Monday, May 12, 2014


Come along and hum a few tunes with me. . .

I'm looking over a four leaf clover that I overlooked before. . . . .

Baby face, you've got the cutest little baby face. . .

Ol' man river. . . he jes keeps rollin' along. . .

No gal has got a shade on sweet Georgia Brown . . .

Can you guess what decade all four of those songs were popular? You don't know yet?

Let's look at a few musicians:

Al Jolson sold out nine shows at the Winter Garden in a row. He was famous for his black-face routines.

George Gershwin and his brother Ira wrote both popular and classical music, including Rhapsody in Blue,  and Always. (They later wrote the opera Porgy and Bess.) 

Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein shifted musical theater from light comedy to serious drama with their breakthrough musical, Showboat. 

Jazz music took center stage with musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith, and Duke Ellington. Later Ella Fitzgerald joined the greats.

Still stumped? Let's think about the dances. . . walz and fox trot. Tango and Charleston. The Lindy Hop.

You've got it.  The Jazz Age. The 1920s. Very few other  decades are as immediately identifiable by their music, nor has the music last so long in our pop culture.

My name is Darlene Franklin. Music pops into most of my books. No surprise; I majored in music in college, and to me, music is the purest emotional venue. It transcends words and culture. 

Let's have fun today. Tell which of these songs from the 1920s that you know, or toss out another title. 

Yes, We Have no Bananas

Baby Face

Sweet Georgia Brown

Yes, Sir, That's my Baby

Swanee Bye Bye Blackbird

Ol' Man River It Had to be You

California Here I Come Always

Star Dust Rhapsody in Blue

Ain't Misbehavin' St Louis Blues

My Mammy


  1. Yes, we have no bananas, we have no bananas today.
    Baby face, you've got the cutest little baby face.
    Yes sir, that's my baby, no sir, I don't mean maybe.
    Swanee, how I love ya, how I love ya, my dear ole Swanee.
    California here I come, right back where I started from.
    I remember these songs but only from hearing my mother sing them around the house.
    Thanks for the stroll down memory lane.
    Janet Estridge

  2. Well, Darlene, I sure didn't know these songs were that old, but I know all of them. And, I wasn't even born till 1935. Seems like I've always known some of these, like Four-leaf Clover but was probably late 40s and 50s when I knew them and listened to all of them. Know all of the tunes now, but can't remember all of the words anymore, just some. But I love yesterdays music. I do remember listening to the Grand Ole Opera when I was little, when we as a family gathered in the living room on SAT. night and listened to this on the Radio. So, I'm sure learned some of these way back then. They've all lasted for these many years. Wish your new book was already out. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

  3. Well, I was born in 1962 and I know most of these songs. I think my mother and aunt used to sing them around the house. How about Singin' In The Rain by Cliff Edwards / Earl Burtnett? Love the song.....Love the movie with Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds!

  4. Love music & love all the songs you mentioned - started playing them on the piano, as a young girl, when I was taking piano lessons. Music, truly, speaks to my heart - so often - & is one of the few things I couldn't bear to be without! Thanks for the opportunity to win a book.

  5. I like music but am not a music lover like my husband and daughter are. I have it on in the car and enjoy listening to it then but don't just sit and listen to it randomly. I prefer country music.

    griperang at embarqmail dot com

  6. Fun post, Darlene. I recognize all of those songs, probably because my dad was a musician. He played the trumpet for over 60 years and was really good. Odd as it seems to say, I think one reason some of those songs are still fresh in my mind is because many of them were used for cartoon music for shows my kids watched when they were small. That dancer picture reminded me of Thoroughly Modern Millie. Did you ever see that movie, which starred Julie Andrews?

  7. Interesting! And isn't it true, I can at least say the first few words of most of those songs....I was born in the 50's and my parents were country fans mostly, but those songs from the 20's are certainly in my head. I wonder if any of the songs from today will live through the ages like those have. Thanks for making me think about that!!!


