Winter Was Warm
This (so far) unseasonably warm winter seems a good time to resurrect Winter Was Warm a beautiful but neglected song with music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Bob Merrill. It wasn’t the weather though that prompted this resuscitation. Over the Christmas season, my wife Kate was keen to watch, for sentimental reasons, Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol, a delightful little 1962 television production based on the Dickens tale. She said she always thought that Winter Was Warm was a lovely tune and though I couldn’t recall it, after hearing it again, I heartily agree.
So I thought I’d learn it and send it out there, a little promotion forty years after its composition, one of those songs like Keep Christmas With You that might have become a standard but, alas did not.
In some sense, the song’s not catching on is understandable. It reads and plays more like a European art song than an American pop song. Still I think the melody is lovely even if, or perhaps because, it leans ever so slightly to schmaltz. In any case, I like schmaltz. In the right light with a nice brandy, you can’t beat it.
Click on the title in red to hear it. The lyrics are below. (It was sung by Belle, Mr. Scrooge’s spurned girlfriend from Christmas past.)
Winter was warm,
Summer soft that year,
The winter was warm,
Without a sign of frost
Like winter lost its way that year.
It seems as I recall
No blossoms fell that fall.
They didn’t leave at all.
Or did love paint an illusion?
Now trees with a sigh
Stand and shiver while leave fall and die
And all my dreams are there
Wrapped up somewhere in summer leaves.
Oh, what I’d give to be,
To be in love again.
This year the winter is cold.
Will it ever be warm as it was then?