…it sure is Swell

…it sure is Swell

What a joy to hear this Rogers and Hart classic – originally from 1927. And a joy to hear (nearly all of the) entire first verse so wonderfully sung by Douglas Sills – Larry Hart’s lyric complexities were, and are, unsurpassed:

 

 

It remains an enigmatic tragedy that a man who could write:

You are so graceful-
Have you wings?
You have a face full
Of nice things.
You have no speaking voice, dear-
With ev’ry word it sings

…should die alone and so very tragically at only 48 years of age. Despite being recognized in his own time as one of popular musicals finest lyricists, biographers write of a man never comfortable nor satisfied with any aspect of his life. Short in stature, deemed unattractive with a disproportionately large head, lonely, unsuccessful in relationships, at odds with his homosexuality; he was plagued with regular bouts of deepest depression. He spent most of his life living with his mother and became a regular, and very public, alcoholic, fueled further by frequent binges. Devastated after his mother’s death in April 1943, his bouts of drinking overwhelmed him. and he died the following November of pneumonia induced by apparent exposure after a drinking spree lasting several days.

I have only ever seen one piece of autobiographical writing from Hart himself…a sad and angry piece of prose – it is all the sadder that a man that produce so many lyrics of such quality could find so little worthwhile to write of himself

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