Again I woke in the early hours of the morning – but only briefly – and heard John Denver singing “Sunshine on my Shoulders” and it evoked such good memories for me.
It was not just memories of John Denver who died in 1996 that spoke to me (although he died far too young at 54 and I did enjoy his ballads at the time). No, it was memories of the song SUNSHINE that spoke to me. Unlike the night before when I became engrossed in an interview, this time I was soon lulled back to sleep by John Denver. Thanks John! Your music is easy listening at its best.
You see, it transported me back to beautiful sunny autumn days such as we are experiencing here in the sub-tropics of Queensland Australia today. As I hung out the washing, I was humming “Sunshine” to myself as I looked at the blue sky and felt the warmth of the sunshine on my body. It was so nice.
Apparently, John Denver wrote the song with Dick Kniss and Mike Taylor in 1971. According to Wikipedia, Denver is quoted as saying:
“I wrote the song in Minnesota at the time I call ‘late winter, early spring’. It was a dreary day, gray and slushy. The snow was melting and it was too cold to go outside and have fun, but God, you’re ready for spring. You want to get outdoors again and you’re waiting for that sun to shine, and you remember how sometimes just the sun itself can make you feel good. And in that very melancholy frame of mind I wrote “Sunshine On My Shoulders.”
When I read this piece, the emotional pull of the song became clear to me! You only have to read some of the lyrics to understand why as they are quite poetic:
Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy
Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry
Sunshine on the water looks so lovely
Sunshine almost always makes me high
If I had a day that I could give you
I’d give to you a day just like today
If I had a song that I could sing for you
I’d sing a song to make you feel this way
If I had a tale that I could tell you
I’d tell a tale sure to make you smile
If I had a wish that I could wish for you
I’d make a wish for sunshine all the while
John Denver was so good at getting to the heart of things with his music, but hearing this song made me think of other things that cause me to SMILE . My mind went back to my husband Geoff – afficionado of all things comical – teaching a funny song to our granddaughter Violet (5) over Easter. It certainly had all of us smiling when Geoff sung it to her complete with actions.
Some of you older folk may recognise the tune as: “PEDRO THE FISHERMAN” which I discovered comes from an old 1946 movie called The Lisbon Story (it was also a Theatre Show) and was sung originally by Richard Tauber. Apparently it was a very popular song in its time. The tune really does make you SMILE.
However, I love the lively Julie Andrews version which she recorded in her younger days. It appears the song was written during the 1930s. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=va4NcA7KeMY&feature=related. Here are some of the words:
Pedro the fisherman was always whistling
Such a merry call
Girls who were passing by would hear him whistling
By the harbour wall
But his sweetheart, Nina, who
Loved him true, always new
That this call was meant for her alone
And in the evening when the lights were gleaming
And they had to part
As he sailed his boat away, echoing across the bay
Came the song that lingered in her heart
However, if you really want to giggle and laugh out loud, watch the cartoon version which I remembered from my childhood. I think we saw it at the movies! Watch it as it has a lot of good whistling in it also. ttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OyGHbADj-TA&feature=related
Actually, listening to the whistling version of Pedro the Fisherman made me ask myself: “do men whistle tunes anymore?” Now I know I am showing my age here, but as a child I can remember my father (and other men) often whistling. And it wasn’t just when he was at leisure or feeling happy.
No, he would whistle on the job as he painted or built houses, but most of all, he whistled when he washed-up every night after tea. I look back with amazement that, despite the fact that he had a physical job, he loved to wash-up at night. I think that washing up gave Dad time for dreaming. He would have this far away look in his eyes and he would be whistling to his heart’s content whilst us children dried the dishes.
These were times I remember with great fondness. So today, I wanted to encourage you all to remember to SMILE and to have fun and (if you can, I can’t) whistle a little. Perhaps you will learn to whistle Pedro the Fishermen? If not, sing it to your children (or grandchildren) or show them the cartoon version and let them have a laugh along with you. They will LOVE it!
Pretty soon, ALL THE FAMILY will be laughing! Geoff has a lot more songs he found, so I will try to share more as the weeks go on – just to brighten up your day now and again.
And there is so much on the internet about whistling that I am amazed. If you want to learn to whistle or find out the different types of whistling, you just have to visit this website: http://www.ehow.com/about_4604389_whistling.html
Until tomorrow …