True or Blue? – When Lyrics Change

You know that song, “Let Me Call You Sweetheart?” It’s been a sing-along standby for many years, so you’d think a music therapist like me would know the words by now. But there’s one word that seems to change sometimes. Check out the lyrics to this familiar song, paying particular attention to which word you would choose to fill in the blank:

Let me call you sweetheart – I’m in love with you

Let me hear you whisper that you love me, too

Keep the love-light glowing in those eyes so                                   

Let me call you sweetheart – I’m in love with you

So, what word did you pick for the third line – blue or true? Both work beautifully in the context of the song, but I just never know which one a client will choose. I also had no idea which word was in the original version of the song until I did a little digging: it seems that “true” was in the original published version, but at least one recorded version – by Bing Crosby – uses “blue.” Really, though, does it matter what the original lyric was? If someone is singing about a loved one with blue eyes, why not sing “blue?” On the other hand, if blue eyes don’t fit the mental picture of a loved one, why not sing “true?”  One of the reasons why music works so well as a therapeutic medium is that it is adaptable to meet the needs of any client. This extends to the lyrics of the songs we sing – there is no reason to fuss over minor changes if the song is valuable to the therapeutic process. Sometimes, the changes clients make to lyrics can even be a window into their personal history or what is happening in their lives at present. Of course, we’ve seen this in “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” with its “eyes so blue” or “eyes so true.” This could also be what happens through the way one of my clients sings, “The More We Get Together.” This client is one of the few I’ve heard who sings the lyric as, “The more we get together, the happier we are” instead of “the happier we’ll be.” It’s a minor change, yes, and it’s probably one she learned many years ago, but could it also be possible that she’s talking about being happy right now, instead of some time in the future? At the very least, it’s an interesting observation. It could even be a point worth discussing in the group. What other songs have you noticed that have lyrics that change from person to person or group to group? Please share your story below!]]>


  1. Laura C. on September 9, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    As a green-eyed girl myself, I have to support the right to rephrase to “eyes so true”. 😉 I like that the client who changed the verse to “the happier we are” may have been vocalizing more of his/her true state than they realized! Thanks for a great contribution to the BlueChallenge!

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