Yes, once again it’s time for end-of-the-year rituals. Maybe you come up with the type of resolutions that help gyms make a fortune from people who join and never show up. Or perhaps you scour critics’ lists of “10 Best” or “10 Worst” lists of the year’s movies, TV shows, political scandals, etc. Some families have charming New Year’s traditions. When I was a kid, we would eat chocolate fondue, drink Andre Cold Duck (hey, I was 8, I thought it was classy) and watch old Abbott & Costello movies (on a projector my mom borrowed from the school where she taught — this was way before DVDs and videos, although despite my own kids’ rude comments about how old I am, it was WAY after one-room schoolhouses). When my own kids were little, I would let them watch the televised countdown from Times Square. (Of course, when they were younger, I was able to convince them that midnight in New York was the same in California, thus enabling me to get them to bed at 9 p.m. Which was not intended to get back at them for the “Mom, you’re old” teasing… but I digress.)
My earliest comedy-song-writing influence was Tom Lehrer’s great album, That Was The Year That Was (hold on, you’ll see how it relates). I wanted to reference that album in relation to this week’s song, but in researching which year he’d meant (which turns out to be mostly 1964, although the album was released in 1965), I learned that he had been the resident songwriter for performers on the U.S. version of a British weekly TV program, That Was The Week That Was, and the record featured Lehrer finally performing those songs himself. So weekly comedy songs are part of a long tradition!
Anyway, as inspired by Mr. Lehrer, here’s a musical recap of the year’s highs and lows, or as some might say, “from the sublime to the ridiculous.” Happy New Year!