• Monday, March 02, 2015


Katharine Ross and the bicycle

Sarah Brightman
Sarah Brightman

Old songs have magic about them. Those of you who have grown into middle and perhaps old age listening to some of the most touching of English music will always have occasion to recall those golden times.
There was, and is, Elvis Presley. He is one singer the world will never forget. For some of us, it is the song The Last Farewell that makes us remember him. In later times, this song was sung, in a much more profound way, by the inimitable Roger Whittaker. You feel the heartbreak in the story, the sounds of sea waves and declarations of love for a beautiful woman. These are emotions that assailed you long ago, in your youth. They assail you today, when you may have become grandparents.
And then there is Neil Diamond, who never stopped forging romance through such songs as Desiree and Song Sung Blue. There are, of course, other songs by him, those that keep you riveted to the past. And Andy Williams? He had a voice that always seemed to soar. Think of Moon River, of Scarborough Fair. And do you remember that piercingly beautiful song, If It Takes Forever I Will Wait for You / For a Thousand Summers I Will Wait for You? Observe the depth of passion, of commitment in the song. What woman will not respond to such devotion from a lover?

Glen Campbell
Glen Campbell

Speaking of Scarborough Fair, there seems to be a whole tradition, a folklore rising from that song to take you back to an era more innocent than the one you happen to live in. If Andy Williams and Simon and Garfunkel first stirred that wistfulness in you with this song, Sarah Brightman transports you to a universe of true, unadulterated melody with her rendering of it. Going back to Whittaker, do you remember the wonderful whistle that once came from him?
In any talk of old songs, Glen Campbell's Rhinestone Cowboy is one which endlessly takes us back to our youth. And if there is any wish in you for a return to childhood, recall that innocent number in Mary Poppins, Chim-chimeny Chim-chimeny Chim-chim-cherry. And, indeed, the entire movie waltzes to the songs that Julie Andrews sings.
None of us can ever forget the solidity of romance symbolized by Paul Newman's giving Katherine Ross a ride on his bicycle in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The image of Ross astride the handlebars of the bicycle, lifting her skirts a little and revealing a goodly bit of her legs, as Newman sings Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head, has always stayed concealed in a very deep corner of the mind in us.
The heart, they say, has its reasons. And those songs are our reasons for being, philosophically speaking, of course. Recall Boney M and that One Way Ticket song. Or fall back on Modern Talking's You're My Heart You're My Soul.

The writer is Executive Editor,
The Daily Star

Published: 12:00 am Saturday, June 07, 2014

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