Monday, August 29, 2011

Music Monday ~ The Song Not the Singer ~ It Was a Very Good Year ~ 7-year Cycles

Frank Sinatra fans (like me) will easily recall this song. It was written by Ervin Drake in 1961 , not for Sinatra but for Bob Shane of The Kingston Trio whose more stripped down folksy version is said to be more in line with the writer's original intention. Sinatra's Grammy-winning version from 1966 has lush orchestral arrangement, not at all folksy but equally attractive in the hands of The Guv'nor and Gordon Jenkins.

From the opening paragraph of a New York times article on the occasion of Ervin Drake's 90th birthday in 2009:

“STORY of a guy’s life, told in wine vintage terms.”
As Ervin Drake tells it, that was the note to himself that led to his writing a song, back in 1961, that earned a Grammy for Frank Sinatra.

Whenever I hear the song astrology springs to mind. There are 7 year cycles in life, thanks to certain celestial rhythms. Our Moon's cycle of 28 days (4 x 7)provides a backing and, possibly more significantly, Saturn's cycles and aspects coming around every 7 or 8 years provide the "beat". See article at Matrix Software website Saturn: The "Cosmic Chiropractor" by Bernie Ashman.

Although the first verse of It Was A Very Good Year (describing life at age 17) doesn't fall within the 7 year pattern, following verses do:

When I was seventeen......
When I was twenty-one It was a very good year.....
When I was thirty-five It was a very good year....etc

YouTube has lots of versions of the song on video, as well as Sinatra's.
Some links:

The original by Bob Shane, Kingston Trio.

Nice jazz instrumental by Ira Sullivan.

An interesting piano version by Josh Charles in the style of Chopin+New Orleans
"inspired by James Booker, Ray Charles and Chopin-- it's musical GUMBO"

No comments: