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June, 2000 Edition
In Search of American Popular Song;

The Music Of Carrie Jacobs-Bond

We have commented in earlier editions (Women In Song, November, 1999) about the few opportunities for women that were available during the late 19th and early 20th century. We all know (or certainly should know) that women were barred from certain professions and expected to function within very limited roles.

The popular music industry was no exception to those societal expectations. Fortunately, a few talented and dedicated women composers did manage to break the rules and become successful in the popular music industry. Among them was the first real superstar woman composer, Carrie Jacobs-Bond. Born in Janesville, Wisconsin in 1862, Mrs. Jacobs-Bond overcame many personal tragedies and obstacles, including physical invalidism and poverty to rise above all and become one of the most popular composers of the period. In order to accomplish this she had to show great faith and determination, even becoming her own publisher, working out of a hallway in her rented rooms.

Her music is magnificent, she painted many of her own covers and her artistry is also outstanding. What an inspiration she is for all of us in her personal triumph over adversity. Her story is so compelling, this month's essay is her life's story. We hope you will enjoy her great music as well as read our special biography of Carrie Jacobs-Bond.





Sheet Music Cover
A Perfect Day

1910

Music & Lyrics by: Carrie Jacobs-Bond
Cover artist: Carrie Jacobs-Bond

This song was Carrie Jacobs-Bond's biggest hit, selling over five million copies and catapulting CJB into superstar status as a songwriter. As the first woman composer to make over one million dollars from her music, this song alone nearly generated that much revenue for her through multiple issues and recording contracts.

The song was so popular, it was heard constantly, even to the point of making the composer herself sick of hearing it and hearing about it. She said in her autobiography; "During this time I had become very tired of The End of a Perfect Day - of too many cartoons and pictures." The song was used at funerals, weddings, and just about any other celebration. During the first world war, the song became a sort of an anthem that was sung by soldiers to celebrate victories and most especially to celebrate the end of the war. Carrie recounts an incident at a dinner in Los Angeles attended by an Austrian composer. When the song was played the Austrian stood at attention. Someone asked him why he was standing and he replied "Am I the only one who stands when your national anthem is played?"

This version, was published with a separate sheet for "Cello obbligato" which creates a nice harmony. I have included the cello line in the midi for you so you can hear the song as written. The story of the poem this song is based on is interesting and you can read about it in this month's essay on Mrs. Bond's biography, be sure to read it. The following is the poem she wrote and then set to music. Perhaps with the verse and music you can see why this song was her number one hit.

When you come to the end of a perfect day
And you sit alone with your thought
While the chimes ring out with a carol gay
For the joy that the day has brought
Do you think what the end of a perfect day
Can mean to a tired heart
When the sun goes down with a flaming ray
And the dear friends have to part?

Listen to this Jacobs-Bond mega-hit

Sheet Music Cover God Remembers When The World Forgets
1913
Music by: Carrie Jacobs-Bond
Lyrics by: Clifton Bingham
Cover artist: Carrie Jacobs-Bond

Carrie Jacobs-Bond not only created a string of musical hits but she also was responsible for much of the cover art on her published songs. Her favorite theme was roses and here we have a fine example of her art. Though there are a few works with different art, most of her works were published with the rose theme. Generally, the colors were the same for most and the type faces used were distinctively the same also. As a result, one can spot a CJB publication instantly.

Her music is every bit as beautiful as her art, perhaps more so. This song is typical of her music. Harmonically gorgeous and full, she always seems to blend her music perfectly with the thoughts expressed by the poetry. Though she did most often write her own lyrics, in this song, as with some others, she used a poem as the basis for the song. Much of her music has deep meaning and I believe that is a consequence of the tragedies she faced in her own life. Be sure to read about it in our essay this month.

How many gardens in this world of ours
Hold blossoms that have never come to flowers?
A sudden wind comes coldly by -
The rose tree bids its fairest bud good-bye.

