The Thinking 

Songs of Loyalty and Love

November 9, 2011



Eydie Gormé

ALAN writes:

To a certain extent, your blog is a chronicle of loss – of common sense, moral principles, cultural standards, beauty, decency, manners, restraint, elegance, patriotism, strong families, respect for elders, and respect for the past, among other things; and a plea for the restoration of those things, a goal with which I wholeheartedly agree. 

Another thing Americans have lost is popular music that is cheerful, engaging, uplifting, memorable, and easy to sing along with; ballads with lovely melodies and sentimental lyrics; and songs that celebrate the virtues of marriage, family life, parenthood, self-restraint, and loyalty.  

Consider these examples from an American culture now vanished: 

— The lovely melody of “Our Winter Love” by pianist Bill Pursell (1963) and the cheerful, uplifting melodies of “Montreal” by Johnny Williams (1963) and “A Walk in the Black Forest” by Horst Jankowski (1965).  

— The ballads recorded by Bobby Vinton in 1962-’64: “Roses Are Red,” “Blue on Blue,” “Blue Velvet,” “My Heart Belongs to Only You,” and “Mr. Lonely”. 

— Beautiful ballads like “Close to Cathy” by Mike Clifford (1962), “The End of the World” by Skeeter Davis (1963), “My Love, Forgive Me” by Robert Goulet (1964), and “If He Walked Into My Life” by Eydie Gormé (1966).  

— The story of a little girl and a doll in a toyshop window, in Marion Worth’s lovely and timeless Christmas story-song “Shake Me I Rattle (Squeeze Me I Cry)” (1962). 

— The hauntingly-beautiful ballad “All Alone Am I” by Brenda Lee (1962), featuring strings and a harpsichord.  

— Songs whose lyrics encouraged loyalty and self-restraint, like “Go Away, Little Girl” by Steve Lawrence (1962) and “Our Day Will Come” by Ruby and The Romantics (1963); and celebrated marriage, like “The Wedding” by Julie Rogers (1964). 

— Songs that promoted respect for parents, like “Oh! My Pa-Pa” by Eddie Fisher (1953), “Mama From the Train (A Kiss, A Kiss)” by Patti Page (1956), “Mama” by Connie Francis (1960), and “My Dad” by Paul Petersen (1962); and a father’s memories of his daughter, in “The Men in My Little Girl’s Life” by Mike Douglas (1965).  

Cheerful, beautiful, inspiring songs like these were once commonly heard on AM radio stations. Perhaps you can remember other examples.


                                                 — Comments —

Jeff W. writes:

When we talk about popular music we often focus on singers or composers, but we should also recognize that music is a reflection of a culture and a marketplace. Popular music gets its name because millions of people buy it.

In America today there are still many people who are writing songs about loyalty and love, but the marketplace now rejects them. The songs that are popular today are purchased by millions who reject love in favor of sex, believe loyalty is a form of weakness, and want music that makes them feel more energized and alive. Today’s popular music is purchased by people who are in the Vitalist stage of nihilism as was described by Fr. Seraphim Rose. One of the manifestations of Vitalism, Fr. Rose wrote, is “the increasing primitive and savage character of popular music.”

Such music genres as “Hip Hop” and “Techno” could be contained within a larger genre called “Music for nihilists seeking intense physical sensations.” Sales figures prove that there are millions of such nihilists in America today.

Ben J. writes:

For any of your readers who live in Denver, music like Alan describes can be heard on AM 1430 KEZW. They also play some special features like the ‘Star Spangled Radio Hour’, a collection of broadcasts from World War II, and ‘When Radio Was’ to name a couple. I grew up with KEZW because they were one of the only music stations I could receive, growing up in the mountains (no FM up there). People can also listen online here.
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