Making It Up As We Go Along (Day 193)

On the next to last day of Project 194, another song that’s very close to my heart. I wrote this for a revue that D’Arcy and I created called Happily Ever After, a collection of songs about married life, mostly by other composers. We had big fun performing it here and there, most memorably in the conservatory at Longwood Gardens one summer evening on our wedding anniversary. We got asked to perform it on a few special occasions, including a tribute to Bob Doss, the minister at the First Unitarian Church in Wilmington, and at the wedding of our dear friends Stretch Wesolowski and Lucy Siegel. And then we incorporated it into the cabaret version of Watch The Birdie, the one we did at Don’t Tell Mama in NYC and The Bourse in Philly, with Harvey Price on drums and some very fancy sequencing on my trusty DX-7 to fill out the arrangement. That’s the version you’ll hear on this track.

The idea of married life as an improvisation seems to be a really powerful metaphor, and the lyric “following the changes” has multiple layers of meaning for someone who’s both a musician and a traveler on life’s journey. D’Arcy and I have been married now for 35 years, and I’ve been married for considerably more years than not. The decision to marry was one of the biggest we ever made, and I’ve returned to the subject again and again in my songs to re-examine that decision, but I always come to the same conclusion: it was the smartest and best thing I ever did, and it’s one of the most important reasons that I grew up and became the person I am now.

Although I’d had it in my head for weeks that I wanted this to be my penultimate post, somehow I forgot that I’d already posted this song months ago, back on Day 90! This is what happens with a project of this scope, I suppose – sometimes, you get mixed up. I fixed it, though, by replacing my Day 90 offering with another marriage song, Talk It Through, featuring D’Arcy and Gregg Edelman back in 1984 in my musical BGDF. By all means, check it out!

SHE (reading from a child’s book): ”One kiss from the princess was all it took to break the evil witch’s spell. In the blink of an eye, the frog was changed back into a prince, and what a handsome prince he was! “Fair maiden,” he said, “how can I ever thank you for what you have done?” The princess did not dare to ask what was truly in her heart, but somehow, the prince knew, and the next day, the sound of joyful bells announced to the whole kingdom that they had become husband and wife. And they lived happily ever after.” (closing book) Now goodnight, sweetheart. 

Mama closed the fairy tale 
And Baby closed her eyes 
Dreaming of a future 
Without sorrow or surprise. 
Till a prince appeared to her 
To wake her from her bliss 
And her eyes were opened with a kiss.
What did she see then? 

The castle was a hassle, 
And she found, to her distress, 
The prince was none too charming 
And the kingdom was a mess. 
Soon she came to realize 
That the stories and the lullabies were wrong. 
Time to improvise, I guess!  

Making it up as we go along… 
Oh, what a drama! 
Dear Mama, I think you were wrong.
Go astray at times we may, 
But we’re still going strong. 
We just keep making it up as we go along.

HE: Love songs should be easy songs, 
Or so I once supposed. 
After I got married, though, 
I couldn’t get composed. 
Following the changes 
Made it tough to stay in tune. 
Some times the music seemed to end to soon. 
When we raised our voices, 
It was not in song, I fear,
Till we stopped to listen, 
And began, at last, to hear. 
Ever after, happily, 
There’s a different sort of symphony you find
When you learn to play by ear!  

Making it up as we go along… 
Sorry, my friend, 
But I don’t know the end of the song. 
But if we stay in harmony, 
We can’t go too far wrong. 
We’ll just keep making it up as we go along.

BOTH
Making it up as we go along… 
Sorry, my friend, 
But I don’t know the end of the song. 
But if we stay in harmony, 
We can’t go too far wrong. 
We’ll go on making it 
If we keep faking it.
We’ll just keep making it up as we go along.

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