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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Day 11 - "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" by Judy Garland - 25 Days of Christmas Angst

This was not a Christmas event,
but it was a golden day for me.
"Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" from Meet Me in St. Louis is the saddest of the sad Christmas songs. I don't make this proclamation lightly; there are many sad songs yet to come on this list.  I have a personal connection with this song that gives it additional sadness in my mind.  The lyrics and Judy Garland's performance, however, should likely put it in at least the top 5 sad Christmas songs for everyone.

Colleen loved this song and the movie it first appeared in.  You can see Garland's performance of it from the movie here:  http://youtu.be/5g4lY8Y3eoo.  She and I shared a special affection for sad songs.  This sad song got huge bonus points because it came out of a good musical, was about Christmas, and has Judy Garland singing it.

Preview the remaining days of angst or review the previous days here:   
http://www.carneylentz.com/p/25-days-of-christmas-angst.html

Longing, one of the common themes in these Christmas angst posts, is a central theme of this song.  It also hits on several flavors of longing:  desire for troubles to be passed, a hope for happiness, and the need to reconnect with loved ones.

If this song contained only those elements, it would be sad enough.  But then there is the last few lines:  "Someday soon, we all will be together / If the Fates allow / Until then, we'll have to muddle through somehow."  It is this last line in particular that makes this song; it does so because it point out the fact that we must keep going even in the face of life's sadness.

"We'll have to muddle through" became a sentiment that Colleen and I shared as a way to acknowledge how challenging life could be.  When times got tough one of us was very likely to repeat this line, even to co-workers and acquaintances who had no idea what we were talking about.

I am not a musical purist.  I often like covers and reworkings of songs more than the original (Johnny Cash's version of "Hurt" for example).  Garland's version of this song, however, really stands as the definitive performance.  Perhaps this has to do with some sort of association with the movie and how this song fits into the emotional reality of that story.  It might simply have to do with the fact that Garland's somber treatment fits the text best.

There are many versions of this song set slightly faster and with vocals done in a lighter, more energetic manner.  In those versions the combination of lyrics and delivery never seem right.

Though stylistically very different, this song makes me think of "Yesterday" by The Beatles because of the themes it deals with.  After Colleen's death, I often had lines from both "Yesterday" and "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" go through my mind.  To get past my thoughts of yesterday, I often just thought to myself, "I'll muddle through."

Though I have found some good friends who are near to me it doesn't change the fact that I long for the "golden days of yore," a yesterday where every Christmas was merry.

"Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas"
from Meet Me in St. Louis
performed by Judy Garland

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let your heart be light,
Next year all our troubles will be
out of sight,
So have yourself, a merry little Christmas time.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the yule-tide gay
Next year all our troubles will be
miles away,

Once again as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who were near to us
Will be dear to us once more

Someday soon, we all will be together
If the Fates allow
Until then, we'll have to muddle through somehow
So have yourself a merry little Christmas now.

Resources:
Lyrics
http://www.sing365.com/music/lyric.nsf/Have-Yourself-A-Merry-Little-Christmas-lyrics-Judy-Garland/039ECF5B53A9199C48256C06000983FA

"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Have_Yourself_a_Merry_Little_Christmas
 

25 Days Of Christmas Angst
Day Song Download/Purchase Info
11 "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" by Judy Garland (from Meet Me In St. Louis) Buy the full album:

Buy the song:
Read my blog post for more about this song.
The saddest Christmas song of all time?

Click this link to preview the remaining days of angst or review the previous days:  http://www.carneylentz.com/p/25-days-of-christmas- angst.html
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