Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Lyrics: "Love Isn't Born, It's Made" by Frank Loesser

Thank Your Lucky Stars was the most entertaining of the all-star musical revues the movie studios turned out during WWII; Warner Brothers' decision to have its stars play against type -- Bette Davis trying to sing, Errol Flynn as a Cockney bragging about wars he never actually fought in (parodying the fact that Flynn made war movies but didn't go to war), Humphrey Bogart playing himself as a wimp and Eddie Cantor playing himself as a vain egomaniac -- makes for kind of a post-modern musical showcase. It also has some terrific songs by an unusual composer-lyricist team: composer Arthur Schwartz (best known for his songs with Howard Dietz, like "Dancing in the Dark" and "I Love Louisa") and lyricist Frank Loesser, who was just on the verge of making the switch to writing his own music.

As Loesser's career went on, his lyrics would get simpler and more pared-down, with relatively few rhymes and a lot of repetition. It may be heresy, but I think some of his later scores, like The Most Happy Fella and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, have lyrics that are rather dull: efficient, well-crafted, but not all that memorable. In the '40s, though, working as a lyricist only, his work had a lot of verve to it, colloquial and sophisticated at the same time. My favourite song from the score (apart from the big hit "They're Either Too Young Or Too Old," the definitive "homefront" song), is "Love Isn't Born, It's Made, sung by Ann Sheridan -- who had a good singing voice and should have gotten to do more musicals at Warners -- in what appears to be some kind of girls' dormitory setting.

"Love Isn't Born, It's Made"

Verse

GIRLS
Here is a book enormous
On how to conduct our lives.
Everything will come to one who waits.
But how long must a lady wait for dates?
Somebody please inform us
Exactly how love arrives?

ANN
You've got to join in the chase yourself.
Now, here's my story, so brace yourself:

Refrain

Love isn't born
On a beautiful April morn,
Love isn't born,
It's made.
And that's why ev'ry window has a window-shade.
Love can't do much
For a couple who don't quite touch;
Love needs a chance
To advance.
And that's why folks who never care for dancing, dance.
So, my precious young dove,
If you're waiting for love,
Better make the most of your charms,
'Cause the feeling won't start
In the gentleman's heart
Till you're in the gentleman's arms.
Love isn't born,
That's a fable to treat with scorn,
Let's call a spade
A spade.
When he says, "Dear, come up and see my antique jade,"
Remember, love isn't born, it's made.

Interlude

GIRLS
How true, how true, how very, very true,
It's all a game.
How wise, how wise, how very, very wise
To fan the flame.
That old "Prince Charming" story was a fake;
The Sleeping Beauty must have been awake.
You've got us all believing in you.
Continue, please, continue!

Refrain 2

ANN
Love has to climb,
It's can't suddenly ring that chime;
Time, sister, time
Is short.
You'll find there's no partition in a davenport.
Love doesn't act
Till the cards are extremely stacked;
Here is a fact
To face:
A man won't take a taxi just to get no place.
So, my precious young dove,
If you're dreaming of love,
Better lead him into the trap,
For you'll never remain
On the gentleman's brain
Till you're on the gentleman's lap.
Love won't exist
If you constantly slap that wrist;
Right off his list
You'll fade.
So don't go crying wolf at ev'ry gay young blade,
And when you walk alone and forlorn
And then you hear a Cadillac horn,
Remember, love isn't born,
It's made.


2 comments:

Michael Shepley said...

Thanks for publishing these lyrics. I too love that song and Ann Sheridan's singing of it. I'm going to attempt to get the sheet music and possibly sing it myself in a cabaret evening. I'll have to see if it works coming from a male -- he could be advising these young girls, but it might be more logical from an older woman.

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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