Today January 15th is National Hat Day. Did you know that? There are so many different types of hats and sometimes it is so hard to choose a style, colour and material that suits. I love trying on hats but never know what suits or looks silly on me!
In the past hats were an indicator of social status, but now they are worn for so many different reasons. Some hats are worn for religious or ceremonial reasons, others for safety and protection. Hats have overtime become a style and fashion accessory, along with the main reason most people wear hats, to keep their heads warm! Hats conserve body heat, as the maximum body heat is lost through the head, which is presumably why my mum went on and on about me wearing a hat when I was young!
This weeks Five Friday Favourites are going to be songs about hats, a few from musicals, a few not and a few photos of me or my family wearing hats thrown in just to celebrate National Hat Day! It’s surprising how many hats we’ve worn, but that’s what happens when you do lots of performing!
Number 1- Top hat, white tie and tails -Top Hat, the musical. (Tom Chambers)
Top Hat the musical is a 2011 stage musical based on the 1935 film of the same name, with Fred Astaire. it is about an American dancer who comes to London to star in a show. The music was written by Irving Berlin and the title song has become a classic and refers to the formal wear required to a party invitation.
‘I’m puttin’ on my top hat, Tyin’ up my white tie, Brushin’ off my tails’
I saw Top Hat at the Aldwych Theatre in London’s West End in 2013, with Tom Chambers and Summer Strallen and loved it. It won many Laurence Olivier Awards.
Number 2- Hold On To Your Hat- Derek Ryan & featuring Sharon Shannon
Derek Ryan is an Irish country singer from County Carlow, so maybe the fact that I like this song is because it takes me back to my Irish roots! Derek was originally in an Irish pop band called D-Side who I have never heard of, but turned solo in 2006 and changed his genre of music.
‘Hold On To Your Hat’ came out in August 2014 and was on the album The Simple Things. Put on your hat, listen to the accordion playing, the guitar strumming and get those feet tapping!
‘Hold on to your hat drive this road together
Hold on to your hat, say you’ll be mine forever’
Number 3-The Sun Has Got His Hat On-Lisnagarvey Operatic
The Sun Has Got His Hat On is by Noel Gray and Ralph Butler and appeared in the 1985 musical Me and My Girl, which I have seen a number of times and whilst dated in some ways it is a great ‘feel good’ show. It was originally recorded by two dance bands in 1932, one of which was Ambrose and his orchestra with vocals by Sam Browne and also by Henry Hall BBC Dance orchestra with vocals by Val Rosing. There was some controversy about the lyrics of the original version as it used the word “nigger” which was socially acceptable back then. Modern performances of the song have changed the words.
The song was one of a number of songs that was sung through WW2 to cheer people up. I like the cheery, happy nature of the song and kids just love it! I’m hoping that the sun will soon have its hat back on after all this rain and we can be singing….
The sun has got his hat on Hip-hip-hip-hooray!
The sun has got his hat on, He’s coming out today
This recording is of Lisangarvey Operatic Society from Northern Ireland, performing the song in their production of Me and My Girl. I decided to share this version rather than a dated one that might offend or upset anyone.
Number 4-All Around My Hat- Steeleye Span
All Around My hat is sometimes known as ‘I Will Wear The Green Willow’. This song is of 19th Century English origin and is traditional folk in style. The song is about a young man forced to leave his lover who when he returns, finds her on the verge or marrying someone else. There are different versions of the song. In one, he goes into mourning with the willow being a symbol of his unhappiness, in another he reminds her of her broken promise and she dies mysteriously and in another he just remembers the lady he left behind. The song was also borrowed and became an Irish rebel song.
The song was made famous by by Steeleye Span who had an album called All Around My hat in 1975. The title track reached number 5 in December 1975 in the UK charts.
All ’round my hat I will wear a green willow All ’round my hat for a twelve month and a day
If anybody asks me the reason why I wear it It’s all because my true love is far, far away
The song was also recorded by Status Quo in 1996, who invited Maddie Prior of Steeleye Span to sing harmony on it.
I remember the song as I grew up and it is very catchy and sticks in ones head.
Number 5-Where Did You Get That Hat?-Ali Cat & Co
This is an Old Time music hall song, but was originally a comic ballad composed and first performed in 1888 by American Joseph J. Sullivan. It says he found an old top hat when sorting out his fathers belongings and wore it in the street where he was accosted by a child who gave him the catchy six word phrase ‘where did you get that hat?’ The song had the words changed in 1901 by James Rolmaz and has been performed by many others since including Stanley Holloway, Chas and Dave and Gene Kelly, who sung it in 1949 in the film ‘Take Me Out To The Ball Game’.
“Where did you get that hat? Where did you get that tile?
Isn’t it a nobby one, and just the proper style?
I should like to have one Just the same as that!
Where’er I go, they shout “Hello! Where did you get that hat?”
When I first wore my bright orange hat ‘Lulu’ for Whistle Down The Wind, people asked me the very same question. It was unusual in colour, shape, material and style. I had found it in my parents attic, but when I asked my mum where she had got it from, she told me it wasn’t originally a hat, but a toilet roll cover, hence the name! Which just goes to show you can make a hat of anything!
There are my five favourite hat songs for this special day. I hope you are all wearing a hat on National Hat Day, even if it is to just keep your head warm. I will be wearing my purple woolly pop pom hat as it is so cold!
Lulu, my special hat has made many stage appearances and even had a flipagram made about her. I will share it today in commemoration of this day.
Happy hat Friday,
Honestly Fiona xx