Oh, okay, I might as well take this to its logical conclusion.
I began talking about Theodore Bikel, and a song I'd heard him sing many decades ago, the original Russian folk song that was years later turned into the hit song, "Those Were the Days" performed by Mary Hopkins. I then posted Bikel singing another Russian folk song -- and then afterwards posted another singer, Manca Izmajlova, with that original Russian version of "Those Were the Days," titled ""Dorogoi Dinnoyu."
But I figured it was only right an proper to have Mary Hopkin with her hit song.
I found a very nice version of her performance when she appeared on The Tom Jones Show, a fellow Welsh singer. But it has incredibly bizarre camerawork. For the entire song, they just have a close-up of Mary Hopkin's face, and only has the music fades out does the camera pull back and show her sitting in a charming tavern set. Now, Ms. Hopkin does have a perfectly lovely face, but seriously there are limits to odd TV choices, so I've chosen not to use it. This version comes from a French TV performance -- not great with the camera, though it is solidly better. And it looks like it might be lip-synched...though with old YouTbe videos, that sometimes can just be because things get slightly out of sync, though this is synched pretty well.
As some have written, there's something offbeat about a 19-year-old girl singing about looking back to when she was young. I've heard some wonderful versions of the song performed by older singers, and they have a richness to them that works better. But Mary Hopkin has a sort of "old quality" to her voice, and the sweet innocence of it adds a fascinating wistful quality, almost of the singer looking forward to what she has waiting for her. It's one thing, after all, for a person to look back at what they missed when they were young (as here in Charles Aznavour's "Yesterday When I Was Young"), but something else for a young person to (sort of ) look ahead to that.
Most interesting of all though about this performance is at the very end, after the curtains close.. You see the studio audience and...boy, howdy, did French TV audiences get nicely dressed for the occasion. (Perhaps it was some special event.) Ah, those were the days...
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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