hen I sleep with the window open, I can hear the ocean from my bedroom. Last night, it fairly roared; I’ve never heard it so loud. The storm at sea seems to have whipped it to a frenzy, pounding the shore to release the energy absorbed from the sky.
Almost (but not quite) completely unrelated, on my way home to sleep by the ocean I heard a new (to me) version of a song I love: “Herman’s Hermits, singing “Wonderful World.” Not the very different song covered by Louis Armstrong and a host of others (including Israel Kamakawiwo’ole), but the Sam Cooke, Herb Alpert, and Lou Adler composition. Yes, Lou Adler should sound familiar. He was the producer behind Jan & Dean, Johnny Rivers, Carole King, among others. I first heard his name in a truly great Simon and Garfunkel tune from “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme” called “A Simple Desultory Philippic (Or How Was Robert McNamara’d Into Submission)” in which Adler is one of many names in what Drew Wheeler of CDNow calls a “stream-of-consciousness laundry-list of ’60s cultural touchstones, delivered as a self-consciously Dylanesque rant.”
Having been written by three famous names in the music world, I’ve always found it appropriate and fun (and heavenly) to have it recorded by three names perhaps more well known: James Taylor, Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel. Released on Art Garfunkel’s “Watermark” way back in 1977, I was introduced to this version by my sister’s boyfriend (to whom she’s been married for over twenty years now.) Danny’s a sensitive and intelligent guy who has introduced me to a lot of wonderful music over the last quarter century.
This particular “Wonderful World” has also been recorded by Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music, Don McLean, and, as I mentioned, Herman’s Hermits. But don’t buy their greatest hits for this version; buy it for “Mrs. Brown You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter”, “I’m Henry The VIII, I Am”, “There’s A Kind Of Hush All Over The World”, and “I’m Into Something Good”, a Carole King composition that lifts my heart every time I hear it.