Sunday, September 27, 2015

Vincent Youmans and Irving Caesar - Tea For Two

You'd heard this song, even if you haven't heard its notorious background.  While purists might complain about including Broadway numbers in with Classical music, you're likely to hear this only on classical radio these days.

Vincent Youmans was a young man whose plans of becoming an engineer were derailed when he was drafted into the Navy in World War I.  Rather than seeing combat, he found himself in charge of putting on entertainments for the sailors.  After the War, he became one of the "Tin Pan Alley" composers, penning this song along with collaborations with Ira Gershwin and Oscar Hammerstein among others.

This was his biggest hit, which is why you will recognize it.  Vincent Youmans was born on this day in 1898.

So what is the notoriety associated with this song?  It's from the musical "No, No, Nanette" which Red Sox fans will recognize.  The Red Sox sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees to finance this musical leading to 86 years of baseball humiliation at the hands of the Bronx Bombers.

Except it seems that this isn't actually true.  Ruth was sold to finance a forgettable musical "My Lady Friends", not No No Nanette.  Presumably the latter was included in the "Curse of the Bambino" because it was one of the most successful musicals of the 1920s, Ruth's glory days in pinstripes.

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