Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Herman Hupfeld - Not a One Shot Wonder AS TIME GOES BY - “Sing Something Simple”

     Here's a multi-part salute to HERMAN HUPFELD, who died before we were born (February 1, 1894-June 8, 1951). 

    You must remember this: Herman Hupfeld was NOT a one shot wonder. 

    Yes, he's best known for the enduring ballad "As Time Goes By." Still, if you have an interest in older music, you'll find plenty of amusing and surprisingly upbeat numbers in his catalog. Back in 1931-1933, most radio stations were playing a lot of his stuff and Broadway producers welcomed his contributions. These tunes were recorded by the most popular big bands of the day, from  Paul Whiteman in America to Ambrose in England.

    Hupfeld's most famous song  “As Time Goes By,” first appeared, as did most of his work, in a Broadway show. “Everybody’s Welcome” was the 1931 stage production that needed some extra material. There was comedy from the Ritz Brothers, a cute leading lady named Harriette Lake (who would eventually change her name to Ann Sothern), and room for a good romantic ballad for the show's star, the now-forgotten Frances Williams. The song wasn't that popular at the time. No record company raced to sign Ms. Williams to sing it. One of the few who did record it back then was Rudy Vallee, but it took the Bogart movie to turn that song into an enduring standard.

      In the meantime, Herman Hupfeld, born in Montclair, New Jersey and living there (and he'd die there), came across the Hudson River to come across with fodder for more shows. Some of the material was topical (about The Depression) or addressed other timely issues. In “Sing Something Simple,” Herman offered a Hup 2, 3,4 on the problem of modern jazz tunes:

    “Songs they write today, must be solved, they’re too involved!
    Oh what a mental strain: it takes a week or more to master one refrain.
    The subjects and complicated words with minor thirds: oh what an awful jam.
    Who cares about the love life of a clam?” 

    Just where Herman got that LAST line from, I have no idea. Somebody wrote about the love life of a clam? Maybe it was the risque Dwight Fiske? No, he wrote "Ida the Wayward Sturgeon." “Three Little Fishies” was a novelty hit about fish who “swam and swam all over the dam,” but they didn’t encounter a clam. That song was a hit about seven years after Herman's tune. “Do the Clam” from Elvis Presley was even later. And so was Cher with “Gypsies Clams and Thieves.” But I could be wrong about that. 

      Below are a few versions released back in the days of 78's. Whether this long play album has Herman's song, or a different song using the same title really doesn't matter does it? It sure brightens up this entry. 

      Some folks out there appreciate the kind of bouncy ditties that turned up in Betty Boop cartoons, and are featured in Busby Berkeley musicals. Herman Hupfeld's songbook is full of them, and for fans of fun 78's, you'll find several more in the  posts below that also pay tribute to the man from Montclair. Herman brought a lot of amusement to a lot of people, even if he may not have had such a happy time of it himself.

      Author Aljean Harmetz, who wrote a book on the making of Casablanca, speculated, “He may never have been in love. In fact he may never have had any adventures at all except the ones he composed. Even his World War I service consisted of playing in a Navy band a few hundred miles from home. Herman Hupfeld was born in Montclair, New Jersey in 1894 and died there, on the same street, in 1951.”  A simple life. 


SING SOMETHING SIMPLE - Fred Rich (instant download or listen online) No annoying egocentric Passwords

1 comment:

tanggal kadaluarsa m-bio said...

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