Happy Birthday, Nelson! Listen to him sing. Share your memories here…
It was 111 years ago today that Nelson Eddy was born. Hard to believe…but thank goodness that his talent and legacy will not be forgotten. New generations continue to discover his films and music. We want to know how it was for those of you fortunate enough to have seen him in his prime, or to have experienced his films when they first burst onto the silver screen. Yes, we will remember!
Here is some of his music for you to listen to or download. First, the haunting “Through the Years”, a song so typical of his constant search to sing songs with deeper meanings than audiences knew. For the last 14 years of his life, traveling with his nightclub act, there was always one song that was privately sung to the woman he considered “his wife”, Jeanette MacDonald. He could never publicly proclaim that love but that didn’t stop him from taking a “private” moment on stage, with lights dimmed and a spotlight on him, to perform a deeply emotional song whose lyrics proclaimed that even into old age, his feelings would never change.
Next, we present an operatic aria that shows Nelson’s talent in that medium, the “Toreador Song” from Carmen. He spent over ten years in his early career as an opera singer and learned over 30 roles. Nelson’s only foray into vaudeville was in 1929 when he performed excerpts from Carmen to movie audiences who had come to see a William Haines film. Nelson also sang Carmen excerpts in his movie Balalaika and live at the Hollywood Bowl.
Nelson loved the Russian language and even wrote a movie biopic of the great Russian singer Feodor Chaliapin. Nelson had hoped to star in the movie both as Chaliapin and as a young Nelson Eddy starting his career and meeting his idol.In “Song of the Volga Boatman” we hear Nelson not only singing in Russian but the great power and control he had over his voice.
Finally, we come to Maytime which was Jeanette MacDonald’s favorite of her films. For Nelson, this movie was also special. When asked what his favorite duet was with Jeanette he answered that it was a number subsequently cut from Maytime: “Farewell to Dreams”. Once again, the lyrics of this haunting song seemed to mirror his personal life with Jeanette. Most fans will count among their favorites the duet that did make it into the film, “Will You Remember.” Yes, Nelson, we will remember. Happy Birthday!
June 29, 2012 @ 1:33 am
Happy Birthday Nelson, you and your Jen will be in my heart forever. You were the epitome of singing and acting.
June 29, 2012 @ 4:34 am
Happy Birthday to Isabel’s baby boy. Love you Nelson, your voice lives on!
June 29, 2012 @ 5:11 am
Happy Birthday Nelson never forgotten you and Jeanette are the two brightest stars in the sky. x
June 29, 2012 @ 7:55 am
HAPPY BIRTHDAY ..WE WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER YOU..THAT GOLDEN VOICE ..BUT BEYOND THE VOICE WAS THE DEPTHS FROM WHICH YOU SANG..YOUR HEART AND SOUL..THANK YOU FOR ALL THE BEAUTY AND JOY YOU GIVE IS AND STILL DO TO THIS DAY!!
June 29, 2012 @ 10:59 am
Happy Birthday! I miss you.
June 29, 2012 @ 12:04 pm
Happy Birthday, Nelson! Thank you for all the BEAUTIFUL music you and Jeanette gave us back then and that we still can enjoy so much today. You truly were the “Singing Sweethearts”!
June 29, 2012 @ 2:49 pm
Happy birthday Nelson!! Your talent and care for the people around you was tremendous!! May we always have your music 🙂
June 30, 2012 @ 10:59 am
I’m 58 now and love singing. My mom is 85 and loved all the Nelson & Jeanette movies, so I had a great exposure to their music.
As Nelson’s “Willie the Whale”, I’m sure Nelson is still singing his gifts with other angels. May he rest in peace and I thank God for giving him such a beautiful voice (and looks!!)
July 1, 2012 @ 7:43 am
Am also 58 and my mom is 85 too! And we love watching Nelson’s movies too! Their movies and scenes and music are magic.
July 4, 2012 @ 7:24 am
For Nelson (sorry it’s late, I’ve been traveling):
The Faithful Journey
Little boy lost by life’s tempest tossed;
deep ocean waves broke in your eyes.
In the cold, quite night, did you waken in fright
and tremble to find you’re alone?
With the snow piled deep, did you fall back to sleep
with a song on your lips soft and low?
Did it comfort and warm till the gray dawning morn
and stir to the depth of your soul?
And on that bleak winter night, came a shimmering light,
a mystical dream reborn.
All through this life, through sorrow and strife;
through joy, toil, temperance and pain
the dream was well kept, the promise fair met,
by the song’s lovely, longing refrain.
When the last note was sung, the work here all done;
eternity beckoned, make haste!
Were you happy to fly to a welcoming sky,
free from earth’s ever binding constraint?
In the warm spring night air, did an angel you hear,
gently calling your name as a prayer?
Did you answer her then, your voices to blend,
as she tenderly gathered you near?
When your hands gently met, you could never forget,
your fingers did swiftly entwine.
And on that bright summer day, with the world swept away,
the shimmering light all around, you laughed with delight
and pressed your dream tight, the journey at last at its end.