“what are you doing new year’s eve?” – nancy wilson (1963)


There is so much optimism surrounding the New Year holiday.  For many, January 1st is a day of significance that serves as the launching point to embrace life more fully by trying something new, rediscovering lost treasure, or accepting the unknown.  It serves as a symbolic representation for rebirth and starting over that inspires us in ways other holidays do not.

For many cynics, New Years Day is just another day.  Why should this day be more important than any for making resolutions and promises to lead a better life?  I don’t share that sentiment, but I see the point. Life is fluid and comes in waves.  Events and situations come up at any given point.  We should be open to the idea of improving our value and self-worth throughout the whole year.  The optimism around New Years is great, but optimism only works if it creates an action.

Beyond the resolutions, New Years Eve serves as the bookend for the holiday season.  Coming a week after Christmas, New Years Eve is the holiday where champagne flows and send off the old while being surrounded by friends, family, and loved ones.  People are still on holiday from work and this last hurrah is the nightcap before the year finally rests.

I’ve never put much stock into New Year’s resolutions.  I think about things I need to approve, start, finish, etc.  However, I know I have to plan those out accordingly as hardly anything stops and starts with each new year.  So, I choose to see New Years as a holiday to spend time with friends and family.  One last party.  One last round of drinks.  One last gathering that embodies the spirit and goodwill of the season.

The 1947 Frank Loesser classic “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” is the perfect song for the spirit of the holiday.  In it, an admirer longingly asks the object of their desire to join them for a New Year’s celebration.  With promises of tender embraces, the singer anxiously awaits to hear that they will not be alone on New Years.  Fighting against doubt and the come-ons from other suitors, the courage to ask is found.

Nancy Wilson covered the song for a single in 1963.  This jazzy ballad with a delicate piano, soft drumming, and hopeful orchestra sets the tone for an elegant black tie affair. I believe this version to the best among all of the different arrangements over the decades.  Wilson’s lilting voice is breathy and flows well.  She runs through all the emotions that go with asking someone out.  The character she adds to the song feels real.

Regardless of your thoughts on the meaning of New Years Eve, reconsider it as a time to celebrate life and love with those around you.  Have some sparkling wine, don your best attire, and live like there is no tomorrow.

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