Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Song of the Day: 'The Way You Look Tonight' by Carrie Fisher

Eric Alper asked on Twitter "What movie had the greatest soundtrack?" 

My Michigan best friend immediately responded "Valley Girl" -- which I can't argue with -- so I began to think of my own answer. 

My college years were spent hosting Italian dinner parties set to the music of "Moonstruck." My fondest young adult memory is of painting and redecorating my bedroom with my mother to a Gershwin tune, or two, via Woody Allen's "Manhattan." And while "Valley Girl" was peak early '80s new wave -- Modern English, Josie Cotton, the Plimsouls, Bonnie Hayes, the Psychedelic Furs and so forth -- there's also an argument to be made for the mid-'80s masterpiece "Pretty in Pink," featuring the Smiths, OMD, Echo and the Bunnymen, New Order and a revamped Psychedelic Furs classic, to name a few. (Another new wave contender is 1983's "Party Party.")

But as I have noted before, in terms of which soundtrack I've played more than any other -- a strong indicator of which one I think is the "greatest" -- there's no question the award would go to "Hannah and Her Sisters." Just like the film, the music evokes so many wonderful memories for me -- old friends, holiday dinners, the romance of New York City -- and was responsible for introducing me to many new geniuses, from Harry James and Dick Hyman (who is the star of the "Moonstruck" soundtrack), Bach and Basie, Cole Porter, and most of all, the inimitable Rodgers and Hart. (Screw you, Hammerstein!)

With that in mind, I replied "Hannah and Her Sisters," only to be reminded by my pal Hank Plante of one glaring omission from it I had nearly forgotten about -- Carrie Fisher briefly singing "The Way You Look Tonight" for an audition (as "I hate April"). 

Swoon. If only it had been fleshed out for posterity, Debbie would have been so proud.

P.S. This VIDEO purports to have every time Carrie sang for TV and film, including an appearance on "Laverne & Shirley" with her true life BFF, Penny Marshall. 


Stephen said...

The "Edge of 17" soundtrack is epic. My roommate and I watched it again (for about the 8th time) over the weekend. Hope you all are having a nice week! Love, Stephen Q

barryearle said...

Screw you, Hammerstein?! I love Rodgers and Hart. They wrote some wonderful, clever songs that still resonate today. But I also recognize the impact Oscar Hammerstein had on musical theatre. To start with, he wrote Showboat with Jerome Kern. This is the musical that began the change we see today in musical theater by dealing with some very serious racial subjects. Then he and Richard Rodgers went the next step with Oklahoma which established the musical format for the next 30-40 years and continued dealing with serious themes in South Pacific and The King and I to name two. Finally, he mentored Stephen Sondheim! Sondheim completely turned musical theater on its ear. So saying "Screw you, Hammerstein" is not the smartest statement you have ever made.

Kenneth M. Walsh said...

@Barry: Good to know. I'm not a musical theater person. I just know that growing up (and even now), whenever I love an old song, 9 times out of 10 the lyrics were by Lorenz Hart!