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"Have Yourself..."


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With the holidays in sight and with visual and auditory reminders everywhere,

I?m sitting here ? surrounded by last minute, unmailed holiday greetings and scraps of Technicolor gift wrap ? and just thinking of what a poignant and perfect contemporary carol ?Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas? is. For many, the holidays are often tinged with feelings of uncertainty and loss and I think this timeless tune captures those sentiments beautifully while still remaining hopeful.

 

While this cherished perennial has been recorded by virtually everyone, I don?t think I?m alone in acknowledging that nobody performed it with quite the same emotional depth or pure sincerity as the song?s originator, Miss Judy Garland. ?Meet Me In St. Louis? is a visually sumptuous masterpiece brimming over with delights; the trio of sublime songs that Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane contributed (?The Boy Next Door? and the immortal, deliriously-paced ?The Trolley Song? being the other two) are the glittering jewels in Vincente Minnelli?s exquisitely crafted tiara.

 

Several years ago, I had the honor of interviewing composer/lyricist Hugh Martin and of course, our conversation was largely about his enduring and treasured contributions to ?Meet Me In St. Louis? ? though we also touched upon his other remarkable work for priceless musicals like ?Ziegfeld Follies? and ?Athena? and the cult Broadway favorite ?High Spirits.? Toward the end of our chat, which coincidentally happened to be around this time of year, the eternally gracious and good-natured Mr. Martin signed off with ??and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.? I will, Hugh, in large part because of your great gift. All the Best and Sincere Thanks.

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If you are thinking of downloading Judy's version of the song from iTunes, here's a word of caution. It might have a mistake in it! The song's lyrics should be:

 

"Faithful friends who are dear to us/

Will be near to us once more."

 

On the version I downloaded, Judy sings:

 

"Faithful friends who are NEAR to us/

Will be DEAR to us once more."

 

I wonder if this was an outtake or alternate version. Otherwise, the song sounds exactly as it did in the movie.

 

Midge

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