We’ll ride on the rain… we’ll worship the wind

We watched Pedro Almodovar’s Law of Desire the other night, a 1987 film possibly set earlier, since there is a scene in which a famous 1960s pop song, “If You Go Away”, is sung [in Spanish] to a stage performance. This triggered a memory: that song is one that imprinted deeply on me, at age 10 or 15, and hearing it again, now in several versions on the web, it doesn’t strike me as corny or dated, but still quite beautiful… yearning, hopeful at the same time, though ultimately heartbreaking.

If you go away, on this summer day
then you might as well take the sun away
All the birds that flew in the summer sky,
When our love was new and our hearts were high;
When the day was young and the night was long,
And the moon stood still for the night bird’s song.
If you go away, if you go away, if you go away.

But which version did I hear? Which was the most famous? YouTube has dozens of recordings, and Wikipedia has this entry about the song and some of its most notable cover versions. (It was written by French composer Jacques Brel, and translated into English by Rod McKuen.)

But if you stay, I’ll make you a day
Like no day has been, or will be again
We’ll sail the sun, we’ll ride on the rain
We’ll talk to the trees, we’ll worship the wind.

Then if you go, I’ll understand,
Leave me just enough love to fill up my hand,
If you go away, if you go away, if you go away.

One of most popular according to Wikipedia was by Jack Jones — and this one has a nice video:

This doesn’t quite strike the exact memory chord, though I’m pretty sure the version I heard so many times as a kid was by a male voice. Wikipedia OTOH indicates that one female, Damito Jones, placed highest on the charts with it.

If you go away, as I know you will,
you must tell the world to stop turning
Till you return again,
if you ever do,
for what good is love without loving you
Can I tell you now, as you turn to go,
I’ll be dying slowly till the next hello,
If you go away, if you go away, if you go away.

Mm, I don’t think that’s what I heard over my parents’ radio in the mid or late ’60s.

But everyone from Nina Simone to Glen Campbell to Neil Diamond to Julio Iglesias has covered it.

But if you stay, I’ll make you a night
Like no night has been, or will be again.
I’ll sail on your smile, I’ll ride on your touch,
I’ll talk to your eyes that I love so much.

But if you go, go, I won’t cry,
Though the good is gone from the word goodbye,
If you go away, if you go away, if you go away.

Which version imprinted on me? Don’t know. In any event, Frank Sinatra, as always, does the song credit… if a tad sluggishly.

If you go away, as I know you must,
There’ll be nothing left in the world to trust,
Just an empty room, full of empty space,
Like the empty look I see on your face.

I’d have been the shadow of your shadow
If I thought it might have kept me by your side.
If you go away, if you go away, if you go away.

[updated 9jul14 with complete, rather than sampled, lyrics. though different versions of the song have slightly differently rearranged lyrics.]

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