(Tune) “These Foolish Things"


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Here is a beautifully written song sung beautifully by the great Ella Fitzgerald. Written in 1934 for a BBC radio revue; it is likely the first “list” song for a romantic ballad. The song conjures the romance and glamor of Europe prior to WWII. In today’s musical lexicon it would probably be characterized as a “break-up” song, but the nearly poetic lyrics pose haunting images of love lost, and when sung by the likes of Billie Holiday, Nat Cole, Frank Sinatra, and Ella the lyrics do become poetry. This version includes the verse and all the choruses. It is wonderful.


THESE FOOLISH THINGS

     Music: Jack Strachey

     Lyrics: Eric Maschwitz


Oh! Will you never let me be? 

Oh! Will you never set me free? 

The ties that bound us 

Are still around us 

There's no escape that I can see 

And still those little things remain 

That bring me happiness or pain 


A cigarette that bears a lipstick's traces 

An airline ticket to romantic places 

And still my heart has wings 

These foolish things remind me of you 


A tinkling piano in the next apartment 

Those stumbling words that told you what my heart meant 

A fair ground's painted swings

These foolish things remind me of you 

 

Oh! Will you never let me be? 

Oh! Will you never set me free? 

The ties that bound us 

Are still around us 

There's no escape that I can see 

And still those little things remain 

That bring me happiness or pain 


A cigarette that bears a lipstick's traces 

An airline ticket to romantic places 

And still my heart has wings 

These foolish things remind me of you 

A tinkling piano in the next apartment 

Those stumbling words that told you what my heart meant 

A fair ground's painted swings 

These foolish things remind me of you 


You came, your saw, you conquered me

When you did that to me

I knew somehow this had to be


The winds of March that made my heart a dancer

A telephone that rings. but who’s to answer

Oh how the ghost of you clings

These foolish things remind me of you 


First daffodils and long excited cables

And candlelights on little corner tables

And still my heart has wings

These foolish things remind me of you 


The park at evening when the bell has sounded

The “Isle de France” with all the gulls around it

The beauty that is Spring’s

These foolish things remind me of you 


How strange, how sweet to find you still

These things are dear to me

They seem to bring you near to me


The sigh of midnight trains in empty stations

Silk stockings throne aside dance invitations

Oh how the ghost of you clings

These foolish things remind me of you 


Gardinia perfume lingering on a pillow

Wild strawberries only seven francs a kilo

And still my heart has wings

These foolish things remind me of you 


The smile of Garbo, and the scent of roses

The waiters whistling as the last bar closes

The songs that Crosby sings

These foolish things remind me of you 


How strange, how sweet to find you still

These things are dear to me

They seem to bring you near to me


The scent of smoldering leaves,  the wail of steamers

Two lovers on the street who walk like dreamers

Oh how the ghost of you clings

These foolish things remind me of you

© Van Wyck Keely 2012