I haven’t yet listened to last weekend’s installment of Guy Garvey’s Finest Hour, “Nick Drake — Featured Artist,” but looked over the tracklist today, and it is inviting and engaging as usual. I look forward to spending some time with it soon, thanks to the BBC Sounds app.
One of the songs on Garvey’s list is a version of Al Bowlly (1898-1941) singing “Two Sleepy People,” which sounded vaguely familiar. Once I looked Bowlly up, I recognized he also sang the song “Midnight, the Stars and You.” It plays in the closing scene of Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 epic psychological horror film, The Shining, while the camera pans to historical photos on a wall in The Overlook Hotel, in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.
Bowlly, born in Portuguese Mozambique, was killed in April 1941, returning to his London home after giving a show in Buckinghamshire. A German Luftwaffe parachute mine exploded, and the force of the explosion caused a door to blow off its hinges and strike a fatal blow to his head, leaving him otherwise not disfigured by the blast.
Looking a little further into Bowlly, I noticed another of his popular songs was “The Very Thought of You.”
On the eve of my sweety’s birthday and, thinking of the blessings in our life and the struggles of the world, I’m mindful of the gift, fragility and beauty of this life.
“The mere idea of you
The longing here for you
You never know how slow the moments go
Till I’m near to you
I see your face in every flower
Your eyes in stars above
It’s just the thought of you
The very thought of you
(from “The Very Thought of You, by Ray Noble)
The greatest gift is that I get to share this life with her. We have had a tradition in our family of wishing each other a happy “pre-birthday.” So, Happy Pre-Birthday, my love!
Now you know a little about why this is my song of the day for today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.
Here’s the audio for the song from the Al Bowlly YouTube topic channel:
Here’s an unofficial link to the lyrics.