I was reminded yesterday of an old Bing Crosby movie from 1960 called High Times. It’s a silly farce about a man in his 50’s who decides to go to college. Recently widowed, he embraces college life as if her were an 18-year-old. He lives in the dorm, makes young friends and his children think he’s crazy. It’s a generation gap story where Bing Crosby meets Tuesday Weld and mayhem ensues.
There is, of course, a lovely moment with a lovely song. It is, after all, Bing.
For years, when I heard this song, I would think of my parents. Both of them had been married before they meet, and I always wondered if it were really true; that love WAS lovelier the second time around.
Bing, of course did a fabulous job. In the film, his wistful singing was so sweet and tender, but it never knocked me out. I knew Sinatra had a minor hit with it, but I always fall back on Frank or Ella for this sort of thing, so I did some research. Shirley Bassey’s version was nice. Etta James’ was a bit too uptempo. Tony Bennett was strong and forceful, maybe just a bit too strong and forceful.
Frank won. Lyrically he understood the message. It is loving, but not saccharine, with just a hint of yearning. My man came through again.
Frank wasn’t always the kindest man, and his reputation with woman was not stellar. However, where he lacked in the understanding of the broads he made up for in his understanding of phrasing.
Frank Sinatra and The Second Time Around.