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Saturday, November 14, 2015

For the French, and for the Stix Family: Julie Andrews and Aaron Spencer Singing Jerome Kern & Oscar Hammerstein II’s “The Last Time I Saw Paris”

Re-posted by Nicholas Stix

Kern & Hammerstein wrote this song, following the June, 1940 German conquest of France. It was used in Lady be Good in 1941, and won the Oscar for Best Original Song.

For worldly Westerners, the 1940 fall of Paris was epochal.

Visiting the City of Light is a religious event that no Westerner should miss… if possible. But is it still?

I made my first pilgrimage there on January 2, 1982. I spent eight days there, less travel to and fro (if memory serves). It rained the whole time, but I didn’t care. It was a big tourist trap, and the most expensive city in Europe (100 Deutsch Mark per day), but I didn’t care.

I ate two or three croissants per day from an old-fashioned bakery near Station St. Paul, where I was staying in a Parisian Youth Hostel (they had their own, independent system), which had furniture that looked to be 150 or so years old. I spent several days in Musée d'Orsay, the Impressionist museum. I saw the Louvre, though the Mona Lisa was disappointing, with terrible reflections, barricaded as it was behind heavy Plexiglas, due to an attack several years earlier. I walked up and down every step of the Eiffel Tower. One night, dinner at the youth hostel was an exquisite bottle of French white wine that cost about a dollar. Not too dry.

I bought a bottle of Cointreau, but paid more for it in France than in Germany. Paris has its own economic laws. Those days, I always carried a plastic “Schauma” shampoo flask full of Cointreau on me, when I traveled.

I passed a little store where the owner had a huge, ripe pineapple sitting on a hill of boxes or something, and praised him, “C’est bon!” He corrected me, “No, monsieur. C’est très bon.”

I had no choice, but to agree.

French drivers were as psychopathic as in Gershwin’s day. Leap out of their way, or die.

By January 9, 1982, my life’s accomplishments included falling in love, losing my cherry, learning German and seeing Paris. If I’d died on January 10, my life would hardly have been complete, but it would not have been in vain.

In recent years, I had worried about Paris, which had increasingly come under Mohammedan control. I had planned to take my boy, who by then will have turned 16, and The Boss there next summer. Let’s hope things calm down by then, because at present, that trip will take place only over The Boss’ dead body.
 

The Last Time I Saw Paris
Music by Jerome Kern
Words by Oscar Hammerstein II

A lady known as Paris,
Romantic and charming,
Has left her old companions,
And faded from view.

Lonely men with lonely hearts,
Are seeking her in vain,
Her streets are where they were,
But there's no sign of her.

She has left the Seine.

The last time I saw Paris,
Her heart was warm and gay,
I heard the laughter of her heart,
In every street café.

The last time I saw Paris,
Her trees were dressed for spring,
And lovers walked beneath those trees,
And birds found songs to sing.

I dodged the same old taxicabs,
That I had dodged for years,
The chorus of their squeaky horns,
Was music to my ears.

The last time I saw Paris,
Her heart was warm and gay,
No matter how they change her,
I'll remember her that way.

[Bridge]

The last time I saw Paris,
Her heart was warm and gay,
I heard the laughter of her heart,
In every street café.

The last time I saw Paris,
Her trees were dressed for spring,
And lovers walked beneath those trees,
And birds found songs to sing.

I dodged the same old taxicabs,
That I had dodged for years,
The chorus of their squeaky horns,
Was music to my ears.

The last time I saw Paris,
Her heart was warm and gay,
No matter how they change her,
I'll remember her that way.

[Additional lyrics I found, but which I have not heard sung.]

I'll think of happy hours, and people who shared them
Old women, selling flowers, in markets at dawn

Children who applauded, Punch and Judy in the park
And those who danced at night and kept our Paris bright

'Til the town went dark.
 

I searched in vain on Youtube for a Sinatra recording. The Sinatra family has been so generous regarding people violating their copyright and posting Frank’s recordings and live performances on Youtube that I doubt that they sicced the Kopyright Kops on anyone. However, if someone sics the KK on someone for any single Youtube upload, Google then deletes every item in that person’s Youtube account, which at times means thousands of videos lost.
 

Julie Andrews on The Julie Andrews Hour (1973)
 


 

Published on May 31, 2012 by TheJulieAndrewsChannel.
 

The Julie Andrews Hour Episode #20
Aired on February 17, 1973.
 

Tenor Aaron Spencer, Accompanied by Jose Melendez
 


 

Uploaded on November 17, 2009 by ConcertOT.
 

From Lady Be Good (1941). Aaron Spencer, tenor, and José Meléndez, music director, piano. From a concert - Gems from the American Operettas, recorded on October 4, 2009.

Visit www.concertoperetta.com for more information
 

N.S.: Wonderful tenor, lousy sound. I feel sorry for the guy.

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