Jack Lawrence:

Beyond the Sea

The Story Behind the Song.


Jimmy Scalia and Jack Lawrence

Here are the memories composer Jack Lawrence shared in 1995 of his beautiful song "Beyond The Sea."
This was donated by Anthony DiFlorio III.

The French composer Charles Trenet was one of the great talents I was privileged to call a friend. He not only wrote beautiful melodies but sang them magnificently. Many of his French songs became international hits with English lyrics.

The original French title of this glorious melody was LA MER ... simply "The Sea." Trenet's lyric was a series of poetic images telling how the different moods of the sea affected him. As I've stated before, I never liked to do a literal translation of any foreign lyric. That was not part of my creative process.

Therefore, when asked to supply the English lyrics for foreign songs, I would immerse myself in the melody until I practically lived and breathed it. Only then would I begin dreaming up the words to fit the tune. In this instance I merely added one word to the original title ... "BEYOND" ... I decided that instead of being poetic I would create a scenario ... a lover on a shore waiting for a loved one to return from the sea.

When BEYOND THE SEA was first published in 1946, it achieved many lush recordings: Harry James, Benny Goodman, Mantovani and Percy Faith. But they all treated the song with reverence, in slow ballad style. Over the next couple of years the song received many performances but had not registered as a super hit.

Then came along a brash, young singer with a fresh, individual style. Bobby Darin, by adding an irresistible beat to the song, sent it on its way to stardom. I am delighted to say BEYOND THE SEA is one of my biggest performance songs today.





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