In no particular order, and for the day that’s in it, it’s Rainy Days and Songdays – my Oscars favourite songs.
It was something daring, I guess, to award a Best Original Song at the Academy Awards in 1934.
But it was probably a dancing shoe-in for Hollywood superstars Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers’ The Continental.
If Fred and Ginger were around today then they’d glide easily down the fabled stairs of the Dolby Theater.
But they are there out front in the Walk of Fame.
All of which we can channel, and which every waiter dreams of aspiring too, in Los Angeles and his environs.
The Continental is one of my Oscar favourite songs and set the standard for every Best Original Song to come.
And in truth for every Over the Rainbow and White Christmas there is a Chim-Chim-Cheree and an I Just Called To Say I Love You too.
Gong with a song
The standard is off the chart which is why the usual Fab Five becomes a Top Ten this week for My Oscars favourites.
10 When You Wish Upon A Star, Pinnochio (1940):
Pure Disney, and what’s wrong with that.
But this is the craftmanship of Florentine Carlo Collodi so let’s give the Tuscans a shout-out as ‘anything your heart desires will come to you.’
Take it away Cliff Richards as Jimmy Cricket.
9 Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah, Song of the South (1947):
One of Disney’s more forgettable films and ‘containing outdated language’ though I just dwell on the Deep South music.
James Baskett’s deep anthem is about as happy a song as you’ll ever hear.
And in a cutesie overload Mr Bluebird’s on James’s shoulder too. Everything truly is satisfactual!
8 Three Coins In The Fountain (1954):
No me neither, nor the singers Clifton Webb, Dorothy McGuire and Jean Peters who each sang the titular song.
But anyone who has ever been to the Trevi Fountain in Rome will either hear someone singing it there while throwning coins over their head into the water.
Or they will be encouraged to do so.
7 Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969):
And if you love the Wild West then you’ll love the scene where Paul Newman (Butch) and Katharine Ross (Etta) mess about on the bicycle in Utah.
And Burt Bacharach’s velvety lyrics and BJ Thomas’s smooth delivery set it all off.
6 The Time Of My Life, Dirty Dancing (1987):
The beauty of a good song is trying to recreate it in your bedroom which is what hairbrushes were made for, although Patrick Swayze’s quiff just came naturally.
But if you truly want to channel your inner Johnny and Baby then you’ll want to get out to Lake Lure Inn & Spa in North Carolina.
And have Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes on the boom box.
5 The Streets of Philadelphia (1993):
You’re probably exhausted after that (I know I am) so let’s slow it down with the Boss’s evocative and powerful Streets of Phladelphia.
Of course, the actual streets of Philadelphia aren’t as gut-wrenchingly emotional as this song and are actually fun-packed as this vid shows.
Better still if you go to Philly the City of Brotherly Love, and find out for yourself.
Drum roll please
4 Born Free (1966):
And another to pull on your heartstring with the story of Joy and George Adamson, played by real-life couple Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers.
They released Elsa the Lioness into adulthood and released her into the wilds of Kenya.
All of which brings back warm memories of meeting our lioness out in the Eastern Cape in South Africa.
And yes, I sang Matt Monro’s classic in my head then… I didn’t want to stir my lioness.
3 White Christmas, Holiday Inn (1942):
Many of us are probably unaware of Irving Berlin’s inspiration for the best-selling song of all time (I was).
Berlin, a Jew, who didn’t celebrate Christmas had all the more reason to get maudlin on December 25.
His three-week-old son died on that day in 1928. Bing Crosby gives it a timeless uplifting feel.
2 Over The Rainbow, The Wizard of Oz (1939):
And the ultimate in what Daddy’s Little Girl so beautifully puts it, a Happy Sad Song.
And layering on the sentamentality it was the first movie my Dear Old Mum saw in her nearest big city, Derry.
She recalls the switch from black and white to colour seemed like magic to an 11-year-old country girl.
A country girl like Kansas lass Dorothy.
And the winner is…
1 Moon River, Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961):
Tiffany’s in New York is no more magical than any other jewellery store methinks.
But perhaps that’s because I’m an alpha male bloke, while Breakfast to me is a bagel.
Put them together though and Breakfast At Tiffany’s carries you off to a wonderful escapist world.
It’s the adventurer in me andyou had me Audrey Hepburn at ‘there’s such a lot of world to see.’
So these are my Oscar favourite songs. Now what about you?
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