Young and Foolish
The change of seasons happily helps pianists answer their ongoing question “What do I play next?” and of course spring offers a basket of lovely tunes. On this site so far, we’ve done It Might as Well Be Spring, Spring Will Be a Little Late This Year, It Seems to Be Spring and April Love. (Oh, and also September in the Rain, which might be plausibly thought of as a spring song by virtue of its lyric: “though spring is here to me it’s still September” though maybe I’m stretching here.)
Apart from the seasonal songs themselves though, spring always brings to mind memories of springs past, in particular, that staple of second semester Americana: the high school musical. I was in three (all of which were directed by the late Ted White, a Pittsburgh treasure) and the first one I was in was the Amish-inspired Plain and Fancy from which comes our Weekly Tune.
Plain and Fancy opened on Broadway in 1955. The book was by Joseph Stein and Will Glickman; Albert Hague wrote the music and Arnold Horwitt penned the lyrics. I confess I haven’t heard of any of those gentlemen but the show was like many a 50’s era musical, not a blockbuster like My Fair Lady, but the sort that had a reasonable success and maybe came up with a song or two that stayed in the public mind. The show still lends itself to the high school repertoire and I recall Friends Select high school here in Philadelphia doing it not so long ago.
Plain and Fancy’s contribution to the standard repertoire is Young and Foolish, a lovely ballad. Like Carol Lawrence in the Broadway version, I was buried in the chorus in this production raising barns and things but I still remember the lead singing Young and Foolish (his name is on the tip of my tongue). The tune has resided in my head ever since, and pops up in spring, as pleasant and unbidden as a daffodil.
Click on the title in red to hear it. Among the song’s feature is a lovely verse (introduction) which is not often heard. The lyrics to the verse and refrain are below.
Once we were foolish children
Playing as children play.
Racing through a meadow April bright,
Dreaming on a hilltop half the night.
Now that we’re growing older,
We have no time to play.
Now that we’re growing wiser,
We are not wise enough to stay…
Young and foolish,
Why is it wrong to be
Young and Foolish?
We haven’t long to be.
Soon enough the carefree days,
The sunlit days go by.
Soon enough the bluebird has to fly.
We were foolish.
One day we fell in love.
Now we wonder
What we were dreaming of.
Smiling in the sunlight,
Laughing in the rain.
I wish that we were Young and Foolish again.