No rhyme. No reason. Subjective. Anecdotal. But, enjoyable. I hope. In order, but signifying no ranking:
1. “Where or When,” by Peggy Lee, with the Benny Goodman Trio. The tune is nearly 80 years old, but it is timeless and beautiful.
2. “People Will Say We’re in Love,” from Oklahoma. This a terrific Frank Sinatra version.
3. “Till There Was You,” from The Music Man. Now I love Shirley Jones but you have to dig The Beatles version, with Paul McCartney taking the lead.
4. “Stardust,” sung and recorded by thousands, but Nat King Cole has such a reverie-haunting way of singing anything, so enjoy his 1965 rendition.
5. “Ballad of the Teenage Queen” is a catchy song of simple sweetness with a happy ending. Johnny Cash is doesn’t just sing about shooting a man in Reno.
6. Isn’t Roberta Flack’s “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” just a thing of beauty? It is! Listen:
7. Mama mia, Bobby Darin could belt them. Aside from “Mack the Knife,” his signature song was “Beyond the Sea.” It’s one of the best tunes ever, and he owns it. This is an old French song, and the original version, “La Mer,” by Charles Trenet, c’est merveilleux aussi, mes amis.
8. A nod to WFB, who was a big Elvis fan (he did write Elvis in the Morning after all). The King sings “Can’t Help Falling in Love with You.” What a voice, stopped by fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches.
9. You can’t have a list like this without
Ctrl+Click or tap to follow the link”>Unchained Melody
Ctrl+Click or tap to follow the link”>Unchained Melody. There are tons and tons of versions. I liked the Andy Williams one (silk is not as smooth as his voice). But the Righteous Brothers do it damn righteously, as most agree.
10. A bit of melancholy: “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” by Ray Charles. What a truly gifted singer.
Bonus song: Jack Jones sings “The Love Boat Theme”! Funkadelic version; exciting and old.