There is apparently a diabolical law regarding Ethics Alarms that the more trivial a subject is, the more likely I will screw it up, or it will be a hoax, or something else. The previous post, chiding GEICO for allowing the lyrics of “You Make Me Feel So Young” to be massacred by Peter Pan in its current TV ad is an epic example.
First, I posted a video of Sinatra singing the song as an example of the right way. It is hard to find a video of anyone BUT Sinatra singing it, for he made it one of his standards. Then LoSonnambulo, a frequent commenter here, properly chides me for using a crooner who regularly changed lyrics as the paragon of lyrical certitude. Yes, that’s pretty stupid. Thus I resolve to change the embedded video, and what do I find? I find that the non-English, slangy abomination, “You make me feel so young, You make me feel so spring has sprung” did not originate with GEICO, or Peter Pan, but Frank Sinatra, who sang the polluted lyric in the earliest recording I could find. It appears to be his invention.
It gets worse. Because Frank sung it like that, everybody started doing it: Ella Fitzgerald, Rosemary Clooney, Jack Jones, everybody. It’s the wrong lyric, damn it!
But I can hardly blame GEICO for not fixing the version in its ad when most who are familiar with the Sinatra version think those are the lyrics.
UPDATE (4:00 AM): ARRGH! I just woke up with the song in my head, and realized what Frank was doing, or thought he was doing, with this lyric change. Since I know the correct lyric, I assumed that substituting “so” for “as though” or “like” meant that “so” was supposed to mean “as though” or “like” and so doesn’t mean “as though” or “like,” which is why I also assumed this was some kind of Jersey slang. But no! Frank altered the lyrics more than I realized. What his version is, is a parallel construction comparison:
You make me feel so young,
You make me feel so “Spring has sprung!”
In Frank’s version, “Spring has sprung” is presented as a synonym for “young,” as it replaces “young.” In the original, “You make me feel as though Spring has sprung” is a related but separate thought, as it should be, because feeling young and feeling like it’s Spring are not the same thing. If they were, then so would make lyrical sense. For example, if I write the a song that goes,
You make me feel so old,
You make me feel so Spanish gold…
That works, because Spanish gold is old. But Spring springing isn’t young. It’s a bad lyric change. It makes the song worse.
Nonetheless, I suppose that a singer who didn’t know the real lyrics, and maybe even a listener, would hear the song as making sense, sort of.
Maybe I can get back to sleep now.