If you enjoy Steyn's Song of the Week at SteynOnline, please note that there will be a live stage edition during the 2023 Mark Steyn Cruise - along with many other favourite features from SteynOnline and The Mark Steyn Show. More details here.
~A fortnight ago, on Oscar night in Hollywood, Mark announced that, because he's so disgusted by the motion picture industry, he would be eschewing his tradition of celebrating an Academy Award-winning song (or an Academy Award-losing song). However, many longtime Song of the Weekers wrote to say they missed the annual reminder of the Silver Screen's better days and could Steyn reconsider. So herewith a composer who wrote three Oscar-winners and many more nominees - yet always wanted to be back in New York working on a Broadway show: Mark celebrates Harry Warren, with some help from (among others) Bing and Beyoncé, in a special Serenade Radio edition of Steyn's Song of the Week.
Click above to listen.
~This airing of our Serenade Radio Song of the Week is a special presentation of The Mark Steyn Club. Thank you for your kind responses to this series. Our last selection, "Begin the Beguine", prompted this response from Steyn Club First Week Founding Member Wanda Sherratt:
So many great musical reminiscences! I remember struggling through 'Begin the Beguine' in band class in high school, along with 'String of Pearls'... I really never cared for jazz until I heard some of Mark's featured pieces, now in my old age I'm catching up on it.
Ken, a First Weekend Founding Member from Washington State, adds:
Since arriving at SteynOnline as a barbarian in a musical wilderness, I'm still learning. Today I learned what the heck a 'Beguine' is. I'd long ago settled on the theory that it was probably a scenic river in Belgium or France.
Indeed, Ken. How would you like to be seen/Boating out on the Beguine?
Josh Passell, a Massachusetts Steyn Clubber, fills in one of the show's minor digressions:
Oh, the places you'll go... in a Mark Steyn Song of the Week! "Begin the Beguine" is just the beginning.
Mark mentions in passing that the 1940 recording of the song by Leslie "Hutch" Hutchinson became an obsessive favorite of the Indian holy man, Meher Baba, if I may fairly term his instruction to play that particular performance seven times at his funeral "obsessive" (I'm a big fan of obsessiveness). I had never heard of either the singer or the holy man, but I'm something of a quick study of trivial (anything but!) matters that pique my own obsessions. Hutch was a black American emigré in London who became the toast (and jam, if you receive my meaning) of the socialite set in from the 1920s to 40s. His performance of Beguine is certainly ardent. The character of Jack Ross on Downton Abbey is said to be based on him.
Baba, meanwhile, was a man of few words of his own (he took a vow of silence that lasted for decades), but was quite taken with the plaintive lyrics Porter provided to his own mesmeric melody. Globalist heads must be spinning at the thought of cultural appropriation reaching across oceans and continents to bring a hip-rolling rumba to the attention of a Sufi mystic, a spiritual master, and an Avatar of God.
I always say I came for the politics, but I stay for the show tunes. One thing for sure, I'm staying.
Thank you all. We do enjoy your comments on the show. Steyn Club members are welcome to respond to this week's show below. Alternatively, anybody can leave comments over at Serenade Radio, where they love hearing from listeners.
Steyn's Song of the Week airs thrice weekly on Serenade Radio in the UK, one or other of which broadcasts is certain to be convenient for whichever part of the world you're in:
5.30pm Sunday London (12.30pm New York)
5.30am Monday London (4.30pm Sydney)
9pm Thursday London (1pm Vancouver)
Whichever you prefer, you can listen from anywhere on the planet right here.