Saturday, January 2, 2010

Where is all the Happy New Year music?

So here we are, January 2nd, and Christmas and New Years' have now passed for 2009 and we have the cold reality of January 2010 staring us in the face with nary a holiday to look forward to until Family Day arrives in Ontario mid-February. Hopefully your holiday season has been a pleasant one, and you are ready to get back to the more mundane routine of life once again.

In an earlier entry in December I noted the sales for A Web of Fine Music were quite strong for the season, although the numbers would not be in until the end of the month. Well, New Year's Day I did the calculations and I am happy to report this was my third best December since I started A Web of Fine Music in 2003. I am pleasantly surprised, as the economy has not been good this year and the music industry as a whole has not been particularly healthy for some time now. But the signs were encouraging in December, and I hope the good feelings extend into the New Year for not only my business but all businesses that have been struggling during this recession. I thank all of you, my loyal customers, for all your support and of course your sales this year in general and this Christmas season in particular.

Now, I don't know why, but last evening I was thinking about the profound lack of music appropriate to the New Years' celebration. We have hundreds if not thousands of Christmas songs and carols to listen to in December, but relatively few pertain specifically to New Years' Eve or Day in any way, shape or form. I did a search this morning and with just the song title Happy New Year, I turned up 275 entries, everything from The A-Teens to Zauberberg as performers. Now, 275 isn't bad when you think about it, but it is a far cry from the wealth of Christmas music readily available.

Last evening I was listening to some music appropriate to the day, which numbered just one single, solitary title: it's a Gordon Jenkins tune titled Happy New Year, and the only performance I've ever heard of it is on an old Capitol disc released in the early 60s titled Nat King Cole Sings the Great Songs! Well, maybe most of them were about 4o-odd years ago, but many of them have not stood the test of time, including Happy New Year. It's a pretty melancholy, bitter-sweet song of a love gone wrong and the poor sap is alone on New Year's Eve while all around him celebrate with their "stupid little horns". Not Gordon Jenkins' best effort, to be sure, but it was a product of its time and frankly, I kind of felt for the guy in the song many years ago when I was in the same lonely boat on New Years' Eve. It was released on a Capitol/EMI two-fer disc, paired with Thank You, Pretty Baby, from the same era, and should still be available if you're interested. Nat sounds great, by the way, although it was not too many years before cancer would ultimately claim his life and his golden voice.

Other New Year songs? Of course, the most popular of all is Robert Burns' Auld Lang Syne, performed since early in the last centrury to welcome New Years' Eve at 12 midnight by Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians. I still have an old live recording made by Guy and the band from the early 70s not long before he died, although sadly it has never made it onto CD that I can see.

Beyond that, you have to really start to look. I always enjoy the song Happy New Year with Abba, first appearing on their Super Trooper album in the 80s and still readily available. I also recall an old RCA lp from about 20 years ago featuring the Vienna Choir Boys with a New Year Carol on it, but that is the only recording of it I've ever seen. So you see, there is not really that much to choose from.

Now, although I am a retailer of music, I would never suggest you run out and stock up on music appropriate for New Years' Eve or Day, since most people make do with Guy Lombardo at midnight and their own favourites the rest of the time and leave it at that. However, if you fancy hearing some of the New Years' songs that have been recorded over the years, drop me a line at or through my website, and I will see what I can find for you. And remember, all through the year I am at your service to find just the right song or classical work you are looking for. Don't wait until December, why not enjoy great music all year long?

Happy New Year!

January 2nd, 2010.

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