Words and Music by Jack Lawrence & Alstone
Some Of The Best Recordings
For sheet music contact: www.halleonard.com
The Story Behind The Song
In 1945 as World War II was winding down, returning GI's brought back stories of their experiences, along with mementos and songs such as "Lili Marlene." The soldiers who had operated in France came back singing and whistling a French tune: "Symphonie — C'est Fini!" The American rights to publish this song were acquired by Chappell Music and I — also recently out of the service, was asked to write the English lyric since I had done similar jobs on other French tunes. My high school French hardly qualified me as a translator so my usual procedure was to familiarize myself with the melody, ignore the French lyric and let the music dictate what I would create in English. I decided "Symphony" was a strong, attractive title and wrote a fitting story.
I recall that the first recording with my lyric was by a handsome, young GI named Johnny Desmond who had recently returned to the states. Johnny had made an impact with the service men in Europe as vocalist with Glenn Miller's army orchestra and was quickly signed up by RCA Victor Records. This first recording made Johnny an overnight star and "Symphony" topped the charts and led the Hit Parade for many a week.
The composer was, I believe, an Austrian Jew who fortunately had escaped the holocaust and via France had come to America. His name was Al Stone but to give himself some foreign flavor, he billed his name as "Alstone". I would meet him at various music pubs offices after "Symphony" became an enormous hit, he would play me more of his melodies but none ever struck my fancy. I do recall that he had one other published song that got a bit of a play, "Sonata." He probably would have continued writing songs with titles like "Rhapsody," "Prelude," "Intermezzo," etc. had he been successful.
In that golden era of radio, big bands and their great vocalists, "Symphony" was widely performed. The song has an easy range with wonderful musical climaxes that can show off a singer's voice to its best advantage.
Copyright © 2005 Jack Lawrence. All Rights Reserved.