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In the Still of the Night

May 18, 2014

Most of you know by now that I am a professional song writer. I just released a book with my 1970s song lyrics, Three A.M. – The Complete 1970s Song Lyrics. It spills my soul a bit for those who might have heard some of my work three decades ago. I am also a member of several internet groups of song writers and producers, where I have accepted my role as geezer par excellence. Yes, I’m the guy who used to actually mixed records with an analog mixer (Oh my God!). Notice that I didn’t exclaim, “OMG.” Again, its the age thing.

In these various groups to which I belong I am always asked about what makes a good lyric. I carefully explain using my best high-stepping musical language. But when I am pressed for an example, I always go to Cole Porter’s In the Still of the Night. Why?  I’m glad you asked….

In the Still of the Night was written in 1937. Yes, that is a long time ago. But consider the following lyrics:

“In the still of the night

As I gaze from my window
At the moon in its flight
My thoughts all stray to you

In the still of the night
All the world is in slumber
All the times without number
Darling when I say to you

Do you love me, as I love you
Are you my life to be, my dream come true
Or will this dream of mine fade out of sight
Like the moon growing dim, on the rim of the hill
In the chill, still, of the night

Like the moon growing dim, on the rim of the hill
In the chill, still, of the night.”

I’m sorry folks, it just doesn’t get any better than this! Cole Porter was the master of internal rhyming and was just plain genius. He laid down lyrics like most of us lay down a newspaper! This song that he wrote three quarters of a century ago has been successfully covered by dozens of singers including Della Reese, Perry Como, Ella Fitzgerald, Neil Diamond, The Lettermen, Dion and the Belmonts, Johnny Mathis, Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney and even Carly Simon. That’s a damn impressive list of artists from this song writer’s perspective!

The music from years ago is often much better stuff than what’s being cranked-out of the sausage grinder these days. Not all of it is bad these days but do you really think that any of it will endure the better part of a century? Hmm, doubtful. Today’s lyrics are apt to fade away “Like the moon growing dim, on the rim of the hill In the chill, still, of the night.”

Something to think about as you start your week….



From → America, Books, Music, Writing

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