[Yes, this gets political … eventually …]
Some people should never die. Among the creative popular composers, Marvin Hamlisch is one such person. Or was. He passed away at age 68 in Los Angeles.
Marvin Hamlisch wrote this. Oh, the jazz, Americana through and through … the saxophone … the strings … the lilting, fluttering piano … the harmonica … the oboes:
… and the captions that describe Hamlisch’s remarkable creative achievements … a YouTube user named texpaco lovingly prepared that video. Texpaco has a marvelous collection of music. I see that he loves Susannah McCorkle too. Who wouldn’t.
Marvin Hamlisch gave us another song. The unforgettable Dick Cavett introduces the artist:
Call me corny, but that song — particularly as it is sung by Streisand — always makes me cry. It was my great privilege, thanks entirely to my parents’ good friends, to see Barbara Streisand perform in “Funny Girl” on Broadway. First, more about Marvin Hamlisch, written by texpaco:
Marvin Hamlisch is an American composer, arranger and conductor primarily known for his movie scores. He has received ten Golden Globe Award nominations and six Emmy Award nominations.
He is one of only two people to have been awarded Emmys, Grammys, Oscars, and a Tony, and also won two Golden Globes. His adaptation of Scott Joplin’s music for the film “The Sting” (his 3rd Oscar) revived many of Joplins classics. He won 2 Golden Globes for Best Original Song, “Life’s What You Make I”t in 1972 and “The Way We Were” in 1974.
His “The Way We Were” won two of his three 1974 Academy Awards and also four Grammy Awards.
He composed the score for the 75 Broadway musical “A Chorus Line” and won both a Tony Award and a Pulitzer Prize. He co-wrote “Nobody Does It Better” for the 1977 James Bond film “The Spy Who Loved Me”. He won four Emmy Award nominations, twice for music direction of Barbra Streisand specials, in 1995 and 2001. This selection is from the soundtrack of “The Mirror Has Two Faces” starring Barbra Streisand and Jeff Bridges.
Back to “Funny Girl”: I was one of those over-achievers who’d won a trip to the United Nations. My parents’ friends (Johnny and Eileen) happened to be in New York City when I was there, and they gave me an impossible choice: Did I want to see Richard Burton in “Hamlet” or Barbra Streisand in “Funny Girl”?
To this day, I worry that I made the wrong choice. Actually, I know I did. But I was young and had only seen Streisand once on television (we had but one TV station in those days), and my mother had let me use my money saved from picking asparagus to buy a Streisand album. (Yes, my mother didn’t allow me to spend my own money without her approval — not a bad thing, now that I think about it.)
But Richard Burton? How could I have been so wrong. That’s not a question. Oh well … I must tell you in truth that Streisand’s performance that night was not her best. I am cursed with perfect pitch and she was off-key sometimes that particular night, and her voice was cracking from the very real strain of too many performances. Neither was her fault. She is a thoroughbred, and like all thoroughbreds, she shouldn’t be made to run a race every day. (Her politics? That is completely beside the point.)
The evening was not over. Johnny and Eileen were determined to make my trip to New York City unforgettable. After the show, they took me to Sardi’s for dinner. Yes, I remember the sketches on the walls. But I don’t remember what I ate.
Eileen and my mother met when they shared a room in the community hospital after giving birth to me and Ellen, who is truly my oldest friend.
In rural communities in those days, men and women cherished each opportunity to meet a kindred spirit. Johnny and Eileen became my parents’ dear friends forever more.
About Johnny: He was a genius at business. Don’t tell Barack Obama, but Johnny built a greenhouse business from scratch, toiling incalculably long hours and hiring more and more employees, until he’d made a modest fortune and traveled the United States to market his agricultural seedlings, decorative landscaping plants, and carefully grafted fruit trees.
Just as my father, with my mother’s help, built a lumberyard business from scratch, working far too many hours and rarely giving himself any time off. But he always made time for me. Always. Although his pride in my modest accomplishments — like playing Debussy at the piano — was truly embarrassing. Every poor soul who came to visit my parents had to listen to me play Debussy. Then, one day, the lumberyard was gone. My mother and I found out why from our dear family physician. It’s my secret. People get to have a few. Secrets, that is. But that didn’t stop my father. He built another business from scratch, this time selling real estate, building entire subdivisions of homes, and selling all kinds of insurance. He was a natural at whatever he set his mind to. He too was one of a kind.
And I know, that had he lived this long, he would be profoundly disturbed by the state of our nation, its economy, and its workers. My mother too. But it’s no consolation that she was spared the presidency of Barack Obama. I’d give ANYTHING to hear her RANT about Obama, Harry Reid, and the U.S. Congress. My mother would be beside herself.
However, she would be ecstatic about the Republican running for governor this year. Which is a good thing, since she had become disgusted with the Republican Party that she once loved and had supported for decades. She was embarrassed by George W. Bush. Here was her problem: She’d been spoiled by the magnificent Republican public servants we were so used to, at one time, in this state.
I’ve veered far afield. So it goes when one listens to Hamlisch music and the memories come flooding in.
Memories? Do you have a few?