of holiday hits and misses made me think of Dan Fogelberg's "Same Old Lang Syne." (And I find it cool that Wiki addresses what inspired the melody.)

-Which brings me to the next question? Why is Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture" a regular part of concerts celebrating America's birthday? It's a song commemorating Russia fighting against Napoleon. Still a good song-but what about an American composer for that day?

-Why is it that a song that has nothing to do with a specific holiday gets played for that holiday? "My Favorite Things" has nothing to do with Christmas, doesn't even appear in a Christmas scene in the Sound of Music, yet it is considered a Christmas song?

-Had to add this one, because I used to hear it at the Maryland Symphony Orchestra's Concert at Antietam every July 4th weekend. Why is it that "Maryland, My Maryland" is the same as "Oh, Christmas Tree"?

Further research indicates that the same melody is used for "Florida, My Florida" and "Michigan, My Michigan". If I were to use the logic that I live in states were the legislature adopts a Christmas song as the state anthem, I guess I'd better start looking for jobs in Michigan...

Answers? More questions to add to the list? Anyone?

5 People talked back:

DoeWDW said...

1812 Overture - I always figured it got played on July 4th because of the cannons and their tendency to have the same booming sound as fireworks.

LOVE Dan Fogelberg and that song. Likewise, get really sick of Lee Greenwood and the mediocre song mentioned.

No idea on "My Favorite Things" except for the fleeting references, like "brown paper packages tied up with strings" being thought about as presents and "snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes" making people think of winter. Seems silly to use these to associate with Christmas when there are plenty of other non-holiday references to choose from in that song.

Have I mentioned that I LOVE Soundtrack Sunday? You always lead me to THINK about the music, and I like that!
- Doreen in PA

ligirl said...

All very good points (and I learned something, too, thank you! Didn't know that about the 1812 Overture!)

Just be careful...all the right-wing neocons are going to label you left-wing liberal for suggesting that the whole WORLD be blessed...not just the USA...not that I believe you would have a problem with that!

Joyce-Anne said...

Was "God Bless the USA" written after 9/11? If so, that might be a reason why it's that way.

DoeWDW said...

"God Bless the USA" was written in 1984.
- Doreen in PA

Suzanne said...

Doreen, awww, shucks! I enjoy writing them. Lately, I have had to restrain myself from geeking out with all my Issues in Music tangents.

Donna, I fly my liberal flag proudly, lol! (Though lately, I've come up as more of a moderate/liberal than a true liberal on all those political compass things.)

Joyce, Doreen beat me to the answer. I first got overexposed to the song when I moved to Maryland in '88, so over twenty years of bombastic mediocrity!