I’ve loved this deeply emotional song — “How Do You Keep the Music Playing?” — for a long time, and these days it evokes in me an entirely new way of asking the question because I’m feeling it in the heart of a now older man. What is love and how do you hold onto it in a relationship that is decades old? How do you keep the music going? How do you keep your passion for life alive? The fire to endure whatever gets handed to you?
One simple lyric provides an answer to life itself: “If we can try with every day to make it better as it grows/With any luck, then, I suppose/The music never ends.”
But what makes the music better? Often I don’t know and just keep moving — exactly where, I don’t know either; just one foot in front of the other. When I have a hard time hearing the music anymore, it’s like I’m lost in the woods and the only way out is to backtrack to the last place you remember and go on from there.
Now listen to Tony Bennett (who was 88 when he sang this) and Aretha Franklin (now, sadly, gone) fly with this one. Play it loud! And write us back with your impressions.
How Do You Keep the Music Playing?
Music: Michel LeGrand
Lyrics: Alan and Marilyn Bergman
How do you keep the music playing?
How do you make it last?
How do you keep the song from fading too fast?
How do you lose yourself to someone?
And never lose your ways?
How do you not run out of new things to say?
And since we’re always changing
How can it be the same?
And tell me how year after year
You’re sure your heart will fall apart
Each time you hear her name?
I know the way I feel for you
It’s now or never;
The more I love the more that I’m afraid
That in your eyes I may not see forever…
If we can be the best of lovers
Yet be the best of friends;
If we can try with everyday to make it better as it grows,
With any luck, then I suppose,
The music never ends.