Friday, July 27, 2018

Music Friday: His Eye Is on a Diamond Bracelet, But This Suitor 'Can't Give You Anything But Love'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you nostalgic songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today's tune, "I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby," has its roots in New York City during the Roaring Twenties. In the song, a young suitor tells his girlfriend that he really wants to buy her a fine-quality diamond bracelet but — for now — all he can offer is love.

Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields had written the score for a revue at Les Ambassadeurs Club in 1928, but were lacking a "smash hit" that their producer demanded. Their inspiration for "I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby" came from a chance encounter with a young couple in front of Tiffany's on Fifth Avenue. It seemed to the writers that the man didn't have the resources to buy the diamond jewelry in the display window, and then they heard him say, "Gee, honey I'd like to get you a sparkler like that, but right now, I can't give you nothin' but love!"

McHugh and Fields ducked into the nearby Steinway Tunnel of the #7 subway line and composed the breakout show tune in less than an hour.

Their lyrics: "Gee I'd like to see you looking swell, baby. / Diamond bracelets Woolworth doesn't sell, baby. / Till that lucky day you know darned well, baby. / I can't give you anything but love."

The song was originally performed by Adelaide Hall, but over the years, "I Can't Give You Anything but Love, Baby" has been covered by the some of the most popular names in the music business, from Tony Bennett, Bing Crosby and Dean Martin to Judy Garland, Doris Day and Ella Fitzgerald. On the list of the 100 most-recorded songs from 1890 to 1954, the McHugh/Fields show tune rated #24.

The version of the song featured here was sung by Bennett in 1956 and was the fourth track of his 10-inch LP, Because of You. Interestingly, 58 years later, Bennett would reprise the song in a duet with Lady Gaga. That version appeared on their 2014 album, Cheek to Cheek.

Anthony Dominick Benedetto, better known as Tony Bennett, was born in Queens, N.Y., in 1926. At the age of 13, he started singing for money at several Italian restaurants in his neighborhood. Upon his discharge from the Army after World War II, Bennett was taught the bel canto singing discipline at the American Theatre Wing.

In 1949, he got his big break when Pearl Bailey asked him to open for her in Greenwich Village. Bob Hope, who had been invited to her show, was impressed by Bennett's talent and offered to take him on the road. The next year, Bennett signed with Colombia Records.

Amazingly, Bennett, who will celebrate his 92nd birthday next week, has been performing professionally for more than 70 years. Over that time, he has sold more than 50 million records and has won 19 Grammy Awards, including a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001.

Please check out the audio track of Bennett's rendition of "I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby"
Written by Dorothy Fields and Jimmy McHugh. Performed by Tony Bennett.

I can't give you anything but love, baby.
That's the only thing I've plenty of, baby.

Dream awhile, scheme awhile
We're sure to find

Happiness and I guess
All those things you've always pined for.

Gee I'd like to see you looking swell, baby.
Diamond bracelets Woolworth doesn't sell, baby.

Till that lucky day you know darned well, baby.
I can't give you anything but love.

Rome wasn't built in a day, kid.
You have to pay, kid, for what you get.
But I am willing to wait, dear,
Your little mate, dear, will not forget.

You have a lifetime before you.
I'll adore you, come what may.

Please don't be blue for the present,
When it's so pleasant to hear you say

I can't give you anything but love, baby.
That's the only thing I've plenty of, baby.

Dream awhile, scheme awhile
We're sure to find

Happiness and I guess
All those things you've always pined for.

Gee I'd like to see you looking swell, baby.
Diamond bracelets Woolworth doesn't sell, baby.

Till that lucky day you know darned well, baby.
I can't give you anything but love.

Credit: Image of Tony Bennett performing at the Blaisdell Concert Hall in Honolulu, Hawaii, by Peter Chiapperino: a concert photographer in Lexington, Kentucky [CC BY-SA 3.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Study: Partner's Attractiveness Affects Engagement Ring Expectations for Men and Women

Men are willing to purchase more showy, expensive diamond engagement rings for women they perceive as being highly attractive, according to a study conducted at Western Oregon University. Researchers also discovered that women are more likely to expect bigger, pricier rings when partnered with less attractive men.

The provocative study was conducted by Jaime Cloud and Madalyn Taylor and published in Springer's journal Evolutionary Psychological Science.

Cloud and Taylor had set out to determine whether a person's looks influences the choice or expectations surrounding engagement ring purchases. They presented 590 American participants, who were on average 30 years old, with a headshot and some brief information about a member of the opposite sex.

