Monday, June 24, 2013

Monday Music: What'll I Do?

I have a penchant for poignant songs and haunting melodies. They can take me to another place and allow me to dwell with my feelings and perhaps even take me to a new awareness of life. Irving Berlin's song, "What'll I do?" is a masterpiece. It has been recorded by a long list of performers through the years. It was featured on the soundtrack of Francis Ford Coppola's 1974 film The Great Gatsby and has been used countless times on television as well as the big screen to convey in a few words what some find it difficult to communicate in a thousand lines. The melody itself even without the words has a powerful effect.

I looked at many renditions on You Tube. The song has been covered by Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Judy Garland, Rosemary Clooney, and a host of others. The version That I liked the most was recorded by Linda Ronstadt in her 1983 album, What's New which features standards from the great American songbook. Ronstadt collaborated with the famous bandleader and arranger, Nelson Riddle, giving it that authenticity of the era in which the song first became famous.

You may be interested to hear other fine renditions of this song. Art Garfunkle did a version which is a faithful rendition using more modern orchestration and well worth hearing. Bea Arthur, in an excellent performance, sang the song in an episode of the TV show, The Golden Girls.

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