How many ships of ours go out to sea
In search of havens that shall tranquil be?
The storms of fate their fairest hopes o'er set,
And there is naught to do except forget.

How many wear a smile upon their face
Although their hearts may hold an empty place?
None know the heights nor depths of their regrets,
But God remembers when the world forgets.

Hear this touching CJB song.

Sheet Music Cover
Through The Years
1918
Music & Lyrics by:
Carrie Jacobs-Bond

Cover artist: Fred Hyer

Here we have an example of a different cover artist painting a cover but still maintaining the "Bond look". By now, Carrie's business is thriving and she probably has less time to paint and is allowing others to create the art for her works. In fact, as we move into later editions of her work, we find not only other artists, but begin to see other visual themes emerge.

CJB's music was what I would call "heart and home" music. Her music often speaks of love, home and reminiscences. It is often very nostalgic in tone and introspective in nature. It always has touched me as well as others who are familiar with her music. Interestingly, some music critics were quite harsh in their judgment of her music. One hurt Carrie deeply early in her career by describing her as "a plain angular woman who wrote plain angular songs and set them to plain angular tunes.". Carrie recounted that incident in her autobiography and stated that later the critic said she deeply regretted her words and wished to meet Carrie and apologize. In Carrie's words; "that meeting never came. I had been too deeply hurt." Clearly, time has proven that critic wrong, but you judge for yourself.

The birds don't sing as sweetly as they did when I was young
I see the sunbeams thro' a mist, the fleeting hours beyond
And as I hear the echo of a voice I know of old,
Again I hear the harpsichord, again this story's told.

Time makes all but love the past, Love is ever new
Should darkness gather fast, I would still see you.
I would hear your voice so sweet, singing through the years
I would see the face I loved thro' a mist of tears.

Listen to this great old song

Sheet Music CoverA Little Pink Rose
1912
Music & Lyrics by:
Carrie Jacobs-Bond
Cover artist: Carrie Jacobs-Bond

The cover painting for this works is one the only one of CJB's that I have seen where she actually signed the work, most are unsigned. Here is an inset of her signature, actually just initials, found just to the left of the stem below the last roseleaf.

This song is a rather unique one among the CJB songs I have heard. Stylistically is is very different, almost Scottish or Irish in its sound. With a syncopated beat and lots of grace notes, it almost has a bagpipe sort of effect. Nonetheless, it is a delightful little tune and as with all CJB songs, has a wonderful sweet sentiment. The song is dedicated to "To the memory of little Bernice". When you see the lyrics below, you can see that this song was clearly written in memory of a child who passed away.

A little pink rose in my garden grew, the tiniest one of all,
'Twas kissed by the sun, caressed by the dew,
Oh, little pink rose in my garden, Oh, little pink rose it was you!

Oh, little pink rose of your mother's heart!
Have you faded and gone away?
Has the garden gathered my little pink rose,
For his loveliest garden today?
Did he need one more blossom of your size and hue,
Was that the reason the gardener chose you?

Oh, little pink rose of your mother's heart!
Have you faded and gone away?

Hear this song now.

Sheet Music Cover
A Hundred Years From Now
1914
Music by: Carrie Jacobs-Bond
Lyrics by: John Bennett
Cover artist: C.A. Herbert

Here we have another cover artist emulating the Bond style, and doing a good job of it too. This is a classic Bond cover. Here Bond has used another poem that obviously struck a chord with her and set it to music. This song is a very pleasant one with, as usual, a nice sentiment that undoubtedly made it a popular one.

Bond music from her shops was all printed on a heavy, low acid vellum paper that has made them last like the pyramids (assuming reasonable care in storage). She obviously had high standards and wanted her customers to have something that would last. Most of the copies that have survived are in excellent shape and will no doubt last another 100 years with ease. Other music, published later using poor quality paper has fared less well. I guess in light of that, the title of this song is rather prophetic. The lyrics give us all food for thought.

A hundred years from now, dear, We shall not care at all'
It will not matter then, a whit, The honey or the gall.
The summer days, that we have known,
Will all forgotten be, and flown,
Where now the roses fall, Where now the roses fall.

