Wonderful Tunes Provided By Friends. Wild Tangents Provided By Me.

Sammy’s version of “Blame It On My Youth”  appears on the 1961 album “Wham of Sam.” Unfortunately I can’t find Sammy’s version of that song. So here he is doing another lovely but somber ballad “Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me).” It looks like it might have been close to the same time period.

Oscar Levant was quite a prolific composer. A few of his tunes made the hit parade but, as Frank said, only “Blame It On My Youth” became a jazz standard. Oscar was really much better known as a radio and television humorist. He was infamous for his hilariously baudy comments which often aired uncensored on live TV. He was a deeply troubled and insecure man who used his personal struggles in his comedy act. I think his sadness is well reflected in the song as well. Here’s a Connie Francis’ version of “Blame It On My Youth.”

Though the word “Youth” in this song means age and inexperience with the ways of love, I have been thinking of the title a lot as I watch “Ken Burns’ Jazz” documentary. So far it seems that almost all of the greatest legends in jazz music had epically terrible childhoods! I begin to think perhaps genius does not equal madness so much as it equals bad childhood and the madness is just a by product for many. I haven’t studied the bios of many comedians but I’ve heard that they often suffer similar turmoil.When my daughter grows up I think I’ll know I’ve done my job well if I can say “Well at least she’s not a jazz or comic legend!”


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