Like John Cusack in one of my favourite movies of all time – High Fidelity – I am a compulsive list maker. My family and I often while away the hours making Top 5 lists. You know how it goes – Top 5 Movies, Top 5 Playstation games, Top 5 books. The lists that are revised the most however, are the music lists. We find it impossible to stick to just 5 top songs or albums, or even bands. Recently, we have become so dissatisfied with our lists that we have had to divide them by genre.
One of my favourite eras in music is the ’40s and ’50s. I love the big bands, the glamour, the elegance, the cool sophistication; but most of all I love the torch song – that heart-wrenching ballad about unrequited love, self-sacrifice and loss. As powerful as an epic poem or an orchestral manouevre, the torch song touches you in places you’ve never been touched before. You are moved by the passion and anguish of the lyrics; the wistfulness of the melodies.
Here are my Top 5 Torch Songs –
Don’t Smoke In Bed by Peggy Lee.
Written by William Robinson in 1947, first recorded by Peggy in 1948.
It appears on The Capitol Years album (EMI)
Don’t look for me, I’ll get ahead
Remember darling, don’t smoke in bed….
The Man That Got Away by Judy Garland.
Words: Ira Gershwin Music: Harold Arlen
It appears on the soundtrack of A Star Is Born (1954)
The night is bitter, the stars have lost their glitter
The moon grows colder, suddenly you’re older
And all because of the man that got away….
As Long As He Needs Me by Doris Day
Written by Lionel Bart in 1960 for the musical Oliver.
Appears on the album Love Him (Columbia, 1963)
I won’t betray his trust, though people say I must
I’ve got to stay true just as long as he needs me….
I Don’t Stand A Ghost Of A Chance With You by Linda Ronstadt
Words : Bing Crosby & Ned Washington Music: Victor Young
Originally written in 1932, Linda recorded this wonderful version with Nelson Riddle in 1983.
It appears on the album What’s New.
I need your love so badly, I love you oh, so madly
But I don’t stand a ghost of a chance with you….
Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby by Dinah Washington.
A bit sassier than the others, but a torch song nonetheless.
Written by Billy Austin and Louis Jordan in the late ’40s, it appears on the album Dinah ’62 (Blue Note)
I got a man who’s always late, every time we have a date
But I love him, yes I love him….
I have many more favourite torch songs but these are definitely my Top 5. If I knew how to embed the music thingy I would load them onto this blog so you could hear them; but if you wish to, you can check most of them out at iTunes or Amazon. The torch song – true love gone wrong….the inspiration for some of the best songs ever written.