The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise

The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise

Gene Lockhart, lyrics; Ernest Seitz, music.
First Published 1919

This video was one take. I like it when it goes right the first time! Well, almost right. It sounds like I’m saying “road” where I should be clearly saying “rose.”  Maybe I shouldn’t chew on marbles while I sing.

About the song:

Canadian concert pianist Ernest Seitz first conceived the melody for “The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise” when he was just 12 years old.  Later, as an adult, he teamed up with stage actor Gene Lockhart, also a Canadian, in 1919 to publish the song through the Chappell Co. But Seitz was concerned with his reputation as a serious pianist, and used the pseudonym “Raymond Roberts” when the song was first published. After it became a very popular song, he changed the publishing back to show his real name.

Early “pop” recordings were made by Martin Downey, Ted Lewis and John Steele. “The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise” later became a jazz standard with many recordings including performances by Benny Goodman, Django Reinhart, Duke Ellington, Jack Teagarden, Oscar Peterson and Coleman Hawkins.

Les Paul and Mary Ford had the biggest hit with the song, selling over a million copies in 1951. It features Les Paul’s pioneering use of multi-tracking on both his guitar and Mary’s vocal. This is the version that caught my ear. Les Paul’s guitar solo is amazing!

Other versions were recorded by Merle Travis, Chet Atkins, Carl Perkins, and three young boys in Liverpool, England. Beatles John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison made a rough home recording of the song in the late 50’s.

Gene Lockhart studied acting at Julliard, and later became both a Broadway and Hollywood screen actor.  On Broadway, Lockhart took over Lee J. Cobb’s part as Willy Loman in the original stage production of “Death of a Salesman.”  He may be best known for his portrayal of Bob Cratchit  in the 1938 movie of “A Christmas Carol.” He also played the judge in another Christmas classic, “Miracle on 34th Street.” Other films include “His Girl Friday,” 1940; “Meet John Doe,” 1941; “Joan of Arc,” 1948; and “Carousel,” 1956. Also, he is the father of actress June Lockhart.

Ernest Seitz spent most of his career in Toronto, where he taught at the conservatory. He also had a hand in some other songs including “Laddie Boy” in 1932 and “The Sky’s the Limit” in 1943. He performed regularly with the Toronto Symphony, and also performed with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra. He retired from music in the late ‘40’s, and took over as president of his family’s auto dealership.

Here’s the lyrics:

Dear one, the world is waiting for the sunrise
Every rose is heavy with dew
The thrush on high, his sleepy mate is calling
and my heart is calling you

What’s amazing to me is how concise the song is lyrically.  Only 30 words. Nowadays, some songs have 30 words in one line of lyrics!

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