There’s one thing we can say for sure about the changing taste of different decades. We might do it differently but we still do it. Party, I’m talking about, you smutty people. We humans have always loved a celebration. And no matter what we’re celebrating, that will definitely include music, and if at all possible we can all ‘get down and get with it’.
Here are a few playlist recommendations, depending on your era of choice.
If you fancy partying like it’s the 1740s, check out these bad boys, guaranteed to get you in the party mood as New Year comes around:
CPE Bach’s Harpsichord Concerto in A Major (There are not enough harpsichord concertos if you ask me.)
Thomas Arne’s Rule Britannia. I’ll admit this is not for everyone, especially if you’ve suffered under our oppressive yoke. Sorry about that. Blokes with a superiority complex, boats, flags and guns, what can you do? But it is a banging tune.
GF Handel’s Hercules Oratorio (no, I don’t know it either…)
CPE Bach’s Harpsichord Concertos in E and D minor, and in E major. I feel like CPE has got himself stuck in a rut here, but again, if you’re good at something, maybe it’s a good idea to stick with it.
And finally, Vitali’s Chaconne in G minor – a great end to a fabulous evening.
Or say you’re in the mood for something a little more modern, you could boogie down with my amateur sleuth Dottie Manderson and the best of them to these fabulous tunes from the 1930s:
My absolute favourite from the 1930s:
Midnight, The Stars and You. Such a romantic title, and romantic concept. What more does anyone need than those three things? This was brought to us by the Ray Nobel orchestra, featuring Al Bowlly (of course) on vocals. It was famously used in The Shining, and is the title of my next-but-one Dottie Manderson mystery, book 8 which should hopefully appear either at the end of 2022 or the middle of 2023.
Let’s not forget also, other 1930s crowd-pleasers such as Stormy Weather (another wonderful and evergreen song) by Leo Reissman and his orchestra and with Ethel Waters singing .
Then you could move on to Night and Day, a Cole Porter song from 1933, I love the Ella Fitzgerald version.
Or you might like another one by Al Bowlly – how about The Very Thought of You. another romantic one for close-up smooching in dim lighting. Ah!!
And you could round the evening off with a rousing chorus of one of the follwoing:
Judy Garland – Somewhere Over The Rainbow
Cab Calloway – Minnie the Moocher (not as good as his late-life version as per The Blues Brothers, in my opinion.)
Artie Shaw – Begin the Beguine – another perennial favourite, I absolutely love this one. Or if you want a different approach to this classic, you could try the really wonderful Louis Armstrong version…
These Foolish Things – the Benny Goodman/Teddy Wilson version with Billie Holiday.
Not quite right for your bash? How about something from the 1960s? Get your beehive hair-dos and drainpipes ready…
Now you can really have some variety – try putting together a list featuring some of these great 60s tunes:
Daydream Believer – The Monkees
Concrete and Clay – Unit 4 + 2
Always Something There To Remind Me – Sandie Shore
Natural Born Bugie – Humble Pie
Nights in White Satin – Moody Blues
I Only Want To Be With You – Dusty Springfield
Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow – The Shirelles
Yeh Yeh – Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames
Do You Love Me – the Tremeloes
Maybe that’s a bit too up-to-the-minute for you and you want something a bit classier? How about some great dance music from the Regency era? This is the era that invented line-dancing, albeit somewhat more stately than we have now:
Let’s open with the amazing Beethoven piece for piano, Für Elise. That’ll really get ’em all out on the dancefloor.
Then next, maybe we’ll shake things up a bit with a singalong, the opera Adelina by Generali and Rossi
Or maybe an excerpt from an opera by Beethoven – he was The Man in the early 1810s, with Schubert close behind. This might be the perfect moment to play a bit from Symphony number 8 in F major. Let’s all hum along with the chorus…
For a bit of slow dancing with your beloved, you can’t beat Schubert’s String Quartet in C major.
Due to the rather lengthy nature of this kind of music, we’ll leave it there, closing the evening’s entertainment with Ferdinand Ries’s bestselling top-twenty hit, Concerto for Two Horns. (Admit it, you were missing the concertos, weren’t you?)
One thing is for sure, since time immemorial, humans have loved to come together to celebrate something–anything–and that has included music, dancing, big frocks, bigger hair and quite possibly alcohol.
Happy New Year! May 2022 be everything you long for. Just go easy on the resolutions.