A while ago, we were searching for some new repertoire to add some spark to our shows. We have long been a fan of barbershop arrangements by Ruby Rhea, the tenor of 1965 SAI Queens of Harmony Shalimars. While reading through her extensive arrangement list, this title popped out. “Are You Havin’ Any Fun?”
What came to my mind first was a TV commercial showing frazzled Christmas shoppers with Tony Bennett singing “Are ya havin’ any fun? Whatcha gettin’ outta livin’?” in the background. The tune is catchy, the beat is swingy, and the lyric sounded upbeat and, shall I say, fun.
For those of you who know us, you know that we like to laugh and have fun. So this seemed like a good candidate for us. I did a quick browse on YouTube and iTunes to find some sample recordings by other artists, and looked up the lyrics. (This is my fairly standard method for checking things out when considering new quartet songs.) So far so good!
A quick email exchange with Ruby, and a few days later we were the proud owners of a new song!
The piece was written by Sammy Fain (music) and Jack Yellen (lyrics) for a Broadway production called “George White’s Scandals of 1939.” The most popular recordings are by Tony Bennett and Count Basie. There are a lot of other covers as well, including a light-hearted ukulele version by Cali Rose, and a samba version by Elaine Stritch a la Carmen Miranda “Chiquita Banana” style.
As for Lustre, we have found our inner polka on this song – when we perform it, we do a “mash up” with another popular “fun” song that has the same melody as the first line “Are You Having Any Fun”… can you guess what it is? You’ll have to come out to one of our performances to hear it!