Tune Tuesday: In The Good Old Summer Time 1903
One hundred, twenty years ago, today, the #1 song in 1903 was In The Good Old Summer Time by the Haydn Quartet. In a previous post, I stated that Tsort has very few charts prior to 1920. Music popularity just wasn’t tracked as closely as it is, today. For music this old, I plug in a date on Playback FM and run with it.
Written by Ren Shields and composed by George “Honey Boy” Evans, it is a Tin Pan Alley song, originally published in 1902. Blanche Ring assisted in having the number added to the 1902 comedy musical The Defender. There is also a John Philip Sousa band version.
The Haydn Quartet was originally formed in 1896 as the Edison Quartet. They eventually changed their name to Haydn, an homage to Joseph Haydn and as a way to record for other companies besides Edison Records.
In The Good Old Summer Time was a very popular song for its time and John Scantlebury MacDonald, a replacement member of the Edison Quartet, went on to record the song, solo. It was the Haydn Quartet’s biggest commercial success while contracted with the Victor Talking Machine Company.
Song Sunday: Fade Into You
“I think it’s strange you never knew…”
Sunday evening’s playlist submission is Fade Into You by alternative band Mazzy Star. Released April 12, 1994, it is the first track on the album So Tonight That I Might See. Written by Hope Sandoval and David Roback, it was a surprise hit, peaking at #44 on Billboard’s Hot 100, #19 on the Mainstream Top 40 chart, #3 on the Modern Rock Tracks (Alternative Songs, now) chart and #48 on the UK Singles chart. It was Mazzy Star‘s only single to make to make the Billboard Hot 100. It has been used, frequently, in movies, most notably Starship Troopers, Lord of War, Burlesque and Thank You For Your Service plus several TV shows.
I’d never heard of Mazzy Star or heard this song when it originally came out. I am late to the party finding this, just discovering them a few years ago. Sadly, David Roback passed away February 24, 2020, from cancer.
Mazzy Star Official (Facebook Page)
Music Monday: Greensleeves 1580
Moving forward to 1580…
A widespread belief exists that the song Greensleeves was composed by none other than King Henry VIII following an early rejection of his love by his future wife Anne Boleyn. The lyrics of this song of unrequited love have been seen to relate to his courtship of Anne in the 1520s. Many of the verses of Greensleeves imply a rich and extravagant courtship […]. Henry VIII was a composer and musician of some merit […]. [C]ourt officials […] attribute to Henry many compositions which were not his and the consensus of expert opinion, today, is that Greensleeves was composed rather later in the Tudor era, during the reign of Anne Boleyn’s daughter, Queen Elizabeth I. [T]he piece is based on an Italian style of composition that did not reach England until after Henry’s death […].
A broadside ballad […] was registered at the London Stationer’s Company in September [of] 1580, by [a] Richard Jones, as A Newe Northern Dittye of ye Ladye Greene Sleves. Six more ballads followed in less than a year, one on the same day […]. Needless to say the rights to the song were in very hot dispute. It was in 1584 that Jones printed his final version of the melody and this is the one we know today. It was titled A New Courtly Sonnet of the Lady Green Sleeves […].
Who was Lady Greensleeves
[W]hy would anyone be named for their green sleeves? Interpretations […] usually have a sexual connotation, most notably in the phrase “a green gown”, a reference to the grass stains on a woman’s dress from engaging in sexual intercourse outdoors. Was this lady a prostitute? [T]he song lyrics mention a “discourteous” rejection of the singer’s advances, suggesting to some that the lady in question was actually virtuous but, perhaps, was mistaken for a prostitute as a result of her green sleeves. [A]nother explanation is quite the opposite to promiscuity […]. [I]n heraldry, colour also had symbolisms and green indicated truth and fidelity […]. [A] knight may give a green armband to his true love to wear to show his devotion to her, giving rise to the familiar phrase “wearing your heart on your sleeve” meaning, to show your true feelings.
None of these theories, however, really seem to reflect the song’s true meaning, which clearly expresses an unrequited love by a rich man for a fair lady. All that we can confidently deduce, is that “Lady Greensleeves” is a nickname, not a title. Exactly who she was, remains a mystery.
♦ In Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, the character Mistress Ford refers, twice, to “the tune of ‘Greensleeves'”.
♦ The tune was the basis for “Home in the Meadow,” a recurring song throughout the 1962 epic film How the West Was Won.
♦ A rendering of the tune, titled the “Lassie Theme”, was used extensively in the Lassie television show, especially the ending credits.
Everyone will remember this tune as What Child Is This? ~Vic
Sources & Additional Reading:
The Folk Song Greensleeves (Greensleeves Hubs)
Dante Gabriel Rossetti (Rossetti Archive)
Lyrics (Six Wives Website)
Tune Tuesday: Roll With It 1988
It’s Tune Tuesday! And…I just made that up. But, hey, I’m having fun. I hope you have fun, too. ~Vic
Thirty years ago, today, the number one song was:
Roll With It by Steve Winwood.