The theme song for today’s class in ENGL 203-04 is “Tomorrow is My Turn.” Here it is performed by Rhiannon Giddens:
As performed by Giddens, it comes across as a declaration of agency that feels very much made for our present cultural moment:
Tomorrow is my turn
No more doubts no more fears
Tomorrow is my turn to receive without giving
To make life worth the living
For it’s my life I’m living
And my only concern, for tomorrow is my turn
(Read the complete lyrics on Genius.)
But the song was originally written in 1962 by Charles Aznavour and Yves Stéphane and was originally titled “L’amour c’est comme un jour.” The original lyrics (read them here in Italian and French) sound a very different theme from the English version (released in 1964 and performed by Honor Blackman, who, as it happens, played Pussy Galore in the James Bond film Goldfinger). Listen to Aznavour sing it here.
It was Nina Simone’s inclusion of the English version on her album I Put a Spell on You (1967) that gave it its present effect of boldly asserting a marginalized identity (perhaps more than one). Listen to her live performance here.
Both “L’amour c’est comme un jour” and “Tomorrow is My Turn” now have independent and continuing lives. Aznavour has performed the French version as a duet with Sting.
You can read more about the history of “Tomorrow is My Turn” in this story about Giddens from NPR.