  8. Thank you for joining me on this musical trip down memory lane! Several of you mentioned country music - do you know what was happening with country music during the 20s? Vickie, yes, I remember Thoroughly Modern Millie. Debbie, I adore Singin' in the Rain, even if it is from the 50s. (Surprisingly, notes said the movie wasn't a success when it came out. With all those marvelous, classic routines?!) I know the songs partly from cartoons, partly from my mom singing them (she was born in 1932), partly from movies which used them. I particularly remember the tomboy gal from A League of their Own singing It Had to Be You at the bar and falling in love . . .

    1. I just joined the website and not quite sure how or where to leave my email when I make a comment , can you help me?

  9. These songs are way before my time, but most of them at least sound familiar, especially 'It Had to Be You'. It must be one that has been covered alot.

    Love how music can be so powerful, even give you goose bumps!


  10. Music definitely has given me goosebumps, and made me cry, and carried me away . . .music speaks to my heart.

  11. We sang several of those songs in Pops Choir, in 1978!

  12. How fun! Great music not only transcends language and culture, but time. (That's part of the reason why I regret the change to only singing contemporary praise music in so many church services, but that's a different subject. :) )

  13. Darlene, I'm with you regretting the change to contemporary music. Those old hymns have substance and meaning not just repeating the same words over and over but as you say that's a different subject! I remember some of the songs listed. I'm sure I learned them as a child from my mom or at school. Today's music lacks substance in my opinion...Enjoyed your comments...thought provoking. Thanks for the opportunity to win...Linda

  14. Linda, I've tried to write a fascinating comment twice. With no luck. Thanks for stopping by!

  15. Love that old time jazz! So sad to listen to "today's" music, if it can be called that.

    Thanks for the chance to win!

    Karen Schulz
    aregeetee5162 at yahoo dot com

  16. Oops, I think I opened a can of worms. Hi Karen, thanks for stopping by.

  17. Great post, Darlene! I have to admit I know and love all these old songs! To me, much of the new tunes just doesn't have the "soul" the old songs have. Thanks for the pleasant trip down Memory Lane.

  18. Hi, Ramona, thanks for the memories, hmm?

  19. I remember quite a few of those songs, (and I wasn't born until the very late 60's!) - "It Had to Be You" stands out as my favorite! Mainly I know them from the years I spent watching AMC when it first started on cable and was TRULY classic movies! (by which I mean pre-1960's movies)
    jimmynmatthewsmom [at] netzero [dot] com

  20. I love all "old" music! I have to agree - today just doesn't seem to have that "heart and soul" to it. :) I will look up those old songs and see if I know them!
    farmygirl at hotmail dot com

  21. Love all the old songs, too..I also grew up watching the greats like Singing in the Rain and On the Town, Calamity a big fan of Doris Day...such a great voice..Also love Bing Crosby - what a crooner he was.

    thanks for the giveaway

    truckredford (at) gmail (dot) com

  22. Music is evoking a lot of emotions, I see. I agree, Eliza, about Doris Day and Bing Crosby, but they definitely aren't from the 1920s. 40s-50s, I think? Maybe I can write about that another time.

  23. I'm afraid I don't know much about the Jazz Age but enjoyed your post greatly!

  24. Lynn, I'm glad you enjoyed my post! If you enjoy music, you might like to check out a few of these wonderful old songs.

  25. I know of or have hear all but about 2 of those songs which I am sure I have heard.
    wouldn't guessed they were 20's. But then I did like showboat and alot of musicals. (The music Man is still my favourite).
    love the post.

  26. Darlene, you got me to singing. I love musicals and knew a goodly number of words to all of them. What a delight to get "jazzed" early this morning, and hum a tune through the day. Thanks.

  27. Jenny, interesting to know these were popular in Australia as well!

    Linda, I agree, a lot of these are sing-along songs.

  28. I remember learning about this age in school. Sorry, but I'm not much of a jazz fan.

  29. Not all the songs are from jazz . . . but several are. Thanks for leaving a comment!

  30. I've heard many of the songs mentioned, probably in old movies. We may have sung some of them in school. The 1920s were a very interesting time of great change.

