PREPARE FOR VALENTINE’S DAY: “MY BANNER IS THE MOON UP ABOVE” (1936)

I know it’s almost a week away.  But all satisfactory endeavors require planning.

When you detach Valentine’s Day from its commercial roots — flowers, chocolate, intriguing articles of clothing, New York pizza delivered anywhere — there’s still something to be cherished.  Especially in this arduous landscape, it’s uplifting to dream of romance even if it hasn’t yet taken shape.  If you do have someone in your life who accelerates your pulse rate in the best ways, I celebrate that enthusiastically.  And all celebrations need the right music.

My post about SING, BABY, SING pleased a few viewers, so I am inspired to present another 1936 pop hit — I DON’T WANT TO MAKE HISTORY (I Just Want to Make Love) by Leo Robin and Ralph Rainger — in several versions.  I’d like to see this song picked up by jazz singers: not much has happened to it since its first decade: it could be the Official JAZZ LIVES Romance Song, so see if you might commit it to memory.

The film it came from, PALM SPRINGS, seems exceptionally silly, even though it had in its cast Spring Byington, Grady Sutton, Smith Ballew as a triumphant cowboy-love interest, Sterling Holloway, young David Niven, and the irreplaceable Fuzzy Knight, it lost money.

Disclaimer: I think that in 1936, “I just want to make love” did not refer to position 5.1.a in the Kama Sutra, but the larger, sweeter notion of Romance, which could lead to such aerobics.  (In 5.1.a., one partner sings OL’ MAN MOSE while the other shreds cabbage for cole slaw.  Not for the timid but satisfying.)

I begin with a distinctly un-jazzy recording, tender rather than hot, to let you hear the verse and an alternate bridge (how clever Robin could be) sung from the feminine perspective, that of the lovely Frances Langford:

Here’s a multi-media bonanza: a Fleischer Studios Screen Song with Mike Riley singing with Vincent Lopez at the piano, a bouncing-ball sing-along, brief visits to YOU HIT THE SPOT and US ON A BUS, and some goofy comedy:

Now the rather tepid crooning of Bob Crosby, with brief inspired spots for Ward Silloway, Matty Matlock, Eddie Miller, Yank Lawson, and Ray Bauduc:

A favorite of mine: Stew Pletcher, singing and playing for Bluebird Records — and that familiar xylophone is of course Red Norvo:

Finally, let’s go to Fifty-Second Street for Stuff Smith and his Onyx Club Boys:

I hope you get to make love, and that it’s historic as well.

May your happiness increase!

 

One response to “PREPARE FOR VALENTINE’S DAY: “MY BANNER IS THE MOON UP ABOVE” (1936)

  1. What a great tune! I like the onyx club recording. Thanks for your work Michael!

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