Friday, November 14, 2008

The Original Thing: The Four Aces: "Love Is A Many Splendored Thing"

Having successfully avoided being stomped to death by the seemingly-endless marching chorale of Mitch Miller, let’s go, dear readers, to a place far more desirable – a high, windy and misty hill. It’s the morning, and no one is around – it is blessedly quiet and beautiful, exactly the kind of place for a lovers’ rendevous. Is the world standing still? Is the man wearing a crown of gold? When the lovers kiss the world indeed does stand still, and when fingers touch, the heart learns to live and sing.

The word ‘splendor’ comes from the Latin word for ‘shine’ – thus, love creates things that are shiny, that reflect back to the world a richer, newer and yet fragile world that may well start on that high and windy hill but also may end there, if circumstances surrounding it – such as, in the case of this novel/movie, the girl’s family – don’t agree that he (a British reporter in the book, but in the movie since he’s played by William Holden, an American one) is an acceptable, desirable mate. Obstacles to love only increase it, however – and if the love has to come to a halt, that doesn’t mean it has to come to an end. Shiny ever-new love, rare and dogged, will continue, just as nature itself does.

This song marks a first here for the list – a song that attempts to define what love ‘is’. Never before, at least in this narrow channel, has love been talked about in any direct way – lovesickness, yes, joy and contentment, sure, but not love itself. (Well okay, but 'amore' is different and what is happening here isn't falling in love, so much as being in love, particularly of the doomed-but-dogged kind.) For those of you wondering when I am going to get to New Pop and then chastising yourself for being too early – well, you’re not. It is exactly this kind of song in particular that New Pop built itself on. (It could be called Original Pop.) Granted, the cliches of love are not a new thing in late ’55, but it is the putting them into a song part that counts. What is love? It is a many-splendored thing. It has many shiny parts (some most definitely yellow), it glows and twinkles and is a power unto itself. It is the same no matter if you are in the exotic world of Hong Kong or London or Pennsylvania, where the Four Aces were from. A high, windy, grassy hill; a clear proclamation to the world; a gentle melody full of soaring notes. The hills may be alive here, but it is the feeling of love, inside and out, that matters.

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