The anxiety of influence

Is there a torch song that laments the coming of Spring? This time of year, if you’re tuned to the right stations, you may well find yourself listening to Ella Fitzgerald’s unforgettable rendition of “Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most.” The song is a buried treasure on Ella’s 1961 quartet-backed jazz set “Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie!” (I love the Amazon review that rates it “50,000 stars.”) It represents one of the many summits of Ella’s artistry. Here are the lyrics:

Spring this year has got me feeling
Like a horse that never left the post.
I lie in my room
Staring up at the ceiling.
Spring can really hang you up the most.
Morning’s kiss wakes trees and flowers,
And to them I’d like to drink a toast.
But I walk in the park
Just to kill the lonely hours.
Spring can really hang you up the most.
All afternoon the birds twitter-twitt.
I know the tune. This is love, this is it.
Heard it before
and don’t I know the score.
And I’ve decided that spring is a bore.
Love seems sure around the new year.
Now it’s April. Love is just a ghost.
Spring arrived on time,
Only what became of you, dear?
Spring can really hang you up the most.
Spring can really hang you up the most.

Hey, it only took three verses and a chorus to clue us in to the reason for the sorrows of Spring. Once the reason is disclosed, however, the song digs a little deeper into the seasonal theme:

College boys are writing sonnets
In their tender passion they

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