Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Un-depressed HERMAN HUPFELD: “Let’s Put Out The Lights And Go To Sleep”

     The salute to the lesser known works of Herman "As Time Goes By" Hupfeld continues with more of his attempts to lighten up the Depression era. They say that misery helps produce creativity, and it may be so in Herman's case. Almost all of his most interesting songs seem to be written in the four years after the stock market crash. He seemed to have less luck in the 1940's.

    It’s important to remember that artists usually reflect their times. A knowledge of sociology works hand in hand with musicology.  Many believe The Beatles’ bright, new innocent tunes like “I Want to Hold Your Hand” were embraced by America because it was still reeling from the assassination of John F. Kennedy. It’s possible there would not have been a British invasion if bullets hadn’t invaded JFK.   

    Likewise, the bouncy tunes Hupfeld wrote for a variety of Broadway shows, were a musical tonic for people trying to escape their gloom and have hope for better days. While sad songs say so much, and several dire songs reflected the times, such as “Brother Can You Spare a Dime,” most people purged their melancholy with light hearted ditties.  

    The lyrics for this song are scant, but suggest that it’s best not to swell on worry:

     “No more company to keep. No more papers left to read. What to do about it? Let’s put out the lights and go to sleep. No more anything to drink. Leave those dishes in the sink. What to do about it? Let’s put out the lights and go to sleep….No more money in the bank. No cute baby we can spank. What do do about it? Let’s put out the lights and go to sleep.” 

    Today the economy for singers and songwriters is pretty depressing. The same fuckwits who probably deny climate change, deny that giving away thousands of albums a day in forums and blogs is hurtful to the economy of artists, record labels,  record stores, etc.) The same king pests who’d rather pollute a lake with a speedboat’s noise and gasoline, are the ones who gratify their ego by smirking, “Anything you want, I gots me 200 GB of music on the computer so ask nice and I will reward you." With so much given away free, few need to buy anything. This appeals to turd-heads in third rate countries who simply want to get back at high-living people in the USA and UK.  The other "sharers" are often sociopaths who give away music, films, books, games, etc. because it's illegal and it gives them a thrill. And they haven't the guts to shoplift a pack of chewing gum in the real world. 

    "Let's Put Out the Lights..." was recorded with a female vocal in America (Ramona Davies in front of Paul Whiteman’s orchestra) and a male vocal in England (Sam Browne fronting Syd Lipton’s orchestra.) Sam Browne is no relation to British female vocalist Sam Brown, who blew the roof off the dumb when she sang “Horse to the Water” at the George Harrison tribute concert in 2002. 

     Yes, as John Marley could've told you, most anything gruesome can be forgotten if you just turn out the lights and go to sleep.

GO TO SLEEP with Syd Lipton's Orchestra and Sam Browne's vocals
GO TO SLEEP with Paul Whiteman's Orchestra and Ramona Davies' vocals

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