Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Why stop to think of weather?

Playing music with Elaine at a nursing home last week ("some of the old songs"), I realized that I had been misunderstanding a lyric since childhood. The song in question: "I'm in the Mood for Love" (1935), words and music by Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields. This song was part of my 1960s childhood via Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer's performance in the 1936 Our Gang short The Pinch Singer, which I must've seen dozens of times on New York City's Channel 11 (WPIX). I always thought that Alfalfa had storms on his mind in the song's bridge (the "middle eight"). The lyric begins,

I'm in the mood for love,
simply because you're near me.
Funny, but when you're near me,
I'm in the mood for love.

Heaven is in your eyes,
bright as the stars we're under.
Oh! Is it any wonder?
I'm in the mood for love.
And here comes the bridge, and my misunderstanding. I had thought — from childhood's hour — that Alfalfa sang,
Why stop to think of weather?
This little dream might fade.
Who cares about the weather? Quickly, while the dream's on!

Looking at the music last week, I saw that the bridge is asking a question:

Why stop to think of whether
this little dream might fade?
We'll put our hearts together.
Now we are one: I'm not afraid!
My misunderstanding makes sense, sort of, given the rest of the lyric:
If there's a cloud above,
if it should rain we'll let it. [See? Weather!]
But for tonight, forget it!
I'm in the mood for love.
Well, I'm glad I got that straightened out.

comments: 3

Eustace Bright said...

haha. Too precious. :)

stefan said...

Don't feel too bad, Michael. I remember hearing a disc jockey admit that for years he mistook the refrain in "Paperback Writer" where Paul McCartney lingers on "pap-er-back--write--er" as "take a bath, dry yourself." (It seems somehow appropriate that my word verification for this post is "fanit.")

Michael Leddy said...

Ah, mondegreens.