This is a continuation of the August, 2002 Feature, if you missed
page one, check the link at the end of this page or use
Back Those Wonderful Days
Music by: Nat Vincent
Lyrics by: Darl MacBoyle
Cover artist: De Takacs
This is the song that started it all. No, not American popular music,
but Parlor Songs. Those who have been with us for many years will
recall that the original site was inspired by The Forward Collection,
Rick's early hobby site, based on a collection of music given to him
by his parents. Back in 1996 the very first piece of music that Rick
scanned was this tune. Since then, we've grown to over 1,400 songs
that have been scanned, athough there are many that have yet to be
featured in an article.
As we get older we long for the things that gave us comfort when
we where young. In 1919, after 4 long years of horror, World War I
was finally over. Prohibition was coming, the Roaring Twenties are
about to start and, although no one knew it, the Great Depression
is just around the corner.
Longing for days gone by is a theme that permeates the history of
song to this day. Who doesn't feel the pain and angst of the words
of Those Were the Days by Mary Hopkin?
Music by: Jimmie V. Monaco
Lyrics by: Joe McCarthy
Cover artist: Rose symbol
Another life foolishly wasted, bad choices, regrets, but it doesn't ring true. Sure the big city ain't what he thought it would be, but he doesn't miss his sweetheart, the one he left behind all those years ago waving goodbye at the station expecting him back. And he obviously doesn't have anyone he cares for now if he is thinking about leaving. Just another self-centered dolt looking for unconditional affirmation and pity. Plus there is no real tragedy, sure he is restless and wants to go home, but was his life ruined because of his choice, no just mildly disappointing in retrospect.
I left my sweet-heart in old New Hamp-shire,
wav-ing to my train,
I sort of reck-oned that old New Hamp-shire
Would nev-er see me a-gain;
I got "kind-er" tir-ed of my home town,
Had a lot of sil-ly dreams,
Might-y dis-ap-point-ed look-ing 'round
This life ain't what it seems.
My heart is sigh-ing now
for the good old days back home,
I'm cry-ing now,
I was a fool-ish kid to roam,
Perhaps this is what makes the difference between a really great song
and everything else. Keep reading and listening, one really great song
is coming up next.
Featured in our October 2002 issue, not only was "After The Ball" the first piece of music to sell a Million Copies, but it started the "Popular Song" industry.
Aging, regrets, bad choices made, this is it. This song has it all. As a young
man the subject of the song catches his true love kissing another man
at the big ball. He pitches a fit, won't listen to explanations, forsakes
her, and spends his life growing old, alone and bitter, only to learn
after her death that it was an innocent kiss from her brother. Two lives
This one makes me cry. I have included a rare Scandinavian version of the
Music by: Albert Gumble
Lyrics by: Bartley Costello
Cover artist: unknown
Our copy of this piece is a Sunday newspaper
supplement from the September 22, 1912 issue of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
In 1910 when this poignant little piece came out you could also hear for
the first time, "Down By the Old Mill Stream", "Let Me Call You Sweetheart",
and one of my favorites "Any Little Girl, That's a Nice Little Girl, Is
the Right Little Girl For Me". Radio was experimental, 150 miles was a
long way to fly an airplane and I don't think we were actively at war
with anyone, but I could be wrong.
The story of an elderly couple entering the autumn years of life, longing to revisit the simpler times of their lives together before they die, perhaps one of them is dying. One of the things that strikes me about this song, aside from the fact that it makes me cry, is how effective it is in it's simplicity.
The Parlor Songs Academy is an educational website, designated by the "ac" (academic) domain
If you would like to submit an article about America's music for us to publish, go to our submissions page for information about writing articles for us. We also welcome suggestions for subjects for future articles.
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