Welcome to America Comes Alive!, a site I created to share little-known stories of America's past. These stories are about Americans - people just like you - who have made a difference and changed the course of history. Look around the site and find what inspires you. Kate Kelly
The Most Famous Song that No One Knows the Words To…

The Most Famous Song that No One Knows the Words To…

Given the season, you may already have guessed that “Auld Lang Syne” is the song to which I’m referring.  The song itself is an old Scottish song first published by poet Robert Burns in 1796.  Its popularity, however, came much later when Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadian band began playing it on New Year’s Eve, first in his hometown of London, Ontario.  Lombardo made his way to New York and as the calendar turned to 1929, he introduced the song to New Yorkers when he played at the Grill at the Roosevelt Hotel in midtown Manhattan.

From 1929-1959, Lombardo and the Royal Canadians appeared at the Roosevelt Grill every New Year’s Eve; he and his band were then lured away to play at the Waldorf Astoria for many years.  Lombardo died in 1977band the Royal Canadians performed at the Waldorf last year before the tradition came to an end.

Lombardo’s performances were broadcast, first on radio and then on television.  For 48 consecutive years, American could count on Guy Lombardo and his band ushering in the New Year.

Today “Auld Lang Syne” is generally sung—or hummed—by most people who attend a New Year’s Eve party.  Incidentally, the meaning of title is roughly, “old long since” or “times gone by.”

This week America Comes Alive will be talking about the beginnings of many of our new year’s traditions, from the Times Square ball drop to the Tournament Roses parade and football game.

I hope you had a great holiday, and keep checking back for new stories.  I bet you didn’t know that a certain type of bird race pre-dated football in Pasadena! You’ll read about that later this week.

 



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