Syne Of The Times: Out With The Auld, In With The New

It's a "Lang" thang.

It’s a “Lang” thang.

It’s almost time for the New Year’s celebrations — time to be with friends and family and toast to 2014’s beginning, hopefully a good one at that. While tonight you’re gonna party like it’s 2013 (while it still is, of course!) one of the songs you’re bound to hear, whether on the television or sung by a crowd, is “Auld Lang Syne”. Popularized in a poem by Scottish writer Robert Burns in 1788, its use as a New Year’s anthem originates somewhere in the 20th century, even though the song itself is more about a general companionship and not exclusively about the holiday. As with any post on here, “Auld” has made its way onto the charts in several decades, so “take a cup of kindness yet” and sip on these songs:

“Christmas Auld Lang Syne”, Bobby Darin (#51, 1960)
After hits like “Dream Lover” and “Mack The Knife” the previous year, Darin charted with this around the holidays, which was the same melodically but with altered lyrics to create a more Christmas-themed record. The result was just a minor entry on the Hot 100, but he would be back in the top 40 a few months later with a cover of “(Up A) Lazy River”.

“Same Old Lang Syne”, Dan Fogelberg (#9, 1981)
Singer-songwriter Fogelberg’s first single from The Innocent Age was another of his tender ballads and went as high as #9 on the Hot 100. The song is based on the performer’s chance meeting with an old girlfriend on Christmas Eve in 1975. Most stations only play this song around the holidays nowadays, but truth be told, “Same” actually peaked in February.

“Auld Lang Syne (The Millenium Mix)”, Kenny G (#7, 2000)
Kenneth Gorelick made a name for himself with his saxophone in the 80’s and 90’s, and this rendition, which was mixed in with audio bits of significant 20th century events, was big. The album version ran almost eight minutes, and the edit was just under five. I heard this mix on the radio a total of one time, and that was one more time than I needed to hear it.

Beyond these three songs, there are a number of other songs that name-check “Auld” in their lyrics. One of the biggest came in 1999, when Will Smith rapped, “Get ready to hum “Auld Lang Syne” / ‘Cause a person that know the words is hard to find,” in one of his last top 40 (#25) hits, “Will 2K”. Plus, with many more covers from acts like the Beach Boys and Mariah Carey, you can get your fill and then some. Just consume responsibly.

Happy New Year to all you PGTC readers and see you in 2014!

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