Participants had to imagine themselves as the boyfriend or girlfriend of the depicted individual, who was pre-rated to be attractive or unattractive.

Women had to choose the smallest diamond ring they were willing to accept from the man in the photo. In turn, the male participants had to indicate the size of diamond ring they would buy for their imaginary girlfriend.

They were shown five diamond solitaire engagement rings with center stones ranging in size from 0.5 carats to 1.5 carats.

A man's willingness to commit to a bigger, more expensive ring for an attractive woman corroborates previous research on how males use symbols of financial success to impress a potential mate.

According to the study, women were found to envision larger, more pricey rings for themselves if their imaginary partner was less attractive. This finding provides indirect support for the idea that women are willing to settle for a less handsome partner if his overall value can be upped by another form of compensation, such as being financially better off.

The study also found that women who rated themselves as being physically attractive were more likely to expect larger, more expensive rings, regardless of their partner's looks.

Credit: Photo by Edward Cisneros on Unsplash.

Monday, July 23, 2018

'Jewelry: The Body Transformed' Opens at The MET in NYC on November 12

Visitors to the The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City this fall will be treated to a dazzling display of 230 precious adornments dating from 2600 B.C.E. to the present day. Titled "Jewelry: The Body Transformed," the exhibition explores from a historical perspective "how jewelry acts upon and activates the body it adorns." The 15-week installation opens November 12.

Drawn almost exclusively from The Met collection, the jewelry includes headdresses, ear ornaments, brooches, belts, necklaces and rings. Many of the exhibits utilize sculptures, paintings, prints and photographs to enrich and amplify the many stories of transformation that jewelry tells.

"Throughout history and across cultures, jewelry has served as an extension and amplification of the body, accentuating it, enhancing it, distorting it and, ultimately, transforming it," notes the MET's press release. "Jewelry is an essential feature in the acts that make us human, be they rituals of marriage or death, celebrations or battles. At every turn, it expresses some of our highest aspirations."

The exhibition will open with a dramatic display that emphasizes the universality of jewelry. This part of the exhibit unites great jewelry from around the world, organized according to the part of the body they adorn: head and hair; nose, lips and ears; neck and chest; arms and hands; and waist, ankles and feet.

The remaining galleries are organized thematically...

The Divine Body will examine one of the earliest conceptions of jewelry— its link to immortality. Among the items in this gallery is a rare head-to-toe ensemble from ancient Egypt that accompanied the elite into the afterlife. In the image, at top, we see golden sandals and "toe stalls," which were a burial luxury to protect the delicate extremities of persons of status and royalty.

• The Regal Body will look at the use of jewelry throughout history to assert rank and status.

The Transcendent Body will celebrate jewelry’s power to conjure spirits, appease gods and evoke ancestors.

• The Alluring Body will explore how jewelry engenders romance and desire.

• The Resplendent Body will focus on elegant jewelry designed strictly for luxury and opulent adornment.

The exhibition, which is being made possible by Albion Art Co., Ltd., is set to run from November 12 to February 24, 2019, at The Met Fifth Avenue.

Credits: All jewelry images courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art Newsroom. From top: Sandals and toe stalls. New Kingdom. Dynasty 18, reign of Thutmose III (ca. 1479–1425 B.C.). Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Wadi Gabbanat el-Qurud, Wadi D, Tomb of the Three Foreign Wives of Thutmose III. Gold; sandals: L. 10 3/8 x W. 4 in. (L. 26.4 x W. 10 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Fletcher Fund, 1922 (26.8.148a, b; 26.8.185–189, .193–.194, .198–.199); Jeweled bracelets, 500–700. Byzantium. Gold, silver, pearls, amethyst, sapphire, glass, quartz, overall: 1 1/2 x 3 1/4 in. (3.8 x 8.2 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917 (17.190.1670–1671); Pair of gold earrings with Ganymede and the eagle, ca. 330–300 B.C. Greek. Gold, total H. 2 3/8 in. (6 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1937 (37.11.9, .10); Large brooch with spirals, 1200–800 B.C. Bronze Age. Eastern Europe. Bronze, 11 x 4 x 2 5/8 in. (27.8 x 10.2 x 6.5cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Caroline Howard Hyman Gift, in memory of Margaret English Frazer, 2000 (2000.281.2); Metropolitan Museum of Art by Kai Pilger [CC BY-SA 4.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons.