‘Ole Blue Eyes’ Never Dies; A Song Review

Ole Blue Eyes Never Dies; A Song Review

Hallie Harrison, Briar Woods Newspaper Teacher

For older generations, Frank Sinatra is still a household name; however, most high school students are not likely to be hip to his music. That’s too bad because he is timeless. Sinatra – or ole’ blue eyes – was the ‘chairman’ of big band music in the 1940s and 50s.

One song in particular, “Young at Heart,” was written and published in 1953. Carolyn Leigh, a lyricist for Broadway, film, and songs, wrote the lyrics, and Johnny Richards, an American arranger and composer, added the instrumental, which was originally titled “Moonbeam.” Sinatra recorded it first, and it soared to the #2 spot on Billboard charts in 1953 and 1954. The song was so popular that in 1954, a Doris Day – Frank Sinatra movie was renamed “Young at Heart,” and the song was played at the opening and closing credits.

“Young at Heart” is not only a catchy tune, it also relays invaluable advice: “Fairy tales can come true; it can happen to you if you’re young at heart. For it’s hard, you will find to be narrow of mind if you’re young at heart.” The song goes on to imply that people who keep their chins up, enduring life’s slings and arrows as well as savoring mountaintop days with postcard perfect views, well, they are ageless, or in other words, among the “very young at heart.”

Recently I wrote a piece about octogenarians, or more simply said, people in their 80s. Often the 80s are thought of as a time of winding down, closing shop, and dimming the lights on hopes and dreams. Inspired by Sinatra’s song, I decided to write a tale from the perspective of renewal and rebirth. I wanted my protagonists to look forward to days and weeks and months filled with promise. The short story, “Much Better by Far,” which is a line from the song, starts with a Robert Frost quote: “The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.” The metaphor illuminates the wisdom that can only come with time.

So, here’s to Frank Sinatra and our octogenarians, those who, like fine wine, are meant to be appreciated and valued. And remember, “if you should survive to 105, look at all you derive out of being alive. And here is the best part… you’ve got a head start… if you are among the very young at heart.”