“The Old Lamplighter” is a tune from 1946, with lyrics by Nat Simon, and lyrics by Charles Tobias. The song as performed by Sammy Kaye was popular in the 1940’s. The beautiful lyrics tell the soulful tale of a lamplighter going about his business: “He made the night a little brighter wherever he would go. The old lamplighter of long, long ago”. Michael Daly recorded this song for his album, Irish Tenor Michael Daly Sings Baby Lullaby Songs. Anybody who feels nostalgic or reminiscent will resonate with the words sung by Michael Daly.
The story of this particular lamplighter is a romanticized version of a real profession. Lamplighters were the folks that walked around in the early morning to light street lamps for the city. This profession no longer exists as gas lamps were replaced with electricity. The Old Lamplighter is described as, “His snowy hair was whiter beneath the candle glow, the old lamplighter of long, long ago”. He would go around remembering his youth.
The lyrics, “If there were sweethearts in the park, he’d pass a light and leave it dark, remembering the days that used to be. For he recalled when dreams were new. He loved someone who loved him too, who walks with him alone in memory” stick with you. The parallels of this profession no longer existing and the lyrics, “Now if you look up in the sky, you’ll understand the reason why the little stars at night are all aglow. He turns them on when night is here, he turns them off when dawn is near. The little man we left so long ago”, leave the listeners with a peaceful solemnity as Irish Tenor Michael Daly’s wonderful voice trails off at the end of the song.
For more of Michael Daly’s covers and albums, visit his website here.