  31. Okay, it's a little scary...I know them all. But I grew up listening to music and life would be so boring without it. I am a big fan of musicals too...the old musicals so a lot of these songs can be found in them.

    Would love to be entered to win your book.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52 [at] yahoo [dot]com

  32. Dearest Ms. Franklin,

    You've posted on a topic of keen of interest to me!! When I first moved to where I am now, there was this delightful radio station called: Music of Your Life, or rather specifically, the music of the early 1900s {1900-1949}!! I fell in love with that station up until a year had passed and they killed it! :( I'll spare you the insane reason of 'why',... Fitzgerald, Gershwin, Berlin, Porter,... oh my! I adore all of these musicians! The Roaring Twenties/the Jazz Age is one of my most happiest of eras to travel back too whilst still anchored in the 20th century!! Broadway musicals are a big passion of mine, as are musicals in film -- such as Hammerstein! Its hard for me to pick 'just one' but ever since Breakfast at Tiffany's "Old Man River" has played a key role in my rememberances as a song from a motion picture soundtrack! I love listening to this lovely era of music that stays with you -- its not like the passing fads of pop or rock, these songs have a depth of layer to them! The voices are emmensely soulful and evoke emotion at the core of their beings!

    Next to wickering lanterns, wood stoves, and retrofitted 1930-1949 typewriters,... wells you cannot have me express more of my love of the 1920s, unless you consider that I watch a heap of Old Hollywood via TCM!!! Did you see "the Lady Vanishes" by Hitchcock from the '20s? Or, any of Basil Rathbone's Sherlock Holmes!? Oh, and did you see "Midnight in Paris"!!?!? Ooh, the clothes, I didn't even mention the clothes!??! Or, the House of Elliott from the BBC!!

    I enjoyed finding out that music is a passion of yours and that you include it in your novels! Thank you for this opportunity to win one of your novels, and I shall keep an eye out for Golden Dreams!!


  33. I know most of the songs. I enjoyed singing quite a few of them, when I was young. Good memories!
    may_dayzee (at) yahoo (dot) com

  34. Pam, I think I learned a lot of these from movies as well. And some from my Mom. And some from American Idol.

  35. We're all in the same boat, Cindy - we know the songs. They are enduring. That doesn't make us old. It makes the music great!

  36. Jorie, I loved your comment! It sounds like we would be friends. I love watching TCM as well. My mother introduced me to a lot of the great movies from the 30s and 40s. (When I was young, that was impossibly old-fashioned. Now I see how wonderful they are!)

  37. May dazee, your name makes me think of another old favorite (but 1940s): mairy doats and dozy doats.
    Know that one?

  38. Thanks for sharing those jazz age songs with us. I have fond memories of my grandma singing those songs to me. I think she even did a little dance and twirl around the room while singing them! Those were the days! Music is such a universal language.
    marypopmom (at) yahoo (dot) com

  39. Music is very inspirational. A song inspired me to write a play. this time period. Other songs: Valencia; My Blue Heaven; Sonny Boy. I would love to read your book. Thanks for having the giveaway.


  40. They just don't make music like they used too....
    Jasmine A.

  41. ♪♫•*¨*Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•If You Knew Susie, Like I Know Susie*¨*•♫♪ •♥•.¸¸.•♥•.¸Every Little Breeze, Seems to Whisper, Louise ♪♫•*¨*•It's Three O'Clock in the Morning, I've Danced The Whole Night Through.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•I'll See You in My Dreams♫♪ •♥•.¸¸.•♥•.¸
    My father played our Baby Grand and so loved others from the 30s. Music speaks to me!
    Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House

  42. Thanks to everyone for stopping by! BONNIE is the winner of A Bride's Rogue in Roma, Texas.

  43. I love music... I find I always have a sound that is my favourite that speaks to me and inspires me for where I am and what I am going through... And I often have it on repeat!

  44. I like Yes Sir, That's My Baby! Great post on old-time music. sharon, wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

  45. I remember all of them except the last one. Still love to hear the old songs. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com