4/5/18 – Sixty Years On The Planet Earth – The September Of My Years – Frank Sinatra – 1965

Song Of The Day

Life & Death

On May 7th 2018 I will be sixty years old. It seems that each decade is some kind of landmark achievement and the more decades that go by the larger the gap is supposed to grow between you and your or anyone else’s youth. In my case obviously, married to a girl much younger than me, this simply isn’t true and the idea that people need to be approximately the same age to converse, to share a happy life together seems rather misguided. But that is another issue, reaching sixty as a musician has some bearing on the gap between the later years and youth. If I go and see Robin Trower and stand at the back almost everyone in front of me has grey hair, if it’s Bon Iver no-one does. Personally, I like them both, I can’t quite see why one would attract young people and the other old people? I could see why one would attract guitar fans and the other arty songwriters but are those different tastes really defined by age – or is it in fact defined by image? Is it exposure, is it each generation feeding its own people its moral and philosophical agenda. Was I condemned not to like Frank because of Lemmy?

Frank Sinatra sang The September Of My Years beautifully, he would be fifty that year. It was a song composed by legendary songwriters Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn in 1965. I was 7 when it was released as the title track to Frank’s album of the same name orchestrated by Gordon Jenkins and nominated for a Grammy as song of the year. It didn’t win, losing out to Jerry Herman’s Hello Dolly, performed by Louis Armstrong. Best new artist that year was The Beatles. That was the year the Beatles released Help and Rubber Soul and the confusing Beatles VI in America, the second last of the alternate titled and alternate tracked American Beatles releases before Yesterday And Today, the album that was originally released with the controversial ‘Butcher’ album cover. Later that year in 1966, Revolver would be released and the studio albums remained the same both in the US and UK markets until the band broke up in 1970. Interestingly, the year following, The Beatles would win Song Of The Year with Michelle and Frank would win Record Of The Year with Strangers In The Night, despite their generational differences they were obviously very aware of each other. Frank went on to sing Something and was known to credit it incorrectly to Lennon and McCartney instead of Harrison – details, details.

But I digress or do I, after all I am nearly sixty and that may slow my senses or my need to get to the point. Patience might be beneficial as the point of all this becomes apparent – rushing to the end might expose impulse over wisdom. What I wish to show is that age really is a state of mind and as shown by the sentiment of this album in 1965 if you were fifty – you were old! The whole album is about growing old, reminiscing about the glorious days of youth – at sixty I don’t feel this way.

The September Of My Years
Songwriters: Jimmy Van Heusen, Sammy Cahn

One day you turn around and it’s summer
Next day you turn around and it’s fall
And the springs and the winters of a lifetime
Whatever happened to them all?

As a man who has always had the wand’ring ways
Now I’m reaching back for yesterdays
‘Til a long-forgotten love appears
And I find that I’m sighing softly as I near
September, the warm September of my years

As I man who has never paused at wishing wells
Now I’m watching children’s carousels
And their laughter’s music to my ears
And I find that I’m smiling gently as I near
September, the warm September of my years

The golden warm September of my years

For me at sixty, my enthusiasm for life and adventure continues. When I married Olivia, her age only entered my mind superficially, it was the woman she was that led me to marry her just 17 months after meeting her. One of the best decisions of my life.
At sixty I feel the onslaught of physical difficulties that happen to everyone – knees mainly, but they hurt in my thirties. My hair remains intact with streaks of grey, my mental energy sometimes exceeds the need to sleep, there is simply not enough hours in the day as I continue to be interested in many things, not just music, languages, films, books, making records, writing songs, performing live, collecting records, but staying healthy in mind and body whilst keeping an eye on the world as it passes by, trying not to be cynical or depressed about it all, finding solace in love for those closest to me and not being too distracted by the dross careering towards me in the internet generation. To think that we were given such an amazing tool with infinite knowledge, how could we refuse such a gift, except there was a catch – drudging through infinite crap to get to the infinite knowledge. Perhaps it really was better before, having to hunt down the gems in less of a minefield of mindless distraction.

