Silver threads among the gold,
you, my dear, are growing old
My father was born 90 + 1 years ago this week. And, no doubt, a rousing chorus of “Silver Threads Among the Gold” would be offered up in celebration [if he could return for the party].
You see, my father had a penchant for late 19th and early 20th century songs. In his versions, however, lyrics spun out with a nod, nod, wink, wink.
Take “Silver Threads Among the Gold” for example. First copyrighted in 1873 (lyrics by Eben E. Rexford, and music by Hart Pease Danks), the song became a barbershop quartet standard.
Anecdotal back story: Danks requested lyrics from Rexford, offering to pay $3. a song. Rexford submitted 9 poems and received a check for $18.
“Rexford first heard the song when a company of Oneida Indians gave a concert in Shiocton, Wisconsin,” thus resolving the issue of whether it had been accepted or rejected. Wikipedia.
The actual chorus lyrics:
Darling, I am growing old,
Silver threads among the gold, . . .
Yes, my darling, you will be
Always young and fair to me.
Or another Dad standard:
She was only a bird in a gilded cage,
But, oh, what a bird was she . . .
Usurped from Bird in a Gilded Cage
She’s only a bird in a gilded cage,
A beautiful sight to see.
You may think she’s happy and free from care,
She’s not, though she seems to be.
Tis sad when you think of her wasted life
For youth cannot mate with age;
And her beauty was sold for an old man’s gold,
She’s a bird in a gilded cage.
The ballroom was filled with fashion’s throng,
It shone with a thousand lights;
And there was a woman who passed along,
The fairest of all the sights.
A girl to her lover then softly sighed,
There’s riches at her command.
But she married for wealth, not for love, he cried!
Though she lives in a mansion grand.
I stood in a churchyard just at eve,
When sunset adorned the west;
And looked at the people who’d come to grieve
For loved ones now laid at rest.
A tall marble monument marked the grave
Of one who’d been fashion’s queen;
And I thought, she is happier here at rest,
Than to have people say when seen:
“One of the most popular songs of 1900, [Bird in a Gilded Cage] (lyrics by Arthur J. Lamb, music by Harry Von Tilzer, 1899) reportedly [sold] more than two million copies of sheet music” and was literally a tear-jerker. Von Tilzer while working “out a melody at a piano in a public house with some friends, noticed that many of the girls nearby were crying, which convinced him the song could be a hit.” Wikipedia
Happy Birthday, Dad.
Leafs made the playoffs (for awhile)!
And, you don’t wanna know about the Blue Jays . . .
This is not quite my father’s rendition of Silver Threads Among the Gold.
This episode of the Muppet Show first aired on February 24, 1979. That year, my parents had run away from home; in fact, left the country! As he was very much enamored of Miss Piggy, I’m sure he saw it in reruns.
A riff (nod, nod, wink, wink) on tale weaver 222: the opportunities of old age