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Rick Michel's Blog

The Irreplaceable James Garner

I was reminiscing on the career of film legend James Garner after his passing – it’s always sad when such larger-than-life figures leave us – and came across a video from his already iconic film, The Notebook that featured a song that was used prominently in the movie, I’ll Be Seeing You. (I had to post the video to my Facebook page because I knew it would be enjoyed.) It featured some of the most touching moments in the film as Sinatra serenaded with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. Given that the loss of Garner was so fresh, I was especially moved.

 Songs are so incredibly powerful and I sometimes like to look at the history of a given significant song because I’m always amazed at the connections to different people and how the song becomes an entity in itself. The soundtrack to The Notebook included two versions of I’ll Be Seeing You – Billie Holiday and Jimmy Durante. Naturally, Frank’s is my favourite rendition, but the song is so timeless it’s been recorded by everyone from Bing Crosby and Sarah Vaughan, to Anne Murray, Rod Stewart, Barry Manilow, Willie Nelson, Linda Ronstadt, Cass Elliot, Etta James, Ray Charles, Michael Buble and a lot more.

 I can think of two more James Garner films that have huge songs linked to The Voice: The Americanization of Emily and A Man could get Killed. The former’s Emily would be recorded twice by Frank and the latter film introduced the melody of a little ditty that would become Strangers in the Night. This song is, of course, now a standard easy listening tune.

 Back in February in my blog I replaced Garner with Sinatra in a Rat Pack version of Boys’ Night Out, but let’s face it, in reality, James will never be able to be replaced in our hearts.