It Was A Very Good Year
Songwriters: Antonio Carlos Jobim, David John Gledhill

When I was seventeen
It was a very good year
It was a very good year for small town girls
And soft summer nights
We’d hide from the lights
On the village green
When I was seventeen

When I was twenty-one
It was a very good year
It was a very good year for city girls
Who lived up the stair
With all that perfumed hair
And it came undone
When I was twenty-one

When I was thirty-five
It was a very good year
It was a very good year for blue-blooded girls
Of independent means
We’d ride in limousines
Their chauffeurs would drive
When I was thirty-five

But now the days are short
I’m in the autumn of the year
And now I think of my life as vintage wine
From fine old kegs
From the brim to the dregs
And it poured sweet and clear
It was a very good year

Living longer is just one of the advantages of the modern age. That is unless you overdo it with all those temptations pushed on you by the corporations – you know ciggies and booze, but apart from the tragedy of an accident, disease or random violence my generation is perhaps the first that didn’t have life on the line through extraneous circumstances. I didn’t have to join the army, conscription ended in England in the early sixties, there were no wars to be called up for if you were born in the fifties – my generation might just be allowed to live a long and healthy life. Aliens didn’t invade, zombies aren’t real.

How Old Am I?
Songwriter: Gordon Jenkins

How old am I, I’m old enough to know
The difference between infatuation
And a love that has a chance to grow

How old am I, I’m not too old to hear
The sweet ring of truth and understanding
When the words I love you reach my ear

Don’t mind these lines beneath my eyes
They’re well earned souvenirs
Of a thousand nights of laughter
And occasional tears
And I hope you won’t be jealous
Of the silver in my hair
It took many lover’s quarrels
To put it there

How old am I, you kiss me and I’m young
Love’s a road never traveled
Life’s a song I’ve never sung
If I make you happy today
I’m the perfect age
As for tomorrow turn the page

When you reach sixty, you get a rather bigger cheer than at any other age, thirty is big, sure, but sixty, well next is seventy and that is the age when you’re looking at your coffin catalogue, booking your plot, making sure your will is in order – isn’t it? My next recording project on this planet will be the new Noctorum album The Afterlife – I don’t believe in the afterlife as such, I’m more interested in the legacy, passing on the information, preserving the music for posterity, passing on knowledge through the Songwriting & Guitar sessions. Investing in the In Deep Music Archive and by the way as I’m sixty, people want to know what I want for my birthday – well anything here:

http://amzn.eu/iav4LQZ

Thank you in advance. I have started to add to this list to remember that conversation I had with someone who recommended something or because I read about something, saw or heard something. I never go into a record store wondering what I’m actually looking for. It’s hard for me to hold onto cash because of this list – I’m still waiting for that entrepreneur to donate a building and secure the archive’s future.

It’s been and going to be an even busier year and as the future comes hurtling towards me I will be posting about lots of other projects, appearances and plans – music and writing. To finish, all I can say is that I highly recommend aging gracefully whilst keeping the child inside of you alive and for me, I still have October, November and December. Keep exploring, lay off the poisons and love one another. Only do what your gut says, otherwise you may find out too late and as John Lennon said (via Allen Saunders 1957) “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/September_of_My_Years

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Sinatra

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3 Responses to “4/5/18 – Sixty Years On The Planet Earth – The September Of My Years – Frank Sinatra – 1965”

  1. walnutriver May 4, 2018 at 7:47 pm #

    Great article. The interplay with aging, wisdom, awareness, consciousness?, with music was very nice…
    -Jim 29P,CA

  2. Lan-julie May 5, 2018 at 7:54 am #

    Marty you are an amazing writer. And with your writing, thank you for infusing your thoughts with the lyrics of these fantastic songs. The arrangements of these songs was an art unto itself in the history of vinyl recordings.
    I am always impressed by your knowledge, open mindedness and how you constantly share your information…. and talent.
    On the subject of talent— really there is no “age”. The music industry tries to put everything in a box, including age. But is a Warhol still a Warhol no matter how old the artist was when he painted it? Picasso at 20 or Picasso at 80? Johnny Cash? James Brown? Frank Sinatra? Talent transcends all and an artist will continue to create until their last breath. And it is people like you that share your talent and inspire people like us. A very Happy Birthday to you, my friend.

  3. simone May 7, 2018 at 6:34 am #

    I always found It Was A Very Good Year to be rather wistful. When I used to hear the song growing up I could picture in my mind an elderly gentleman surrounded by photographs of his youth. It used to make me cry. I feel nostalgic and I’m only 47. I know Della Reese recorded a version from the female perspective but it wasn’t nearly as successful as Sinatra’s version reaching only #99 in the charts.I wonder why it seems more ‘heartbreaking’ from the male perspective?

    On a personal note, I can’t quite believe you’re already turning 60 Marty. I can still remember watching you on Countdown and you were barely 23! Where has the time gone?
    Marty ,I wish you all the very best on your 60th birthday with lots of love xx:)

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