The New Year’s Eve song, explained


The stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve usually
sounds like this: This is Auld Lang Syne, a song that represents the emotional conclusion
to another year. But it might surprise you to know, it’s also
a soccer anthem in the Netherlands. Or in Japan, it’s a traditional song about
fireflies. And the original was written centuries ago,
as a Scottish celebration song. So how did this song, that’s managed to spread
across the world, become the song we sing when the ball drops? What does this song mean? My whole life, I don’t know what this song
means. A lot of people share this confusion about
Auld Lang Syne, because the lyrics are sort of hard to figure out. Let’s start with the title. Auld Lang Syne. Individually these words mean “Old Long Since”, which taken together, translate to something like “For old time’s sake.” It’s written in Scots, a language spoken by
about a million people in Scotland today. The rest of the lyrics are a mix of English
and Scots words, like “And there’s a hand, my trusty feire, And we’ll tak’ a right gude-willie
waught,”. What is that? So “feire” means friend. “Tak’ a right gude-willie waught,” so, a waught
related to the word “draft,” in English, would be a good pint of beer I imagine. This song asks you to remember people from
your past and raise a toast to them, which made it a popular song to sing at New Year’s
and other celebrations. And that line about taking your friend’s hand? That’s related to a traditional dance British people still do today. The guy who popularized this song was one
of Scotland’s most famous exports: Robert Burns. Burns was a poet writing in the 1700’s, just
after Scotland and England unified to create the kingdom of Great Britain. He witnessed the decline of traditional Scottish
culture in favor of English norms. So he devoted the end of his life to preserving
this dying culture, by traveling the country to collect traditional poetry and songs to
get them published. Auld Lang Syne was one of those songs. In a 1793 letter to his music publisher George
Thomson, Burns claimed he wrote down the lyrics after hearing an old man singing it. He called Auld Lang Syne “an old song about
the olden times.” And he made sure Thomson kept the Scots words
in the song, arguing “There is a naievete, a pastoral simplicity, in a slight intermixture
of Scots words and phraseology.” And this song, Auld Lang Syne, is doing a
great job of tying in with the original idea of collecting folk songs, preserving heritage,
celebrating heritage. Auld Lang Syne was republished in countless
song books worldwide over the centuries and because of Burns, the Scots words are still
in there. And even if you don’t know the history behind
them, you can still sort of figure out what the song is saying. Anyway, it’s about old friends. Why has a song that people don’t really understand
become so widespread? For starters, the melody of Auld Lang Syne
is simple, making it easy to sing along to and easy to adapt into other musical styles. Which is why it can become a soul song, or a bluegrass song, or rock ‘n roll. And because it’s uncomplicated and melodic,
the song was easy to put with different lyrics. Like in the US in the Civil War era, it became
a song about a wish for the war to end. And it was also a popular anti-slavery ballad. It took on new meanings in languages in other
parts of the world, which is why it’s in places you might not expect, like that soccer anthem
in the Netherlands. Or a graduation song in parts of Asia. And it was South Korea’s national anthem until
1948. No matter what the language or lyrics are,
Auld Lang Syne’s popularity also has something to do with its nostalgic feeling. The song itself is often used in the popular
context in an even more overtly sad way. If you look at the words, it’s quite nostalgic
as a song and that’s its attraction. Which is why it started showing up in countless
classic movies, usually to mark an emotional scene. Like in this 1937 Shirley Temple movie, when
her character consoles a dying soldier by singing Auld Lang Syne. And the director Frank Capra used it for sentimental
moments in at least 3 of his films. But in the US, the song is best known for
one thing: “Happy New Year.” And for that, we can thank Mr. New Year’s
Eve himself, Guy Lombardo. In 1928, Lombardo and his orchestra, The Royal
Canadians, started a popular New Year’s Eve radio show, broadcast from the Roosevelt Hotel
in Manhattan. This meant that Americans all over the country
tuned in from their home radios to listen to the same music on New Year’s Eve. And at the stroke of midnight, Lombardo played
their version of Auld Lang Syne. Lombardo continued that tradition for nearly 50 years
and when Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve started on TV in 1973, he would play Auld
Lang Syne at midnight too. And after Clark, Ryan Seacrest did the same. So now at midnight, right after the ball drops,
this is what you hear. It’s still Lombardo’s version. And this is why, for many, the song is so
singularly associated with the nostalgia of another year past. So when this new year rolls around, even if
you don’t know all the words, sing along anyway. You won’t be alone.

