Song of the Day: “Young at Heart” by Cleo Laine

You’re no doubt more familiar with the Frank Sinatra version, which is not one of his best. He sings it like he’s addressing a room of elderly parents. It’s not his fault. The song has built-in nostalgia.

Cleo Laine’s version, though, takes it even further. It starts with an eery harp and string arrangement that recalls a stock dream sequence from some ’40s melodrama.

Her vocals come in likewise: hypnotic, whispery and distant. She highlights existential undertones of Carolyn Leigh’s lyrics (Johnny Richards wrote the tune):

Don’t you know that it’s worth
Every treasure on earth
To be young at heart?

For as rich as you are,
It’s much better by far
To be young at heart.

But if you should survive
To a hundred-and-five
Look at all you derive
Just by being alive!

And here is the best part,
You have a head start
If you are among the very young at heart.

Get it? The lesson is that we’re all going to die. How you live is important. Pay attention!

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