Almanac Music: ‘The Song is Ended (But the Melody Lingers on)’: Blake Hazard Sings an Irving Berlin Classic

 

The Smart Set magazine introduced a number of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic short stories to the reading public. This July 1920 issue featured the beautifully poetic prose of ‘May Day’.

 

‘The Song Is Ended (But The Melody Lingers On)’ – Blake Hazard Sings An Irving Berlin Classic

 

Sometimes the combination of a quality performer and a great song leads to more than simply an enjoyable, satisfying experience for an audience member – the resulting experience is instead on the level of the magical.

 

For me, a case in point is the performance of Irving Berlin’s nineteen-twenties classic, ‘The Song Is Ended (But The Melody Lingers On)’, by American singer-songwriter Blake Hazard at the Fitzgerald Theatre in St Paul, Minnesota, in September 2010.

 

A variety of elements contribute to the overall effect in this instance, I feel. Some are simple and straightforward; for example, Hazard has a warm, canorous voice, and imparts a suitably dreamy, elegiac tinge to the melody of this Jazz Age classic by Berlin.

 

Another, for me, is that the song recalls the romance and poetry of the greatest novel of the Jazz Age, and one of the best of the twentieth century, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Even the title of Berlin’s song, written two years after ‘Gatsby’ was released, brings to mind some of the novel’s iconic lines, lines near the end of the book that relate strongly to the nature of endings themselves: ‘One night I did hear a … car there and saw its lights stop at his front steps [my note – the steps of the late Jay Gatsby’s palatial home]. But I didn’t investigate. Probably it was some final guest who had been away at the ends of the earth and didn’t know that the party was over.’ The last sentence of the quote is richly metaphorical – so many interpretations can be made concerning it: the fabulous parties at Gatsby’s place were over; Gatsby’s life – itself a kind of party – was over; a certain kind of romantic American dream was over; the height of the Jazz Age was over (one can write this last one retrospectively, I believe). So much more could be said about this fabulous line.

 

My knowledge that Hazard’s performance of ‘The Song Is Ended (But The Melody Lingers On)’ took place in Fitzgerald’s home town, in the theatre named after him, adds to mix that makes the experience of watching and listening to it so resonant. Hazard even looks like the kind of vibrant, attractive young woman I think of when I imagine many of the female characters in Fitzgerald’s novels and short stories; again, this contributes meaningfully to the total effect.

 

Oh, and perhaps more than anything else, one piece of knowledge about the event I’m discussing goes to the heart of – for me – the magical experience of watching and listening to the particular performer and song concerned: Blake Hazard is the great-granddaughter of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. There’s certainly something in the genes at work here – the passing down of talent, yes, but Hazard’s resemblance to her literary great-grandfather, who was a good-looking, pleasant-featured man, is so touching and heart-warming.

 

What a constellation of factors, then, go into the wondrous experience of Hazard singing this Berlin standard.

 

……………………………………………..

 

The Song Is Ended (But The Melody Lingers On)

(Ist Verse)

My thoughts go back to a heavenly dance
A moment of bliss we spent
Our hearts were filled with a song of romance
As into the night we went
And sang to our hearts’ content

 

(Chorus)
The song is ended
But the melody lingers on
You and the song are gone
But the melody lingers on …

 

 

 

MAIN REFERENCES

 

https://www.blakehazardmusic.com/bio
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Song_Is_Ended_(but_the_Melody_Lingers_On)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Submarines
https://www.lyrics.com/lyric/9055100/The+Song+Is+Ended%2C+But+the+Melody+Lingers+On
https://www.mprnews.org/story/2010/09/17/100-year-old-fitzgerald-theater-makes-national-register


 

 

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About

Kevin Densley is a poet and writer-in-general. His fourth book-length poetry collection, Sacredly Profane, was published in late 2020 by Ginninderra Press. He is also the co-author of ten play collections for young people, as well as a multi Green Room Award nominated play, Last Chance Gas, which was published by Currency Press. Other writing includes screenplays for educational films.

Comments

  1. Colin Ritchie says

    Interesting voice, I must check her out further. Fab story about one of my favourite eras KD.

  2. Kevin Densley says

    Cheers, Col. Thanks for your comments. The Jazz Age is one of my favourite eras, too, as I suppose my piece indicates.

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