The Best Songs I’ve Borrowed from my Grandmother and Mum


One of the delightful things about being grown up now, is that people love it when I sing ‘old timey’ songs, even on a karaoke night when everyone else sings the same old hit songs (whether they should or not)… and these songs they are loving me for now, are the songs they would have mercilessly teased me for liking when we were teenagers!

I whip out these songs, because I like them, and they suit my voice, and they make me a bit different and quirky and in demand, but also because my love of music started with my mother and grandmother.

To be honest, apart from my Mum singing You Are My Sunshine to me every night at bedtime, I was originally a reluctant audience… in fact, I do recall many occasions when as a child, I would say to my Mum, “stop singing, Mummy”. And, when I was taking music lessons (organ, piano) my much older music teacher would select old songs that I thought were a bit daggy, only to have Mum say, “my Mum loved that song. Nanna loved that song”… and I started to sing them and like them. We are talking Scarlet Ribbons, Carolina Moon, and Goodnight Sweetheart amongst others. I also remember Mum and I singing together Que Sera Sera, Moon River, and I Could Have Danced All Night (from My Fair Lady).

Obviously our feelings for certain people can lead us to enjoy and appreciate certain songs, and I bet right now you are thinking of songs from your childhood (whether they were current hits or not), and let’s not forget how couples have a song they refer to as “our song”. Sometimes its possible for the way someone you care for loves a song, to cause you to love it.

I remember being in a choir competition when I was in primary school, our teacher had us sing Sally Gardens, I thought it was quite old fashioned and embarrassing (especially with the posh pronunciation of all the words she made us do)… we all had plums in our mouths! But my Mum, bless her, travelled all the way to the city to watch us in the competition and has the dearest memories of it, she loved it so much, that if I’m ever in trouble now, I just start singing Sally Gardens till her eyes mist over. “Down by the Sally Gardens, my true love did wait for me” fortunately is adequate since I don’t remember any of the other lyrics.

But here are the Top 10 Songs I borrowed from my Mother and Grandmother, that I truly enjoy singing today:

1. They Were You. This is great, very romantic, and if you aren’t familiar with it, check out Yvonne Williams on itunes.

2. Don’t Sit Under The Apple Tree (with anyone else but me) another WWII song that I adore. This is one of the best songs for my voice. I sometimes tease my Mum with it, she is in a weightwatchers group that has an apple tree competition, the names of the members are put on the tree, and removed one by one as they fail to lose weight (it sounds mean, I know) and sometimes Mum is doing well on the tree and doesn’t want to blow it, but we might be wanting a tasty snack together while out and I sing “don’t fall off the apple tree with anyone else but me”.

3. Java Jive. I often sing this in a medley with song number two and a couple of others. “I love coffee, I love tea, I love the java jive and it loves me” (although I love tea, I detest coffee… but the song is just too good!). I especially love “waiter waiter percolator”.

4. Buffalo Girl. Fell in love with the song the first time I watched It’s A Wonderful Life with my family.

5. Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone. Love it! I would even love it as a cheeky finish to my own funeral… if I can get anyone to agree to it.

6. Call Me Irresponsible. coz basically I am!

7. Baby It’s Cold Outside. A great duet… don’t get to sing this much because you can’t sing both sides of the argument on your own!

8. Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps. She might be on the brink of being jilted, but she’s saucy and pert.

9. Something Stupid. I am often heard singing this in the shower.

10. Dankachoen (okay probably spelt that wrong… you know what I mean, the Wayne Newton hit). Oh Ferris Bueller you naughty schoolboy, sing this to me in the shower, or in the big parade. Yes, I first heard this in the movie, but then as always, my relies say “I love that song”.

So are you going to tell me what your favourite songs from other generations are? I’d love to know, because I am a total audiophile!



4 responses »

  1. What a fun post! I started watching old movies in my teen years and have since grown an affinity to all sorts of tunes! Recently I have been into the old Standards listening to Michael Buble (He sings one of your favorites….Call Me Irresponsible). I have Ella Fitzgerald and Billy Holiday CDs which I adore too!

    Thank you for visiting my blog! I got a kick out of your car’s cup holder!!!! It feels good to have a car now that actually holds the cup…..what a concept! ~Val

    • I love Nina Simone and I did forget to put any of the songs from The Music Man in the post, which is one of the old musicals we love.

      I will be exceptionally happy when I finally get a car with a proper cup holder. This car we have, it must have been one of the first models to come with a cup holder, too bad they obviously didn’t test it with actual drinks….
      Happy driving to you, Val.

  2. Hi Starzyia, thank you for visitng my blog and your kind words. I loved your post about the ‘old songs’. I went to see a movie about the life of Joseph Locke a singer and I embaressed myself and all around me by knowing the lyrics to every song in the film because my Dad used to sing them in the shower each morning! This was a lovely reminder of that for me and as sister bloggers often do, you have prompted me to watch the film again and ask my Dad for a quick rendition! I will be a regular visitor here, now that I have found you. penny x

    • Hi Penny, its nice to meet you. I’m glad the post brought up treasured memories for you. Did you sing in the cinema? I was with a highschool friend once, and she sang out loud along with one of the songs (in Pretty Woman) and the usher came and stood behind her and leaned over until she noticed and stopped. But it was a shame really, since it was such a fun movie and it wasn’t overly crowded, I don’t think people minded that much. I bet everyone sings at The Sound Of Music dress up nights some cinemas have.

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