A hundred years from no, dear, we shall not mind the pain;
The throbbing crimson tide of life, Will not have left a stain.
The song we sang together dear,
Will mean no more, than means a tear amid a summer rain.


A hundred years from now, dear, We'll neither know nor care,
What 'came of all life's bitterness, or followed love's despair.
Then fill the glasses up again, and kiss me thro' the roseleaf rain
We'll build one castle more, in Spain, and dream, one more dream, there.

  Enjoy this old time hit

Sheet Music Cover Just Awearyin' For You
1901
Music & Lyrics by: Carrie Jacobs-Bond
Cover artist: Carrie Jacobs-Bond

This is one of Bond's earliest compositions and one from the very first publication she produced, "Seven Songs". The original seven songs were published together and sold for $1.00. Five of the seven songs have sunk into obscurity (to learn more about the seven songs, please be sure to read our biographical essay about Carrie Jacobs-Bond). Two of the songs, "I Love You Truly" and this one, became so popular that Bond issued them as separate sheets. The artwork on this song is the same as that on I Love You Truly and the original seven songs publication and set the rose theme she would follow for years.

Musically, I can see why this song became so popular and as one of the first of her songs, we can see that her "heart and home" theme was there from the start.

Just awearyin' for you, All the time a feelin' blue,
Wishin' for you, wondrin' when you'll be comin' home again.
Restless, don't know what to do, Just a wearyin' for you.

Mornin' comes, the birds awake,
Used to sing so for your sake.
But there's sadness in the notes,
That come trillin' from their throats.
Seem to feel your absence, too,
Just a wearyin' for you.

Hear this great original Bond publication.

Sheet Music Cover The Sandman
1912
Music by: Carrie Jacobs-Bond
Lyrics by: Mary White-Slatter
Cover artist: unsigned/unknown

Our last feature this month is one of the few Bond covers that does not feature roses as the dominant theme. A delightful children's song about the sandman, the cover image is much more appropriate and is a pure delight. It has an almost Rockwell look and I do wish I could identify the artist.

This song carries a dedication : "Dedicated to Mary White Longman" and also has a footnote of interest: "Words by permission of Cosmopolitan Magazine, Copyright 1910 by International Magazine Company." Wow, I had no idea "Cosmo" was that old. I'll bet the style and theme today is nothing like they had in mind back in 1910.

Carrie got her start by writing children's songs as a result of encouragement from a staff writer at the Chicago Herald back in about 1893. Her first song published outside of her own publication was a children's song "Dolly's Dead". I have not been able to find any evidence of that song and this is the only other children's song I have seen by Bond. As such, it seems a rarity. Musically, it is cute and I found it to be quite delightful, I hope you do too.

When the lights are lit, and the table's set,
And the maid brings in the buns,
Tommy Tinker's eyes get as big and wise,
For that's when the sandman comes.

From his great high chair he tries to stare,
and pretend he's wide awake;
But his hand falls down and he drops his spoon,
And the sandman gets his cake.

And the butter'd bun with the jelly on,
Rosey red as jells should be;
And the last sweet sup from the silver cup,
Of the drowsy cambric tea.

Ah! my beauteous boy, I am sad with you,
I am glad with a pain that fears.
In your mother's breast I would keep your nest,
For the sandman of the years.

Hear this great Bond children's song


There are more songs to be heard! If you have not already visited our essay on Carrie jacobs-Bond's life story, now is a great time to do so. In it you will learn much more about her life and personal triumph over tragedy. You can also hear the classic "I Love You Truly", "In The Meadow" and one of her earliest songs written in 1887, "When Church Is Out" as well as a classical work that Carrie played at age nine.

We hope you have enjoyed this month's feature and we appreciate your interest in our efforts to bring you the best American popular music history site on the web. Be sure to tell your friends and family about us. If you have suggestions for themes or issues you would like to see in the future, please contact us.



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