Monday, September 14, 2009

#54-53: Get Happy / Happy Days Are Here Again

It was called "a meeting of god and titan exponentially more genuine and torch-passing than the Bill Clinton-J.F.K. photograph." While Barbra Streisand had reinvented the old FDR theme song, "Happy Days Are Here Again," as a slow vamp for a 1962 album, it was Judy Garland's idea to combine it with one of her own favorites, "Get Happy," for their duet on Garland's television show.

Written a year apart, "Happy Days" (1929) was both Milton Ager and Jack Yellen's most famous song, while "Get Happy" (1930) was Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler's first together. After the television performance of two legends -- one a 21-year-old just starting her career and the other a star for decades -- Judy reprised the song at the London Palladium with another powerhouse, her daughter, Liza. Want someone other than Judy? Shame on you. Okay, fine. Here's Broadway rockstars Patti LuPone and Audra McDonald giving the intertwining "Happy" tunes a whirl.

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