Monday, December 31, 2018

Auld Lang Syne

From the archives - a repost from Bytes 2010:


As you see in the new year, joining crossed arms in a circle, you will no doubt either sing or hear Auld Lang Syne. It’s the traditional music for the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. 

Some info and trivia: 

  • It is a Scottish poem written by Robbie Burns (above) in 1788 and put to the melody of an old Scottish folk round. 
  • The poems's Scots title may be translated into standard English as "old long since" or "long long ago", "days gone by", or "old times". Consequently, "For auld lang syne", as it appears in the first line of the chorus, might be loosely translated as "for the sake of old time".
  • It has been commented that this is the most popular song that no one knows the lyrics to. 
  • The phrase “auld lang syne” was in use in the Scottish language well before the writing of this poem. It has been used by other authors, including the commencement of Scots fairy tales with the words “In the days of auld lang syne…” meaning “Once upon a time…” 
  • Part of the poem was collected by Burns and part written by him, he adding two verses. Burns sent a copy of the original song to the Scots Historical Museum with the omment “The following song, an old song, of the olden times, and which has never been in print, nor even in manuscript until I took it down from an old man."
  • Singing the song on Hogmanay or New Year's Eve very quickly became a Scots custom that spread to other parts of the British Isles. As Scots (and other Britons) emigrated around the world, they took the song with them. 
  • Bandleader Guy Lombardo played the song at midnight in 1929 at a New Year’s Eve party at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City. He had heard it sung by Scottish immigrants in London, Ontario, his hometown. After the 1929 performance it became a tradition for him to play it at New Year’s Eve every year, from where it was later broadcast on radio and then on television. This became so much a tradition that Life magazine commented that the American public would not believe that the new year had arrived unless they heard Guy Lombardo playing Auld Lang Syne. 

  • Glenn Miller and Guy Lombardo recorded the versions heard in films such as When Harry Met Sally and It's A Wonderful Life. 

  • In the movie When Harry Met Sally, just seconds after he successfully declares his love for Sally (Meg Ryan) at a New Year's Eve party, Harry (Billy Crystal), goes on a rant about this this song, saying: "My whole life, I don't know what this song means. It means 'Should old acquaintance be forgot.' Does that mean we should forget old acquaintances or does it mean that if we should happen to forget them, we should remember them which is not possible because we already forgot?"  Sally then replies: "Well maybe it just means that maybe we should remember that we forgot them or something. Anyway, it's about old friends."

Some celebrity versions of Auld Lang Syne: 

Susan Boyle: 

Rod Stewart: 

Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin: 

Red Hot Chilli Peppers: 

Al Jolson: 

Mariah Carey: 


The lyrics and the meanings: 

Should auld acquaintance be forgot, 
And never brought to mind? 
Should auld acquaintance be forgot, 
Will old friends and times be forgotten? 
And auld lang syne. 
And times gone by? 

Chorus: 

For auld lang syne, my dear, 
For auld lang syne, 
For times gone by 
We'll take a cup of kindness yet, 
We promise to remember those of the past with fondness 
For auld lang syne! 
For those times gone by. 

And surely ye'll be your pint-stowp, 
And surely you’ll buy your pint cup 
And surely I'll be mine, 
And surely I’ll buy mine 
And we'll tak a cup o kindness yet, 
We promise to remember those of the past with fondness 
For auld lang syne! 
For those times gone by. 

We twa hae run about the braes, 
We two have run about the hills 
And pou'd the gowans fine, 
And pulled up the daisies 
But we've wander'd monie a weary fit, 
But we’ve wondered many a weary way 
Sin auld lang syne. 
Since the days gone by. 

We twa hae paidl'd in the burn, 
We two have paddled in the stream 
Frae morning sun till dine, 
From morning to dusk 
But seas between us braid hae roar'd 
But big seas have roared between us 
Sin auld lang syne. 
Since the days gone by. 

And there's a hand my trusty fiere, 
Here’s my hand my trusty friend 
And gie's a hand o thine, 
And let me have yours. 
And we'll tak a right guid-willie waught, 
There is always time for old friends to get together, if 
not in person then in memory 
For auld lang syne. 
For days gone by.



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