Besides Auld Lang Syne

I, like many folks around the globe, look forward to the tradition and ritual of singing Auld Lang Syne at midnight. That got me thinking, which sometimes sends me down some unforeseen rabbit holes. Come down this one with me.

What three songs would I pick as my all-time favourites, stuck on-a-desert-island tunes?

By The Righteous Brothers, Unchained Melody would be at the top of my list, and I don’t know why. It almost paralyzes me every time I hear it. I wish I could critique it as well as my favourite music critiques can do. I would even struggle to sing along with it. But since I have only three to choose from, the first one is a no-brainer.

Next, Shenandoah is played on the piano by Keith Jarret. A good friend introduced me to this artist. Although not a piano fan, so to speak, Keith had me after the first few notes of this version of Shenandoah. Again, I’m not sure why. But I stop what I’m doing when he is playing. My best explanation is that you can hear the ache in every note. There seems to be a split-second hesitation before the following note flows from the piano. This creates aural drama.

Last is any tune by Jimmy LaFave. His voice is instilled with many happy and diverse memories. I first saw him at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival side stage as part of the memorial Woody Guthrie 100th Birthday. A couple of bars of music, and I couldn’t take my eyes off him. Every new find like this is a lifelong treasure.

Then in Austin, Texas, with friends, we saw him during the SXSW Festival, playing in a very crowded restaurant. Austin is Jimmy’s adopted hometown; not only were all the seats taken, but servers couldn’t move through the standing crowd. Jimmy was playing to his homies, and everybody paid him the respect he had earned.

So, with just a bit more time left for you and me to stay down this rabbit hole, why not give it a bit of a think and identify three songs for yourself. Can you explain why? How long since you last listened to those three songs? Could you give them a play now?

Share the shortlist with others and ask others for their picks in the comments below. Be open to others who are different from you by age, gender, religion, and ethnicity. Please give a listen to their choices. Enjoy the stories other people share.

Oh, yes. And Happy New Year!

My thanks to St. Albert Seniors Association: 780-459-0433 for making this Blog possible.

Volunteer Blogger

8 thoughts on “Besides Auld Lang Syne

  1. Patti Dolman says:

    A favourite artist Josh Groban sings To Where You Are, it’s a sad song and I get goose bumps when I hear it. I always think of loved ones I’ve lost. Another song stuck with me while driving through the night in the Catskills – the song played every 30 minutes- Colder Weather by Zac Brown. My third song would be a Bruce Springsteen song , Dancing in the Dark. Reminds of fun times living in Collingwood where going out dancing was a favourite pastime.Those days are long gone.

    • glenn says:

      The first one I’m not a fan of, for some reason, The second I’ll have to check on Spotify Third, can’t sit down when I hear it. Thanks.

  2. Kathryn Walmsley says:

    Alleluia by Mozart sung by any boy soprano tops my list.. Aksel Rykkvin on utube does a good job. When I was 21 I shared an apartment in Moncton NB with a young Acadian woman I had never met before. She had a great figure and showed it off by wearing very short mini skirts. On first meeting, she told me she loved to party. After unpacking she brought out her record collection and told me she would play me her favourite piece. I assumed it would be a Beatles song as they were so popular. Imagine my surprise when Mozart’s Alleluia filled the room. Not only did she play it, but she sang it in a beautiful soprano voice. It soon became my favourite as well. It is so joyous that it always lifts my spirits.
    My second pick is Perhaps Love sung by John Denver and Placido Domingo. It is such a reflective
    somewhat sad piece with such a beautiful melody.
    Number 3 is Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen. I am a real Cohen fan! I lived in Montreal when he was beginning his career. I used to race home from work on Fridays and celebrate by having cheese, crackers and sherry while playing his songs. I love the haunting mystical quality of this piece and
    Cohen’s gritty voice.

  3. John L Walmsley says:

    My Three Songs for Life on a Desert Island
    I. “The Way You Look Tonight”by Jerome Kern sung by Frank Sinatra
    2.”If I Loved You” from the musical “Carousel” by Rogers and Hammerstein
    3. “Hallelujah’ by Leonard Cohen sung by sung by Leonard Cohen, k.d. lang and others.
    The first two songs were sung by the school choir at graduation ceremonies in 1960 at Monklands High School In Montreal. I had a crush on a girl in the choir and imagined that she was singing just for me. I never had the courage at 17 to ask her for a date. Such sweet agony!
    In 1969 when we were newly married my wife, Kathryn, discovered Leonard Cohen. I found the poetic lyrics very moving as well.

  4. Gail says:

    Top 3 songs:
    1. Hotel California, Eagles (released in 1976). I was 22 years old. This is a timeless classic. I love the introductory guitar solo. I used to listen to this song over and over again on my record player. I never really focused on the lyrics although some lines really stuck in my head. “Sweet smell of colitas, rising up through the air.” Little did I know that “colitas” is a cannabis bud. I actually thought I heard “cleat dust” which made no sense at all. That’s what my ears picked up. I don’t know when it clicked in that I was hearing it wrong! lol It was one of Lisa’s favorite songs too and she used to play it on her guitar.
    2. Shallow, Lady Gaga
    This is a powerful song with a beautiful melody. The lyrics probably mean something different to each person. When I first heard it stirred a lot emotions. That doesn’t happen very often. A song has to grow on me. When I heard Bradley Cooper (who isn’t a singer) sing it with Lady Gaga I was touched. It’s intensely soul-stirring.
    3. I was pleasantly surprised to see that my tastes in music run parallel to Kathryn and John’s, as far as Hallelujah goes. I came close to choosing that one. But I had to go with Dance Me to the End of Love, Leonard Cohen. I’ve listened to this so many times and it never gets old. It may sound like a love song but it’s actually kind of sad – inspired by the Holocaust. Again, it’s a song so full of mixed interpretations and that’s what makes it a masterpiece. Even if I listened to this song without the words, it would have the same powerful effect on me. The words are so profound.
    “There were these little orchestras the Germans put together in concentration camps. They played while people were being incinerated or gassed. If you want to read the song from that point of view, it becomes something quite different.”
    Leonard Cohen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *