Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Enrico Caruso: "Over There" by George M. Cohan

Pretty strange stuff! I woke up with a song from the '70s Broadway musical George M! in my head. It was called All Our Friends, and so far I haven't been able to find lyrics or a performance other than a hideous rendition by an amateur group that can barely stand up, let alone do an awkward kick-line and sing wildly off-key. But I do remember some of it: "Half a ton of them, every one of them, all our wonderful friends. . . the line of them never quite ends!" This of course reminded me of the definition of "friend" on Facebook. In most cases you have never met or spoken to, nor will you ever meet or speak to, these people. I encountered a gushing new page by someone who had "omigosh, already exceeded the total on my page (5000 friends, all close, personal and intimate, of course), and have to start a new one just for fans of my writing." Already it was up to 1500. I don't know how this happens. Most of these friend-laden people aren't famous, and you cannot tell me (and no one will even talk to me about this - everyone goes silent) that they really do have thousands and thousands of "wonderful friends. . . The line of them never quite ends!" So instead, here is Enrico Caruso singing George M. Cohan's patriotic World War I anthem, Over There, perhaps in French towards the end (? French?) The line of them never quite ends!

(Oops, just found a fantastic version, probably sung by Joel Grey - even with a repeat, it lasts only one minute, so it took me several tries to transcribe the words. They are pretty much as I remember them. The link below may or may not work - I hope so, because it's a kick-ass performance.


All Our Friends

George M. Cohan

All our friends, every one of them, they’re
All our friends, wonderful friends
Dozens and dozens, a regular throng
Simply besiege us and follow along
Because they’re all our friends
Half a ton of them, the line of them never quite ends!
They come in groups and troops, invited or not
Uptown, downtown, right on the spot
I must confess I guess I worship the lot –
Yes every mother’s son of them
Every one of them
All our wonderful friends!

(Da-da, da-da-da, da – LIKE!)

Bonus Joel Grey. I can never get enough of Joel Grey.

The only one who could keep up with Cagney. Who was the only one who could keep up with George M. Cohan.