Sunday, April 12, 2009

#90: They All Laughed

They all laughed at Christopher Columbus
When he said the world was round.
They all laughed when Edison recorded sound.
They all laughed at Wilbur and his brother
When they said that man could fly.
They told Marconi
Wireless was a phony.
It's the same old cry.
They laughed at me wanting you.
Said I was reaching for the moon.
But oh, you came through,
Now they'll have to change their tune.

They all said we never could be happy,
They laughed at us and how!
But ho, ho, ho!
Who's got the last laugh now?

Mimicking a popular advertisement of the day (see photo, above), this Gershwin brothers' tune pairs well with Jerome Kern's "Smoke Gets In Their Eyes," where "laughing friends deride tears I cannot hide." Here, who's got the last laugh now? Written for the 1937 film, "Shall We Dance," this swingin' romp through American explorers and inventors (including "Hershey and his chocolate bar!") celebrates the improbability of love. The song starts on the off-beat, unconventionally hits the rhyme on the downbeat, and then reaches for an unexpected key, catching the listener off-guard each time, just like the singer's message. Genius!

While Ginger Rogers sang this tune to Fred Astaire on the silver screen, I think Stacey Kent's version is both sweet and sassy. Enjoy it on YouTube.

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