Something for Thursday

So a strange thing happened while I was writing my annual Year’s End Quiz for 2019. The last question of the quiz is “Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.” I always interpret this less as a song that has lyrics that can specifically capture a year, but rather a song whose emotional essence seems to me to align with the year that’s ending. I don’t usually have a problem with this, but for some reason, this year I did. I kept thinking that there should be an obvious song, one that was lurking somewhere just beyond the peripheries of my inner ear. It was pretty frustrating, I have to admit–and the song that I settled on, Queen’s “The Hero,” was a fine choice that really does capture a bit of how I feel about a year in which so many of my favorite stories all seemed to end.

And then today, while wandering around my shift at work, I had the ever-popular Ohhhhhh! moment, in which I realized what song I should have used.

I’ve known this song for many years, going all the way back to my high school years when I’d be with the jazz band playing standards from the Great American Songbook at town park dances and church festivals, which is why when I heard it in the context of a movie in 2019, it was…well, it’s one of the best uses of a great old song in a movie that I’ve ever heard. It comes, of course, at the very end of Avengers: Endgame, when Steve Rogers has finally laid aside his shield and is dancing with Peggy Carter just before the film fades out. Here is “It’s Been a Long, Long Time” by Kitty Kallen and the Harry James Orchestra.

Never thought that you would be
standing here so close to me
there’s so much I feel that I should say
but words can wait until some other day

Kiss me once, then kiss me twice
Then kiss me once again
It’s been a long, long time

Haven’t felt like this, my dear
Since I can’t remember when
It’s been a long, long time

You’ll never know how many dreams
I’ve dreamed about you
Or just how empty they all seemed without you

So kiss me once, then kiss me twice
Then kiss me once again
It’s been a long, long time

Ah, kiss me once, then kiss me twice
Then kiss me once again
It’s been a long time

Haven’t felt like this my dear
Since I can’t remember when
It’s been a long, long time

You’ll never know how many dreams
I dreamed about you
Or just how empty they all seemed without you

So kiss me once then kiss me twice
Then kiss me once again
It’s been a long, long time….

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