30 songs in (almost) 30 days: day 29
day 29 – a song from your childhood: Kingston Trio/Sheldon Harnick: “The Merry Minuet”
This was a tough one. I have a lot of favorite songs from childhood. Somewhere, my parents have a recording of me as a preschooler singing this song:
I remember listening to my dad sing along with the Limeliters on this song:
But I had to pick The Kingston Trio singing Sheldon Harnick’s “The Merry Minuet”:
It’s a song that has worn amazingly well. The observations Harnick made in 1950s (I’ve found it dated variously 1957, 1958 and 1959, but no references in sources I trust) define the expression plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.
Harnick is best known as the lyricist half of the musical theater partnership of Bock and Harnick, which gave us such gems as She Loves Me! and Fiddler on the Roof. The genius of this song, aside from its prescience, lies in the contrast between its we’re-all-gonna-die lyrics and it’s sprightly and frivolous accompaniment. The Kingston Trio does a terrific job at emphasizing this contrast. The Kingston were a favorite in our house and also in our car. As poor Mr. Spy has learned over the years, my family was big on car-ride sing-a-longs. Mr. Spy should consider himself lucky that he’s never been stuck on a cross-country trip with the lot of us. He just has to listen to me.
I listened to “The Merry Minuet” enough times as a child that I was able to remember the complete lyrics after a more than 20-year gap between listenings. What childhood songs have stuck with you?
Short and sweet today. Getting ready for realtors.