This week’s song is one of greatest pop standards in American culture. “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows” was first recorded in 1918, and many, many people have recorded this vaudeville hit over the years. The melody is based on Chopin’s Fantaisie-Impromptu in c-sharp minor, which was originally composed in 1834.
The popular music of America prior to 1918 doesn’t generally show much sadness or melancholy in its lyrics, but with the advent of World War I, you start to see the songs change. Lyrics of about missing/losing a loved one unexpectedly, bad luck, and the change of trying to keep farms and families together after their sons have been to war. Today’s song is about that never ending search to keep fighting for your dreams even when your luck is against you. It’s a beautiful song, and after working with it over the months to prepare for this tour I really enjoy performing it.
Here’s the original 1918 recording of the song, performed by Charles W. Harrison. The second video included in today’s post is of the Chopin’s Fantaisie Impromptu played by Arthur Rubenstein, one of the greatest pianists of the 20th Century (he was also considered one of the greatest interpreters of Chopin’s works as well). You’ll hear the melody starting after the “Largo” section, about a minute into the piece. Enjoy!