Auld and New Lang Syne

 

The song most associated with the (western) New Year is a Scottish tune with lyrics coming from Scottish folk roots. The words, as we know them, come from Robert Burns. The poet claimed he had found the words, yet he most likely wrote a significant portion himself, riffing on older sources. Here, then are a series of recordings, from the dawn of voice recording to this year, so that we do not forget the old times in the rush of the new.

The earliest recording I found was from 1910, performed by Frank C. Stanley:

Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians came to own the song as their version played with the ball drop in New York City’s Times Square. Here is their 1947 recording:

The song has been used through the decades in movies, including (cuteness alert), Shirley Temple singing it in the 1937 movie Wee Willy Winkie.

“Auld Lang Syne was played at the handover of Hong Kong in 1997, a moment made new again in 2020. This was not quite the same as the British playing “The World Turned Upside Down” as they marched out surrendering Yorktown.

Proving the international appeal of the tune, we have a Norwegian singer, Sissel, performing on Swedish television a decade ago, and Latvians with an a cappella version. Since it started in Scotland, we must have a Scottish version, here from BBC Scotland in 2020, celebrating Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve). Earlier this year, I shared the 2020 recording by Lee Greenwood, The Singing Sergeants, and Home Range, of “God Bless the USA.” To close out my contributions to this post, I offer Home Range in 2018, and the women of the Army Field Band group HooahCappella, freshly recorded for this New Year’s Eve.

Share your own favorite, or least favorite version, or other New Year’s music.

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  1. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    This post is part of our Group Writing Series under the January 2021 Group Writing Theme: “Old and New.” Stop by soon, our schedule and sign-up sheet awaits.

    Interested in Group Writing topics that came before? See the handy compendium of monthly themes. Check out links in the Group Writing Group. You can also join the group to get a notification when a new monthly theme is posted.

    • #1
  2. Eustace C. Scrubb Member
    Eustace C. Scrubb
    @EustaceCScrubb

    It does seem every year I have to look up again what “auld lang syne” means…

    • #2
  3. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    I prefer the Irish-American/Russian-American connection:

    • #3
  4. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    EJHill (View Comment):
    I prefer the Irish-American/Russian-American connection:

    I watched part of Putin’s annual New Year’s message this afternoon. Does that count? (He didn’t look very festive.) 

    • #4
  5. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    The departure from Hong Kong made me feel sad. The lovely ladies acapella version made me feel hopeful.

    • #5
  6. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Beautiful, all except the Hong Kong transfer. The transfer leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Boy I miss Guy Lombardo on New Year’s Eve. We used to watch it every year. His show had class. He was certainly better than the J-Lo I had to suffer through last night. That was awful. 

    • #6
  7. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Manny (View Comment):

    Beautiful, all except the Hong Kong transfer. The transfer leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Boy I miss Guy Lombardo on New Year’s Eve. We used to watch it every year. His show had class. He was certainly better than the J-Lo I had to suffer through last night. That was awful.

    Thanks for the appreciation and warning. I was letting home-make (on a pizza stone) pizza settle in before a well-cured wood fire in the desert southwest with kindred spirits, watching professional grade (height and scale) individual initiative fireworks displays launched all around us, whilst slowly smoking a fine cigar. I could not be bothered to commit to watching New Year’s Day college bowl games, interlaced with leftist racist hate messages.

    • #7
  8. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    “The song most associated with the (western) New Year…”

    Most associated? You mean there’s more than one? I could name hundreds of Christmas songs, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard of any other New Year songs. And I guess Thanksgiving doesn’t get any songs at all. Or am I wrong?

    • #8
  9. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    @cliffordbrown, please check your PMs.

    • #9
  10. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    Larry3435 (View Comment):

    “The song most associated with the (western) New Year…”

    Most associated? You mean there’s more than one? I could name hundreds of Christmas songs, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard of any other New Year songs. And I guess Thanksgiving doesn’t get any songs at all. Or am I wrong?

    We wish you a merry Christmas and a . . .

    • #10
  11. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    Larry3435 (View Comment):

    “The song most associated with the (western) New Year…”

    Most associated? You mean there’s more than one? I could name hundreds of Christmas songs, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard of any other New Year songs. And I guess Thanksgiving doesn’t get any songs at all. Or am I wrong?

    “Over the River and through the Woods” was originally published as a Thanksgiving song. The hymn “We Gather Together to Ask the Lord’s Blessing” has been associated with Thanksgiving. “Come Ye Thankful People Come” is another hymn associated with Thanksgiving which speaks of God’s final harvest.

    • #11
  12. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Larry3435 (View Comment):

    “The song most associated with the (western) New Year…”

    Most associated? You mean there’s more than one? I could name hundreds of Christmas songs, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard of any other New Year songs. And I guess Thanksgiving doesn’t get any songs at all. Or am I wrong?

    You asked:

    • #12
  13. Caryn Thatcher
    Caryn
    @Caryn

    I rather like this version:

    • #13
  14. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Caryn (View Comment):

    I rather like this version:

    Yes, some pop stars have shown real singing chops.

    • #14
  15. Caryn Thatcher
    Caryn
    @Caryn

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Caryn (View Comment):

    I rather like this version:

    Yes, some pop stars have shown real singing chops.

    I just love the grand location and the bagpipes. I’m a sucker for bagpipes, especially outside and in large groups. The fireworks were nicely timed, too. Rod Steward fit nicely, too, though I wonder what he’d look like if he actually ever combed his hair.

    • #15