Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Getting all misty

 The song Misty was composed by jazz great Erroll Garner in 1954.  Just listen to the way he tinkles those keys!

Erroll Garner plays Misty

The lyrics were written by Johnny Burke who wrote quite a number of songs made famous by Hollywood.  Some of my favourites are Pennies from Heaven and  Swingin' on a Star.

Look at me,
I'm as helpless as a kitten up a tree
And I feel like I'm clinging to a cloud
I can't understand,
I get misty, holding your hand.
Walk my way,
And a thousand violins begin to play
Or it might be the sound of your hello
That music I hear,
I get misty the moment you're near
You can say that you're leading me on
But it's just what I want you to do
Don't you realize how hopelessly I'm lost
That's why I'm following you.
On my own,
Would I wander through this wonderland alone
Never knowing my right foot from my left,
My hat from my glove,
I get misty, and too much in love.
I'm too misty, and too much in love

The song was covered many times, with hits for Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, and Frank Sinatra.  But no one had a bigger hit with it than Johnny Mathis.

Johnny Mathis sings Misty

This song was so popular in the sixties that it inspired a movie about a woman with a thing for a radio show host (played by Clint Eastwood) who likes to phone in requesting this tune.
Play Misty for Me was Clint Eastwood's first directorial attempt.  He did a successful job too.  The movie did fairly well at the box office (luckily because he was starring in it).  It still has a bit of a cult following today.  Also, it seems to be given credit for inspiring movies with similar plots, like Fatal Attraction.

Clint Eastwood and Jessica Walter in Play Misty for Me

Oh, did I forget to mention that the woman (played by Jessica Walter) is actually a psychotic fan?  She throws herself at him, and they have a little fling, until he realizes he has to get away from her, and that's when things get really crazy!

**Warning: ** This was going to be my Halloween post but I didn't finish it on time (obviously). Although normally I would find this movie really hokey, the context in which I am using it may seem very disturbing to some (even me).  I hope I don't upset anyone too much with this.
Play Misty for Me (1971) Trailer

 Yikes! A crazed fan!

That movie is a bit over-the-top (don't you think)!

All right, time to calm down now.  No crazed fans here.  
I hope I haven't ruined that song for you forever.  
But I have one more version of it to share which I hope will cheer you up. 

Ray Stevens' version of Misty

I wasn't certain how to take this upbeat, countrified version when I first heard it way back in 1975.  I probably wondered if it was a parody.  Afterall, Ray Stevens was known for novelty songs like Gitarzan (why didn't I use that song on my Tarzan post?) and The Streak (about that unique '70s craze of running naked in public). Once I realized it was a genuine cover of the original song I really fell for the whole toe-tapping, slide guitar whining, feel good sound!  I even prefer it now to the original arrangement!

There! That's better. I knew that version would make you feel better!

Deep cleansing breath ... Ah!  Much better.

Wow! Look at that smile.
Now I'm getting all misty again!
(But it's okay... really! Don't worry!)


judiang said...

Ah, that take me back - not as far as Errol Garner but to Johnny Mathis and Play Misty for Me. That movie creeped me out as a teen. :D

Phylly3 said...

I do love Johnny Mathis, but that song isn't one of my faves any more. And yes, that movie is pretty creepy.

CDoart said...

What wonderful idea to let RA-comment on your film review ;o) With such a lovely smile by RA, I get 'all misty' too #o)

Anonymous said...

Ah, Johnny Mathis! Not so certain about Ray Stevens, though. :)


Phylly3 said...

@CDoart-- LOL it wasn't much of a review, really but thanks! I couldn't help imagining what RA's reaction might be to it.
@fitzg - The Ray Steven's version does take some getting use to. I was never a country music fan but I like folk and gospel and country-rock and pop and bluegrass. So maybe it's the banjo playing that grabs me? I don't know, but I really love it! It won a Grammy, so i'm not the only one who likes it!

jazzbaby1 said...

That movie was cahreeepy! Love this post, phylly!

Phylly3 said...

@jazzbaby1 - Yes indeed, it was! I'm so glad you like this post. I enjoy your musical posts very much!