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Mon Jan 7, 2013, 03:14 AM

"Do You Hear What I Hear?" is an anti-war song written while America was on the brink of nuclear war



http://entertainment.time.com/2012/12/17/yule-laugh-yule-cry-10-things-you-didnt-know-about-beloved-holiday-songs/slide/do-you-hear-what-i-hear/

“Do You Hear What I Hear?”
By Wook KimDec. 17, 20120

“Do You Hear What I Hear?” is an anti-war song—written while America was on the brink of nuclear war.

The song was written by Noel Regney and Gloria Shayne—talk about Christmas-ready names!—during October of 1961. At that time, the U.S. was facing down the Soviet Union over some medium-range missiles on an island nation in the Caribbean. The Cuban Missile Crisis weighed heavily on the married songwriting team (who switched their traditional music-lyric roles for this song)—Shayne was especially moved by the sight of mothers pushing baby carriages on a city street.

A single—recorded by the same chorale group that had a radio hit with “The Little Drummer Boy” a few years earlier—was released a few weeks later. The song’s plea for peace and “goodness and light” struck a chord with an anxious public and sold more than 250,000 copies—and was soon part of the modern holiday canon.

I didn't know this. One of the comments at youtube:
Douglas Boulter 1 week ago

As Christmas song it's about Jesus, but that's not all. The daughter of the composers says: “I don’t know to this day how many people hear that line and think when they hear ‘a tail as big as a kite’ and think of bombs, but that’s certainly what was thinking about.”

"A star dancing in the night with a tail as big as a kite" -- rocket engines exuding fire and followed by 'a tail' of exhaust. In the story of Jesus, the star hung unmoving, it neither danced nor had a tail.

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Reply "Do You Hear What I Hear?" is an anti-war song written while America was on the brink of nuclear war (Original post)
bananas Jan 2013 OP
1monster Jan 2013 #1
catbyte Jan 2013 #2
stopbush Jan 2013 #3
1monster Jan 2013 #4
stopbush Jan 2013 #6
1monster Jan 2013 #7
AnotherMcIntosh Jan 2013 #9
stopbush Jan 2013 #10
Larrymoe Curlyshemp Jan 2013 #5
Art_from_Ark Jan 2013 #8

Response to bananas (Original post)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 05:30 AM

1. I checked the YouTube to make sure... The article has a small typo (or other error there)

According to YouTube, the song was written in 1962, not 1961. The Cuban Missile Crisis was also in Ocotober of 1962.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 08:33 AM

2. Wow, a real blast from the past. My mom bought that album and we listened to it every year until her

death in 2006. I still listen to the tape of the album. My turntable died in 2008.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 11:06 AM

3. Man, I hate both of those songs (Drummer Boy & Do You Hear)

They suck from a musical perspective.

Makes Les Mis sound good.

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Response to stopbush (Reply #3)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 08:02 PM

4. If Les Mis only sounds good musically in comparison with Drummer Boy and

Do You Hear What I Hear, one must wonder what makes your list of good musical perspective?

I haven't seen the movie yet, but I have seen the stage play and the music is wonderful. Are we speaking of the same Les Mis?

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Response to 1monster (Reply #4)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 11:18 PM

6. The review at the New Yorker summed up my thoughts about the music:

"The music is juvenile stuff—tonic-dominant, without harmonic richness or surprise. Listen to any score by Richard Rodgers or Leonard Bernstein or Fritz Loewe if you want to hear genuine melodic invention. I was so upset by the banality of the music that I felt like hiring a hall and staging a nationalist rally."

Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/culture/2013/01/theres-still-hope-for-people-who-love-les-miserables.html#ixzz2HM1LnDfw

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Response to stopbush (Reply #6)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 11:46 PM

7. Balderdash.

Methinks that the review was written by someone who feels himself relevant only when belittling that which he will NEVER in his wildest dreams attain... And I enjoy Rodgers, Bernstein, and Lowe, but I doubt that any of them would ever put down the music as without harmonic richness or surprise, or any other put down.

The end of Act I alone refutes the "without harmonic richness" and "melodic invention..." And I've seen people moved to tears by The Prayer (Bring Him Home).

No one said you had to love the musical (my husband did not enjoy the play). But that review and your agreement with it gives me the impression that neither of you really know anything about harmonic richness or melodic invention.

I could understand if you just said it didn't speak to you or that you just couldn't get into it or you just didn't like it -- not everyone enjoys the same things. But far too many people, some very musically knowledgeable and some not at all, have found the musical Lex Miserables to be brilliant for said reviewer's opinion to hold any significance...

ON EDIT: From the same review! On this quote alone, I rest my case. (He wanted DANCING and high fashion in a period TRAGEDY? ...)

Didn’t any of my neighbors notice how absurdly gloomy and dolorous the story was? How the dominant blue-gray coloring was like a pall hanging over the material? How the absence of dancing concentrated all the audience’s pleasure on the threadbare songs? How tiresome a reverse fashion show the movie provided in rags, carbuncles, gimpy legs, and bad teeth? How awkward the staging was? How strange to have actors singing right into the camera, a normally benign recording instrument, which seems, in scene after scene, bent on performing a tonsillectomy?

Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/culture/2013/01/theres-still-hope-for-people-who-love-les-miserables.html#ixzz2HMAH204u

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Response to 1monster (Reply #7)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 02:42 AM

9. Great first sentence. It has the ring of truth.

 

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Response to 1monster (Reply #7)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 02:23 PM

10. I happen to be a musician, so I think I understand hamonic richness.

My musical credentials are deep enough for me to have an educated opinion on music.

I find the music of Les Mis to be incredibly forgettable. In fact, I am struck by the fact that after working in the music biz for the past 40 years, having played in and conducted orchestras and choruses, having produced numerous CD recordings, being a voting member of NARAS etc, that the music of Les Mis fails to stay in my musical memory. Every time I hear music from this show is like hearing it the first time, because it just doesn't make any impression on me.

The truth is that it would make more of an impression were it really awful. But it isn't as much awful as it is banal and forgettable.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 10:53 PM

5. 1962

 

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 02:02 AM

8. I had that record as a kid

I remember singing the songs for my grandmother one Christmas.

When I was a tad older, I couldn't understand the part where the king proclaims "A child, a child, shivers in the cold. Let us bring him silver and gold", when the biblical account had the local king Herod ordering the execution of all male infants up to age 2.

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