Saturday, January 30, 2010

Apart from all being songs of a certain vintage, what could be the link between these?
The lyrics are all by the same chap, and him from Omagh, and a TCD guy, all into the same package. Until Lennon and McCartney came along, his name had been on more US "hits" than any other British song-writer

This is how that intelligence came to Malcolm:
  • Malcolm was imbibing at London's Irish Club;
  • he fell into conversation with a decent Ulsterman;
  • Malcolm mentioned his visits to Castlerock (where the Lady in Malcolm's life has a close friend);
  • both parties to the conversation raved about the view of the sun setting over Inishowen;
  • the decent Ulsterman mentioned just that view had provoked Red Sails in the Sunset;
  • the rest involves corroboration via Google. The footnote there links to
... James Kennedy wrote the words to this song after watching a sunset with his artist sister in Donegal, Ireland. The music was composed by Will Grosz (who was better known as Hugh Williams).

Red Sails In The Sunset was a big hit in the USA in 1935, topping Your Hit Parade for four weeks and selling more than a million copies of the sheet music; many recordings were made, including by Louis Armstrong and Paul Anka, but most notably by Bing Crosby.

The boat which inspired the song was called Kitty Of Coleraine (poetically the boat is itself named after a song), and it actually had white sails, it was only the sunset that made them appear red. A ten foot tall fishing boat was sculpted and a plaque erected in honor of the song, and the original boat was restored and put on public display in Portstewart Harbour.
Wilhelm Grosz is himself interesting. He fled Vienna, where he had an established reputation as a classical composer, for London in 1934. He adopted various pseudonyms: apart from "Hugh Williams" he was also "André Milos" and others, so that his music could be played in Nazi Germany, free of any "Jewish" origin. Grosz moved to Hollywood, which killed him of a heart attack in his mid-40s.

The best version, for Malcolm, of Red Sails in the Sunset is Nat King Cole's. Moreover, Malcolm reckons Patti Page in this clip is not, definitely not, dressed for Castlerock or Portstewart (where, too, the waves move) on 350+ evenings in the year:

Malcolm got as much personal delight in ferretting through that little lot, as he did in never fully comprehending the Schleswig-Holstein Question. Sphere: Related Content

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