I'm Old Fashioned
Last week’s tune, Cole Porter’s Dream Dancing, came from the movie You’ll Never Get Rich with Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth. My friend, Ray, wrote to say that Astaire once claimed late in life that Hayworth was his favorite partner and that they made only one other movie together, namely, You Were Never Lovelier.
That movie’s music and lyrics were by Jerome Kern and Johnny Mercer, a redoubtable team. Notable from the score are the title song, which I confess I did not know, and the beautiful standard I’m Old Fashioned which Ray suggested as a weekly tune, and I’m perfectly agreed.
It’s a lovely melody but, as is frequently the case with Kern, what drives it is the interesting harmony. Note the typically Kernian device where it seems to change key (at “sighing sighs, holding hands”) and then works its way back somehow seamlessly to the original. This happens in a lot of Kern songs, The Song is You, All The Thing You Are etc. The patriarch of the modern American show song, Kern was ahead of the pack harmonically and I think must have greatly influenced Gershwin and Porter and the many great song writers who were slightly younger than he.
Click on the title in red to hear it. In this version, I’ve included the verse which is not often played. The lyrics are printed below.
I am not such a clever one about the latest fads;
I admit I was never one adored by local lads;
Not that I ever try to be a saint,
I’m the type that they classify as quaint.
I’m old fashioned, I love the moonlight,
I love the old fashioned things:
The sound of rain upon a window pane,
The starry song that April sings.
This year’s fancies are passing fancies,
But sighing sighs, holding hands
These my heart understands.
I’m old fashioned, but I don’t mind it,
That’s how I want to be,
As long as you agree
To stay old fashioned with me.