My wife and I were blessed to have our granddaughter spend much of her first eight years with us. She and her mother lived with us for a while and then nearby for a few years. Among many wonderful experiences, we also got to be reminded that once a young child falls in love with a movie, she wants to watch it again and again.
Brooke and I nearly memorized two Disney films, “Pinocchio” and “Beauty and the Beast.” That wasn’t all bad; as I mentioned way back in June, Joanna and I like cartoons. Besides, “Beauty and the Beast” has a great theme song, which won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and a Grammy. “When You Wish Upon a Star” from “Pinocchio” (video here) isn’t bad, either, though it bugs me that the song has become the theme music for a corporate media empire.)
Especially in the early days of my marriage, I may have been a bit of a beast at times. At the very least, my wife and I were very different, with good reasons not to enter a serious relationship. In the words of the “Beauty and the Beast” theme song, Joanna and I were “both a little scared, neither one prepared.” And 33 years later, we still find that a big part of an ongoing relationship is “finding you can change, learning you were wrong.”
Angela Lansbury sang “Beauty and the Beast” for the film; the soundtrack included both that version and a nice one by Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson (for which you can see the video here). I’ve chosen to post the original video version below, with Lansbury providing the voice for a singing teapot.
Dion may have the better voice, but we have a soft spot for Lansbury. Her “Murder She Wrote” was for years one of our favorite television programs, and we still watch the occasional rerun. We also joke that the true genius of “Jessica Fletcher” was how she managed to not only free every friend and relative ever accused of murder (and if you were friends with Jessica, at some point your were going to be accused of homicide) but she also apparently killed numerous people and framed others for the crimes — after all, there’s no way that the quaint little town of Cabot Cove could have so many killers. (Lansbury herself may also have just helped kill a new version of the series planned by NBC.)
“Beauty and the Beast” lyrics here, with video below.
OK, so I’ve mentioned that my wife is my best friend once or twice previously. But Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend” belongs on the blog for reasons beyond that (and beyond the fact that we’ve sung along with it innumerable times).
For one thing, the song was a #1 hit for James Taylor, one of Joanna’s favorite performers (his version here). Also, we’re big fans of King’s singing, and we once lived not far from her in Idaho (keeping in mind that “not far” in the West means something entirely different than it does “back East”). You can see some photos of her in Idaho on her website.
Finally, King is an amazing songwriter, producing a range of songs that most people have no idea were hers. Besides Taylor, others who had hits with King songs included the Beatles, Aretha Franklin, the Shirelles, the Everly Brothers, Dusty Springfield, the Chiffons, Bobby Vee, Little Eva, Steve Lawrence, the Drifters, Herman’s Hermits, the Byrds, the Monkees and Blood, Sweat & Tears. Her songs have been part of two great movies: “Wasn’t Born to Follow” in “Easy Rider” (1969) and “Now and Forever” in “A League of Their Own,” 23 years later. No wonder she’s in the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
There are some nice versions of “You’ve Got a Friend” in which King is joined by others. She and Taylor have performed it together many times. And years ago, a televised version featured King with Céline Dion, Gloria Estefan and Shania Twain.
Lyrics here, with nice live Carole King video below.