Saturday, March 19, 2011

Rosemary Clooney: “Have I Stayed Too Long at the Fair?”



This song has long been my favorite Rosie Clooney interpretation. A few years ago, I searched in vain for it on the ‘Net. Since then, however, Steveway32 has ridden to the rescue of all lovers of this Clooney performance, not only with a clear recording, but an excellent accompanying video.

Music by Billy Barnes
Lyrics by Michael H. Goldsen
Version sung by Rosemary Clooney

I wanted the music to play on forever,
Have I stayed too long at the fair?
I wanted the clown to be constantly clever,
Have I stayed too long at the fair?
I bought the blue ribbons to tie up my hair,
But I couldn’t find anybody to care,
The merry-go-round is beginning to slow now,
Have I stayed too long at the fair?
The music has stopped, and the children must go now,
Have I stayed too long at the fair?

Oh, mother dear, I know you're very proud,
Your little girl in gingham is so far above the crowd,
No, daddy dear, you never could have known,
That I would be successful, and so very much alone.

Here in New York, I’m many worlds away,
From people who are dear to me,
Here in New York, I’m learning every day,
How very sad a carnival can be.

I wanted to live in a carnival city,
With laughter and love everywhere,
I wanted my friends to be thrilling and witty,
I wanted somebody to care,
I found it was easy to capture success,
But now I’d be willing to settle for less,
The lights of the midway are fading above me,
Have I stayed too long at the fair?
I’d better run home to the people who love me,
For I’ve stayed too long at the fair.


Anonymous said...

I had never heard "Have I Stayed Too Long at the Fair?" I have a 3 CD Set of Rosemary Clooney's most familiar songs, a total of 36.

David In TN

Nicholas said...


Apparently, she added this song, which I had previously never heard of, to her repertoire only very late in life. It was on her 70th birthday album (1998?), and I know it from the radio, probably via Jonathan Schwartz, whom I have been listening to on different NYC stations since circa 1973.

Noah Vale said...

This version was clearly from late in her life, but there is an earlier version, sung in a higher key, which is wonderful as well. She sings the verses in a different order in the earlier one.

Noah Vale said...

Adding to my earlier comment just now: Both of Clooney's versions of "Have I Stayed Too Long at the Fair?" are readily available on youtube, of course.

Nicholas said...

Noah Vale,

Thanks for the info.