Saturday, August 22, 2020

That's Life

Image by WikiImages from Pixabay
This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandkids and my great-grandkids — the Stickies — to advise them and haunt them after they become grups or I'm deleted.

Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, and/or grups may result in a debilitating intersectional triggering



Erratically Appearing Hallucinatory Guest Star: Dana — A Gentlerreader

"So-called real life is just high school with money." -Omar von Puffendorf

Dear Grandstickies and Great-Grandstickies (and Gentlereaders), 

That's Life,  and with apologies to Frank Sinatra, Kelly Gordon, and Dean Kay — I tell ya, I can't deny it. 

[Deny what? And what's with all the links?]

It's a phrase from the song, and as to...

[What song?]

The song Frank Sinatra made famous back in...

[Oh, that song. I know that song. It's from that movie, The Joker, right? Have you seen it?]

Have not and will not. I'm not sophisticated enough to appreciate comic book inspired nihilism, despair, and violence masquerading as art.

[Dude!, It won a bunch of awards! It...]

It tells you everything you need to know about Hollywood and what passes for entertainment nowadays, Dana.

[Boring old fart!]


Recently, in the course of one of my obligatory brisk walks around Mr. Cranky's neighborhood (geezercise), Mr. Sinatra's version of this song escaped from the zeitgeist of the mid-sixties and reincarnated as an earworm within the confines of my macrocephalic visage.

[Macrocephalic visage? Ain't that a fancy way of saying you have a big head, Charlie Brown?]   

Well, yes, but unlike Master Charles Brown, I have a manly trunk and a remarkable head of hair for someone about to turn 39 for the 28th time.

[Tanklike trunk is more like it, and you might be more circumspect about using the antiquated honorific "master," all things considered. Wait! You just did that to stir the sh..., provoke the poop.]

(At this point in the story your humble correspondent's eyes rolled up, a sly grin manifested, and in a singsong voice he said, "dum de dum de dum.")

When I got home from my walk I decided to google the lyrics for That's Life. As you may (or may not) be aware, the song in question was a hooge hit for Frank Sinatra in 1965.

I've developed a recent fascination with song lyrics and the web makes it possible to retrieve the lyrics of nearly any song nearly instantly. I find the dramatic contrast between reading the lyrics without the music and hearing the exact same words sung while music is playing particularly interesting.

If you've ever done this I'm sure you're aware of the dramatic emotional impact imparted to often quite simple, straightforward words when they're sung and accompanied by competently played musical instruments.

Music has the power to tap emotional reservoirs even when the lyrics are somewhat simplistic, or even if the lyrics aren't actually lyrics. 

[How do you sing a song without lyrics?]

Howsabout Clare Torry singing on Pink Floyd's The Great Gig In The Sky from the multimillion-selling, and still selling, The Dark Side of the Moon. (Apropos of nothing much, in today's money she was paid the equivalent of about $500.)

And don't forget the immortal Ella Fitzgerald, MASTER (mistress?) of both lyrical and scat singing.

[Who? What?]

Never mind.

[Hold up a second, you never explained the links that you started this column with.] 

Good point. Mr. Sinatra made the song his own by working his magic and slightly tweaking the original lyrics. Messrs. Gordon and Kay are the songwriters.

[Which has what to do with...

Well, while confirming my suspicion that I'd find relatively simple, relatively brief lyrics — summation: life's an emotional roller coaster but I'll never stop riding it till I can't — I also discovered the song has its own Wikipedia entry

Dean Kay, 80, had and continues to have, a world-class career in the music industry. Kelly Gordon also did quite well  — till he died from lung cancer back in 1981 at the age of 49. 

That's life.

Marion Montgomery was the first artist to record the song, in 1963, but it failed to chart. O.C. Smith, a struggling artist who didn't have a hit till '68, released his version in February of '66. It charted but only made it to #127 on Billboard's famous list.

BIG BUT... Sinatra heard Smith's version of the song on his car radio and released his version in November of the same year. Result: #4 on the "Hot 100" chart and #1 on the "Easy Listening chart."

That's also life. 

On the other hand... In 1968 Roger Miller released a song that was written for him, Little Green Apples, that made it to #39 on the Hot 100 chart. O.C. Smith released his version that same year which made it to #2 and sold over 1,000,000 copies. 

[Allrigtalready! I get it, you're trying to teach the Stickies something but geez...]

Did you know that when Mr. Smith's version of Little Green Apples reached number two that the Beatle'es Hey, Jude was number one? Do you realize that...

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

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