100 thoughts on “The New Year’s Eve song, explained

  1. I've always associated this song with scouting. I didn't know it had something to do with New Year haha.

    I'm from Finland.

  2. One day this song will offend a very small percentage of the population and the tradition will end.

  3. I was born only 3 miles away from the songs authors birthplace. Robert Burns was born in Alloway which is just on the outskirts of Ayr on the southwest coast of Scotland.

  4. Didn't know it was a New Year song. I just taught it was a song.
    Be careful with Robert though. He Burns !

  5. In France this song is one of the most known song. It is titled "Ce n'est qu'un au revoir, mes frères" (it's only a farewell, my friends). Sung for the time a friendly company is leaving. And not as a New Year song!

  6. I was wondering if they'd mention that the original melody Burns used was a different one. I guess not..

  7. Thank you for making this video!! Because I was wondering this!! Happy New Year Everyone! Especially those in the future. — 2019!!! (Is 2020 in building? What about 2021, 2022, 2023??) lol Keeping a comment time capsule! 😊😂

  8. come on, no America knows the words to this song. in fact most don't even know the title.

  9. More Scottish and, Irish and German must be taught England is weakening faster than sears and kmart ,JCP . Buy from sears kmart JCP rite aid papa Murphy's , they are going to expand faster than amzn and the phone makers and carriers , China is weakening too everyone will be so sad when the Chinese will lose their languages but Europe is ready to make the power play , they want me to me the government not their leaders

  10. In my roaring days the words were "We're here because, we're here because, we're here because there's beer; we're here because, we're here because, we're here because there's beer. More Beer, More Beer, More Beer, More Beer, More Beer, More Beer, More Beer, etc.(you get the picture).

  11. snnnnniiiffffffffffff…oh yes my dear….sssnnnnnnnnnnnniiiffffffff….quite pungent indeed…is that….dare I say….sssssssnniff…eggs I smell?……sniff sniff….hmmm…yes…quite so my darling….sniff….quite pungent eggs yes very much so …..ssssssssssssssnnnnnnnnnnnnnnniiiffffff….ah yes…and also….a hint of….sniff….cheese…..quite wet my dear….sniff…but of yes…this will do nicely….sniff…..please my dear….another if you please….nice and big now….

    BBBBBBRRRRRRRAAAAAAAPPPPPPPFFFFFFFFLLLLLLLLLPPPPPPPPPFFFFFF

    Oh yes…very good!….very sloppy and wet my dear….hmmmmm…is that a drop of nugget I see on the rim?…hmmmm…..let me…..let me just have a little taste before the sniff my darling…….hmmmmm….hmm..yes….that is a delicate bit of chocolate my dear….ah yes….let me guess…curry for dinner?….oh quite right I am….aren't I?….ok….time for sniff…..sssssnnnnnnniiiffffffff…..hmmm…hhhmmmmm I see…yes….yes indeed as well curry……hmmm….that fragrance is quite noticeable….yes…..onion and garlic chutney I take it my dear?…..hmmmmm….yes quite…..

    BBBBBBRRRRRRRRPPPPPPFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFTTTTTTTTTTT

    Oh I was not expecting that…that little gust my dear….you caught me off guard…yes…so gentle it was though…hmmmm…let me taste this little one…just one small sniff…..sniff…ah….ssssssnnnnnniiffffffffffff…and yet…so strong…yes…the odor….sniff sniff…hmmm….is that….sniff….hmmm….I can almost taste it my dear…..yes….just…sniff….a little whiff more if you please…..ssssssnnnnnniiffffffffff…ah yes I have it now….yes quite….hhhhmmmm…delectable my dear…..quite exquisite yes…..I dare say…sniff….the most pungent one yet my dear….ssssnnnnniifffffffffffffffffffffff….yes….

