As Long As I Live

Being that it’s Valentine’s Day, I’m a little torn as to what to post. Do I go against all of my convictions and indulge in the wishy-washy nonsense of the only holiday that actually works against itself? I mean, really. Doesn’t the notion of having a day dedicated to love and affection downplay and discount the importance of love and affection enduring through the rest of the year? Do I post some angry, thrashy, sardonic shit in protest? It’s a conundrum. So here’s the thing: as much as I balk at the idea of Valentine’s Day, it does present an opportunity to select from the endless canons of brilliant love songs that have been written throughout time. Given that it’s one of the most intense and universal human emotions, love has arguably had a larger influence on art and music than any other subject. It also gives me an opportunity to shine a light on one of the great American composers whose name is scarcely known outside of the music community.

One of my favorite love songs of all time is a tune called “As Long As I Live” written by Harold Arlen. If you’re not familiar with Harold Arlen, go ahead and click on his name and read his Wikipedia page. You’ve heard his music before. And I bet, for almost all of you–even if you claim not to be good singers–that you have even sung his songs at one point or another. Arlen wrote all the music to The Wizard of Oz (c’mon, I know you’ve belted out “Over The Rainbow” at least once,) the music to “One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)”, “Stormy Weather” and a whole bunch more that most Americans over the age of 10 have heard in their life at some point.  While Arlen’s songs are considered ‘standards’ and have thus been covered thousands of times, my favorite recording of “As Long As I Live” was sung by Lena Horne. Such a colorful voice. Lena could be brassy, coy, subtle, and sincere all at the same time–which is exactly what this song calls for.

 

That was beautiful. And now, the protester in me feels the need to put all this V-Day sappiness back into check. The most fitting song that comes to mind is actually a song that I wrote. I wrote it mostly as a joke on Valentine’s Day last year, but it turns out, it’s kind of caught on with my bandmates and friends. Now we get fairly frequent requests to play it. Since we’re still in the process of recording it (we’ll be re-tracking keys and possibly laying down a horn part this Sunday), I’ll just share the lyrics for now.

Nobody Wins on Valentine’s Day

Nobody wins on Valentine’s Day  

Nobody wins on Valentine’s Day

I got a job in a cheap motel

Nobody’s happy far as I can tell

All these people pass through my door

From what I gather they always want more

Nobody wins on Valentine’s Day

Nobody wins on Valentine’s Day

Roses, candy hearts  

Love on a dollar bill 

In God we trust 

But what we really love is lust 

Nobody wins on Valentine’s Day

Nobody wins on Valentine’s Day

Single folks remember they’re all alone

Wives talk to husbands in a pissed off tone

Why should love be only once a year?

On a holiday filled with chocolate tears

Nobody wins on Valentine’s Day

Nobody wins on Valentine’s Day

Cards and fancy dinners 

If that’s what you do 

Remind us that the rest of the year 

It’s just boring me and you 

Nobody wins on Valentine’s Day 

Nobody wins on Valentine’s Day 

Couples checking in and singles checking out

Making money is what it’s all about

Love is fleeting just like holidays

Tomorrow we’ll be back to our old ways

Nobody wins on Valentine’s Day

Nobody wins on Valentine’s Day

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