The most beautiful song ever recorded, certainly one of them to my ears, is Willie Nelson’s rendition of ‘Stardust’. I say that and I’m a rock ‘n roll boy; I’ve never cottoned to pure ‘country’ music and I have not one other Willie Nelson track in my entire collection. I thought he’d actually written it until I watched a documentary recently on Frank Sinatra, and there he was singing it. ‘Stardust’, originally titled ‘Star Dust’, was written in 1927 by Hoagy Carmichael, with additional lyrics by Mitchell Parish. Carmichael was born in 1899 and was one of the first singer-songwriters to utilize new communications technologies, including electronic microphones and sound recordings. ‘Stardust’ has since been recorded over 1,500 times and one of 50 recordings chosen by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry, which makes it all the more interesting that I have no memory of it until I heard Willie sing it.
Two points emerge for me: First, the value of revisiting works from the past and reimagining them using modern perspectives and technologies. And second, the futility of sticking artwork of any kind into classifications or genres which are more likely than not limited and finite. Really – a tin pan alley jazz composition, re-recorded half a century later as a country tune, which strikes the ears of a rock ‘n roller 30+ years after that as the most beautiful recording of all time. Reimagined, indeed.
… oh, yeah – this is #4 in the monochrome series. It was reimagined from an earlier noir work of cherry tree branches filled with blooms. It will hang in a local gallery soon, assuming that gallery goes ahead with it’s monochrome exhibit, which, in corona-time, who knows. Reality itself is being reimagined.
All my life I have had to learn to do things differently. To see the world differently.