‘ve long had a passion for music which is older than I am; not just classical, but virtually every genre and time period since medieval times. “You Belong to Me” isn’t exactly medieval, but at half a century old, it’s not exactly new music, either.
Written in 1952 by Pee Wee King, Redd Stewart and Chilton Price, it was first recorded by Pee Wee King. Later notables who’ve covered it include Patsy Cline, Jim Reeves. and even Bob Dylan. But the version which sticks in my head is from an animated film and is sung by the leader of a band of the new millenium. Among the delights (and wierdness) of the ‘Shrek’ soundtrack is a barely noticable acoustic tune, relegated to the background. Covered by Jason Wade of ‘Lifehouse’, whose tune ‘Hanging by a Moment’ was radio’s most played tune in 2001, it’s a simple arrangement for voice and acoustic guitar, and its very simplicity is breathtaking.Once a week, they show movies at the Roseville Museum, a fascinating place. This week’s movie, rather than the usual classic from the 40s or 50s, was ‘Shrek’. After the show, we went upstairs to wander the museum. There, on an ancient pump organ, was the sheet music for ‘You Belong to Me’ obviously placed there by the witty and helpful caretaker to incite questions or to see if anyone noticed its inclusion in the soundtrack. It was a perfect conversation opener (as if the Rush needs one!) Glorious mental imagery is inevitable from lines about ‘the pyramids along the Nile’, ‘the marketplace in old Algiers’, and ‘the jungle when it’s wet with rain’.
The dear friend who first brought the song to my attention made a meaningful comment about it: ‘belonging’ can be possessive and smothering, or it can be comforting and emancipating. “You Belong to Me” is about a comforting kind of love; nothing possessive or restricting, just the simple statement that we belong together in an emotional sense, even when we’re not together physically.
Wade has an instantly recognizable voice, and uses it well to give emotional depth to these beautiful lyrics. This newest version of a gorgeous song makes me want to start practicing the guitar again . . . among other things.