John Fricke hosted the screening at The Paley Center of four TV appearances Judy made in the late sixties. One of these was a Tonight Show where Judy sang my songs, It’s All For You and After the Holidays. John, to me, has become the principal Keeper of the Flame, and we are lucky to have someone who is not only vastly knowledgeable, but articulate in the most charming, non-pedantic, non-academic fashion. John, I applaud you.
I hadn’t seen these shows in years, and though I remembered Judy’s rendition of Holidays as woeful; I was wrong, she sings it with great feeling and, though you can tell she’s short of breath and unable to sustain, in a curious way this helps the poignancy of the song.
It adds another layer of vulnerability.
But It’s All for You brings back a bittersweet memory.
Because, initially, she ridiculed the song. It’s a hearfelt, sincere love song, but as I sang it to her, in the first days of our romance, she started laughing. In the middle of my passionate recital.
“What’s so damned funny?” I asked her.
“Oh, I was just thinking,” she said, “here he is, the young composer in love, and he wants to demonstrate his nn, grand passion. So he sits her down and he plays her the nn, absolute, worst song in the world.
And she has to pretend it’s the most, nn, glorious thing she’s ever heard. Hee hee.”
She made a joke of it, but I was a bit put off, as you may imagine.
I was surprised, therefore, when, a week later, she asked if she could learn it. “It really has quite a nn, majestic quality,” she said.
Well, this was quite a turnaround, and now we’re booked on The Tonight Show to launch the tune. I say ‘we’ because
Judy needed to be shepherded and looked after, so we went everywhere as a couple. This changed when I got sick, felled by the Hong Kong flu, and was unable to help her through the preparations for this appearnce. I had to catch her performance from my sick-bed.
This is where the bittersweet part comes in, for while she sang, she was in the process of switching her allegiance from me to Mickey Deans.
But watching her yesterday, singing It’s All For You, I could still believe she was singing to me…and even more, it’s apparent from her hand gestures that she’s singing to you, the audience.
And the song takes on a larger resonance; it becomes, in her rendition, a tribute to -and affirmation of- all the audiences, everywhere, who have applauded and supported her throughout her career, from the days in vaudeville right up to this moment.
Yes, she’s telling them, it’s all for you.
Stuart Cooke said:
It was another late night Tonight Show watching with eyes half-shut on the way to sleep. I liked the first song, but it was when she suddenly started singing from her chair, no less, that I woke up. Without special lighting or staging or large orchestra backup, she held the audience seemingly with a finger singing a wonderful holiday tune with a oh so plaintive story. During the first few bars, the audience got progressively quieter until finally we were transfixed, even Johnny. At the end, instead of the habitual, Tonight Show, instant loud applause (too often before a given performer even finished), there are seconds of silence. Only afterwards could we come back to earth.
Thanks, John, for the great tune, and for all you did to try to help her. What a mitzvah!
p.s. Spent memorable evenings with you one summer at (can’t remember the club name) in Westhampton, which I cherish.
Stuart, thanks so much for your supportive comment -it means a lot to a writer to hear that one’s work has affected someone so positively. I was so very lucky to have Judy interpret my songs, glad you were moved.
A Dutch singer/songwriter named Do covered your wonderful song After the Holidays. She performed on national tv yesterday evening in a show called Holland Zingt. I don’t think I had ever heard it before but it gave me the chills. Thank you for this amazing song!
Thank you for this post, whoever you are. I’m so pleased and heartened that the song affected you this way. I’ll Google Ms. Do to learn about her.
Do let me know if there are any further renditions. Tell me a bit about you, where you live, what you do; I’d be interested. And again, many thanks.
I wanted to inform you that Dominique van Hulst her performance has been posted online. I am positive you will enjoy her interpretation of your song. I simply love it for it has all a good Christmas song is supposed to have! And Do is one of Holland’s most talented singer-songwriters. Her voice is splendid. #domusic
I am flattered you wish to know more about me. I’m just a mother of a beautiful 4 year old who also enjoys listening to music. I live in the Netherlands, am thankful for my friends and family. And I wish you all the best for coming years. Merry Christmas
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