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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.Published in