Friday, October 30, 2009

Songs My Mother Taught Me . . . On the Street Where You Live

I've had a good time this month posting songs my mother taught me as a tribute to her. Now I'm down to the final two days of the month (and, yes, I actually do have one for Halloween) with one of my favorite songs saved for this post.......and I'm feeling burned out. So just a few words to say that I don't remember who sang On the Street Where You Live on the record my mother had. As I listened to many at youtube this one by Vic Damone sounded the most familiar. Evidently he had a popular hit with it after it became famous in My Fair Lady. I don't remember seeing My Fair Lady at the theater with my mother, and remember instead viewing it on TV later.

My mother liked On the Street Where You Live because she was a romantic and she no doubt had relationship memories or fantasies about the song. I absolutely loved the song and often requested she play it. I dreamed my way onto adventurous streets, down alleys with ivy-coated walls, past brick apartments with important-looking entries, along smooth pathways that peaked into gardens and uneven sidewalks that showed off the architecture of imaginary neighborhoods that - during the daytime - took on the intoxicating smell of bus fumes and snow in July, and - at nighttime - glowed golden behind drawn shades where silhouettes moved slowly to jazz sounds and one dog barked before being let inside. Back then the enticement for me of On the Street Where You Live had much more to do with visions of STREETS than with the YOUs who might live on them. Now the enticement is the great song itself, everything about it.

On the Street Where You Live - lyrics

I have often walked down this street before;
But the pavement always stayed beneath my feet before.
All at once am I Several stories high.
Knowing I'm on the street where you live.
Are there lilac trees in the heart of town?
Can you hear a lark in any other part of town?
Does enchantment pour Out of ev'ry door?
No, it's just on the street where you live!
And oh! The towering feeling
Just to know somehow you are near.
The overpowering feeling
That any second you may suddenly appear!
People stop and stare. They don't bother me.
For there's no where else on earth that I would rather be.
Let the time go by, I won't care if I
Can be here on the street where you live.

I must include the video of Dean Martin singing On the Street Where You Live for the simple fact that my mother adored this man. I didn't understand it. I think it had something to do with his being (or acting as if he were) a high-functioning drunk, the kind of drunk she wished my father could have been. These days, as a woman older than my mother was during her "crush days" on Dean Martin, I understand his appeal. I also really like his version of this song.

top photo: NY East Village from The Weblicist of Manhattan

{This is the 15th in an undetermined number of songs my mother taught me I'm posting this month in her memory. For background, please visit the post containing the first song, Ivory Tower.} 


Phivos Nicolaides said...

What a lovely song is this. Loved it! Have a great weekend!

Nancy said...

I really enjoyed your series of songs your mother taught you! It brought back so many memories, because of course, I was listening to the same songs at the same time (probably in the same town, haha)!

I had the biggest crush on Dean Martin!

Hattie said...

I have the Marni Nixon version in my head. She rendered the song in a beautiful soprano.

Margaret Pangert said...

Another great blast from the past! Both your videos are wonderful. I think Rex Harrison sang it in both the Broadway show and the movie version of My Fair Lady. However, Julie Andrews was replaced by Audrey Hepburn in the movie, and her voice was dubbed by Andrews. What a slap in the face to Julie!
Our Finian's Rainbow tickets came in the mail! We ordered them from National Events @ 212-792-8632. They're for November 19th. If you happen to go on the same day, I'll meet you at the bar (or line to the Ladies' Room!) during intermission!
Lydia, thanks for seeing and haering my autumn leaves! Hugs xxox

Jennifer said...

First, I love your description of the streets you pictured, when the focus was on the STREETS and not the YOUS, especially these last lines: " took on the intoxicating smell of bus fumes and snow in July, and - at nighttime - glowed golden behind drawn shades where silhouettes moved slowly to jazz sounds and one dog barked before being let inside." So evocative.

Secondly, when I was immersed in my long-term crush years ago, I spent a lot of time listening to a version of this song by Holly Cole, which really plays up the stalkerish elements. If you google her name with the song, you might be able to hear it (I can't figure out how to link to it). And I'd think about it on every dog walk, wondering if my crush lived on the street we were walking on.

Lydia said...

@Phivos- You have a great weekend also. :) I'm glad you like the song so much!

@Nancy- Hahaha, yes we probably were listening to them from the same town. Such a fun tie with you.

@Hattie- I tried to find the Marni Nixon version you mentioned so I could link it here in comments. But the soundtrack album has a male named Bill Shirley singing the song. I couldn't find Ms. Nixon's version, darn.

@Margaret- I guess you didn't see my reply to your comment about attending Finian's after the post about the song. Sadly, it was the reviewer I quoted in the post who is going to attend...and we are stuck here in Oregon. But I will be thinking of you. And thanks so much for including the phone number for tickets, as perhaps others will use it! I envy you more than I can say that you get to see this revival of the play.

@Jennifer- Let's see if this works as a link to the Holly Cole version. Thank you!for letting me know about it. I've never heard of her before, and I think her interpretation of the song (once she gets beyond those first disturbing lines of notes) is marvelous! With this and the other version of Green Door you told me about I must say you've added to dimension of these songs for me in a new fresh way. I relate to the crush scene and enjoyed your story (and thanks for appreciating mine).



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