Tuesday Addendum to Kern’s Overture for Have a Heart

Yesterday, we focused on Kern’s miraculous year of 1917 and ended with the Overture to his first hit of 1917, Have a Heart, featuring a restoration by John McGlinn. The reason that this Overture is so important is this–many times there are no recordings of the songs featured in the Overture. Therefore, it is your only way of knowing just how lovely the songs were.

While there were many excellent scores written by Kern in 1917/1918, this one stands out. In its way, the score is perfection in glass jar; take it out of storage and shake it up and there is magic in every note. Once we get sufficient cash to once again record, this show will be at the top of our list.

For this reason, we wanted to take the time to give you a brief guide so that you can listen to the Overture AGAIN and tie each part of the orchestral music to a number from the show:

  1. As you start the Overture, you will hear a brass fanfare that gives you a snippet of the music from the second song in the show, “I’m So Busy.”
  2. This fanfare is followed by a lovely selection from the fourth song in the show, “(And) I Am All Alone.”
  3. At 0:45 of the Overture, you will hear a more complete version of “I’m So Busy.”
  4. At 1:49 you will hear a more complete version of “(And) I Am All Alone.”
  5. At 2:45 you will hear music from a lovely duet, “You Said Something.”
  6. At 4:00 you will hear music from the seventh and final song in Act One of the show, “The Road That Lies Before;” this waltz is, in our opinion, one best pieces that Kern ever wrote. We cannot find the full song anywhere, but we did find a short excerpt in a 1917 recording.
  7. At 5:08 you will hear music from the second to last song in Act Two, the humorous “Napoleon.”

Now, here is a clip from the “Victor Light Opera Company Gems from Have a Heart,” recorded on February 23, 1917, just after the show opened.

As you listen to the Gems, you will hear “I’m So Busy” at first; then starting at 0:40, you hear “And I Am All Alone;” then from 1:40 to 2:25,  you hear “The Road That Lies Before.” The recording goes on to cover “Honeymoon Inn” next and finishes at 3:13 with “You Said Something.”

As you listen to the one minute excerpt of “The Road That Lies Before” by John McGlinn in the Overture (from 4:00 to 5:00), you will be carried on a wave of sumptuous strings at a waltz tempo that was embedded in the original score. Of necessity, the recording in 1917 had to use a faster tempo in order to get as much music on the disc as possible. In addition, the number of orchestra pieces was quite limited in order to fit within the area of “recorded sound.” Still, something is better than nothing.

Later this week, we will play modern recordings of “I’m So Busy,” “(And) I Am All Alone,” “You Said Something” and “Honeymoon Inn,” along with the lyrics for each song.

Here are the lyrics from “The Road That Lies Before.” The music that you will hear fits into the words of the refrain:


RUDDY. If there’s nothing more to say;
If things can’t be mended;
PEGGY. Well, the chapter’s ended,
Let’s say goodbye.
RUDDY. Wait, though, I have some things of yours,
I had best return them. PEGGY. What! you didn’t burn them?
RUDDY. Burn them? not I.
These souvenirs of you,
Were once a lover’s token,
And now our vows are broken,
There’s only this to do.
This little glove, which once, you used to wear,
I now give back to you
PEGGY. (Spoken.) No, keep it!
RUDDY. You used this once to bind your hair,
I’ll give it back to you.
PEGGY. (Spoken.) No, keep it!
RUDDY. The love that once you gave me,
I now give back to you
PEGGY. (Spoken.) No, keep that too.
RUDDY. Then our first kiss,
I’ll now give back to you.
(They kiss)
PEGGY. Once more, love’s path, we’ll try
Together, you and I.


The road that lies before,
Is dark, and hard to see.
Whate’er fate holds in store,
Try it with me,
try it with me!
What though we missed it once,
We did not understand.
Better today, we know the way,
So let us set out hand in hand.
Love for our path, a light will make,
Shining to guide the steps we take.