Thursday, January 21, 2016

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Where or When


Rodgers & Hart
On this Throwback Thursday I want to just present various version of a strangely alluring song that I came to through Dion & The Belmonts. 

The lush harmonies, the greasy sax, the mysterious, almost mystical lyrics of deja vu ("The clothes you're wearing are the clothes you wore / The smile you are smiling you were smiling then, /But I can't remember where or when...") 

How could anyone resist? It might be the ultimate late 50s/early 60s makeout song.

Here is Dion and the boys. Try to disregard the screaming teenage girls.



But even when I first hear it there was something about "Where or When" that told me this was older than rock 'n' old. 

But actually the song is not much more than 20 years older than Dion's version. It was written by that great American songwriting team of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart for a 1937 Broadway production called Babes in Arms. 

That's a musical that included other Rodgers & Hart classic like "The Lady is a Tramp" and "My Funny Valentine."

Actors Ray Heatherton and Mitzi Green sang "Where or When." Here's a recording by Heatherton.




In 1939, Babes in Arms was turned into a Busby Berkely musical starring Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney. (The script was radically rewritten and most the Rodgers & Hart score was tossed -- though "Where and When" survived. Here is a scene where it was sung by Douglas McPhail, Betty Jaynes and Garland -- with some musical criticism by Rooney.



Miss Peggy Lee did a cool, sultry version in 1941. Like the Heatherton version, the vocals don't start until about half way through.)



The song became a Rat Pack favorite. Sinatra sang it and so did Sammy. But I dig this swingin' version by Dino on his mid '60 TV show.