Thursday, 22 November 2012

Lorenz Hart

On this day in 1943, the great lyricist Lorenz Hart died in New York City of pneumonia brought on by exposure after a drinking binge. This was just months after the death of his mother, with whom he had lived all his life.
Hart's lyrics are famous for their playful wit, wordplay and brilliant rhyming, but there's often an undertow of melancholy - and he could also write a straightforward, rapturous love song like With A Song In My Heart (written, like all his best, with Richard Rodgers). It's an overworked standard (the theme tune of Two Way Family Favourites, for heaven's sake!), but the delicate artistry of Ella Fitzgerald - here - brings out all its tender beauty...
Hart had no one in his life to whom he could sing such a song; he considered himself so repulsive that love was out of the question; he was a self-loathing, shame-racked gay, a lifelong depressive and a self-destructive alcoholic.
And he wrote that. 


  1. 2.46 minutes of Ella perfection - thank you Nige. Hart was indeed a complex man, who lived his life much as you describe so eloquently. All the more extraordinary is it not, that what has been called the combination of 'outward humour and inner hurt' that inhabits his lyrics, never deserted him ever in extremis. This early quote compresses it into a few words: "I was small (when I was born) and am still small, because my heavy brain does not permit me to grow in a vertical direction". Enough to make a strong man weep.

  2. Oh yes - what a quote! Thanks Mahlerman.