  12. That was really insightful to a tune worthy of accreditation !  Thanks for sharing …..

  13. Allan Sherman's 'Old Lang's Sign' (23 seconds) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DdOCBFfB2Wo

  14. The song's in Common Metre, so there are dozens (hundreds?) of other songs that can be sung to the same tune (or, its lyrics sung to other tunes), e.g. Amazing Grace, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, It Came Upon the Midnight Clear, O Little Town of Bethlehem, While Shepherds Watched – and even more bizzarely, Gilligan's Island, Yankee Doodle, I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing, and even (with appropriate repetition) Ilkley Moor.

  15. In Brasil the new year song is a version of John Lennon song, not Auld Lang Syne

  16. In countries with Latin Derived Languages it is not known at all tho…. so its not that much spread

  17. 0:18 – the Netherlands? More like Europe (or the world). Football fans sing versions of Auld Lang Syne everywhere.

  18. We do not normally sing this on Hogmanay, at least not in my experience. It is in my experience sung at times of other celebration. It is almost a national anthem!

  19. In primary school when I was learning French this song was the tune to which we recited the alphabet

    Did this happen for anyone else?

  20. New years eve is just leftist PROPAGANDA.
    Yes, I`m yet another right winger who types with CAPS LOCKED saying that everything is PROPAGANDA.

  21. I didnt know this was a new year song til I watch this video
    In latin america is a christmas carol song🤣

  22. If you stay in any department store that is closing in 10-15min, this song will come on, over the PA.

  23. The real question is: Why are Americans so fascinated by a glowing ball going up and down a pole the same speed once a year?

  24. I came in not knowing it was this same song. When i hear this piece, sorrows just came to me. I have heard this song at funerals, and i wish i won't have to again. I rmb so clearly this song was play when my dad casket was being push in the furnaces. That a moment i can never forget.

  25. We have different lyrics for it in Brazilian Portuguese, we all it The Farewell Waltz, and it makes me cry like nobody’s business…

  26. i dont know what it is about that melody, but even without lyrics it just sounds so mournful that I feel like crying :/
    I was choking back tears for like half of this video

  27. Lol I stay in Scotland and we had an assembly in school about this I didn’t know anyone else in the world actually knew this and (we did the dance thing.) this was on burns night

  28. I've heard the melody my whole life but I've never once heard anyone sing it.. Wasn't even aware it had lyrics until watching this

  29. Towards the n of the video was that shot at Mariah Carey bc she didn't know her own song lol.

  30. The first wave of emmigrants to what would become the USA were Scots-Irish-German-English…

  31. As songs through songs through songs we go high! _LOL_!
    I'm writing a parody on this song for Bowser Army (NOT DOUG BOWSER, THE OTHER BOWSER!!!) in the Super Mario Franchise.

    Verse 1
    Forevermore we always know
    The Koopa King Will Reign Always!
    Forevermore it's time to
    Celebrate his mighty reign!

    Chorus

    All Hail The Koopa King, Bowser!
    All Hail The Koopa King!
    He's powerful, long may he reign!
    All Hail The Koopa King!

  32. hey in malaysia its called "bertemu dan berpisah" which means "meets and split ups"

  33. I can’t wait for the next New Year’s Eve to come. I’m in love with this song 😍

  34. Hey ,favor could you guys explain the NO BAIL SWEDEN SITUATION ? would help us ASAP.

  35. It’s funny because I’m Scottish and I went to America last year. We were at this festival thing and they performed Auld Lang Syne and watching everyone butcher the lyrics was hilarious. My American friends were astounded hearing that I knew all the lyrics and actually knew what the song meant lol

  36. I dinnie Ken why ya all needed ta video? This seems pretty easy to me what are you all eijitds?

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