When You’re Gone I Won’t Forget You

Five or six years ago, I wrote and directed this video for Sketch22’s Christmas Show.

It’s one of my favourite videos that we did.

When I was writing it, the *surprise* ending came as a surprise to me.  At first, it was just going to be about an old couple and their grandson, out driving around looking at the Christmas lights during the day because the old guy wasn’t allowed to drive at night anymore.  A funny, sad kind of situation.  But when I was trying to find a way to end it, the ending I came up with hit me all of a sudden, and it seemed so very good.  It takes the funny/sad idea and cranks it beyond a whole other level.

Anyway, now that I had this awesome sadly funny ending, I knew it’d need some music to really amp up the sadness.  I wanted something “oldy” sounding, something rather melancholic. I also wanted something old so as not to have to worry about copyright etc (although, I’m not sure the recordings I ended up with are actually public domain). So I started scouring through the internet, basically searching for something – a title or anything – that grabbed me.  I searched for hours through the Internet Archives without any success.  Literally hours scanning through pages of search results, not even sure what I was looking for. The Internet Archives led me to a few other archives, and a couple more hours of searching led me to a song entitled “When You’re Gone I Won’t Forget You”.  That title sounded exactly like the sentiment I wanted to convey.  When I clicked on the Play button and listened to it, I couldn’t believe how lucky I was.  It seemed too good to be true.  It was exactly the song I wanted/needed.  It was perfect.

It was hissy and crackly, with a definite old-time sound.  Sounded kind of like it was being played a bit too slow, too, which just added to its awesomeness.  I fell in love with the song.

So, we shot it – Dennis and me and Jason performing, and Graham and I edited it.  And the music fit so perfectly.  Ryan Townsend, who was cameraman, came up with the idea of having the camera tilt a bit near the end, as an indication that things maybe were a bit off kilter, and I think that was a super idea, so thanks Ryan for that.

All of which brings me to the reason for this post:  I absolutely love the song at the end of the video.  But I had lost the recording of the song I downloaded, and for the life of me, couldn’t find it again.  Didn’t know the name of the song, didn’t know who wrote it, who recorded it.  Only knew it was recorded sometime around 1920. Over the past few years, I’d try to find it, without luck.  Couldn’t quite retrace my steps, and had all but given up. (I had been searching for both songs in the video.  There’s also a Christmas song playing in the background of the “looking at lights” montage, but that song, while fitting the video wonderfully, didn’t really grab me as much).

Then this Christmas, miracle of miracles!  Cameron asked me if we had that song, and I said no.  But his question inspired me to do another search.  Not sure why it was a different outcome, but after about an hour of searching, I found it.  Well, I found a different version of it. This time when I did a search for “When You’re Gone”, I got different results, which led me to the different version of the song.  But that discovery gave me the names of the composers, and that led me, ultimately, to the version I used in the video.

It’s called “When You’re Gone I Won’t Forget You”  – although I also found it without the “You” at the end.  Lyrics by Ivan Reid and melody by Peter De Rose. Copyright 1920.

The first version I found (which led me to the 2nd “correct” version) was recorded by The Peerless Quartet in 1921.  It’s not as good a version, I don’t think.  At least, not for my purposes.

The 2nd version, the one I used, was from an old cylinder and was released in 1920.  The singers were Louise Terrel and George Wilton Ballard.  Apparently, it was take 2. 

So, anyway, here are the songs, if anyone wants them.  Both of them, if you’re interested for comparison sake.

When You’re Gone I Won’t Forget You (video version)

When You’re Gone (alternate version)

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