Kay Starr - ‘Maybe You’ll Be There’ (1947)
Composed by Rube Bloom, lyrics by Sammy Gallop.
I’ve posted this before (at least twice) because I’m a masochist.
However I can’t do a Kay Starr showcase for the month of December without posting this song again. Listen to the lyrics. They generally apply to a broken relationship, that a man cheated on her and has left her for someone else. Looking at it that way, the narrator keeps hoping they’ll see that person in the crowd or they’ll eventually change their mind and come home. It’s pretty standard standards fare if looked at that way.
However for a second interpretation, take into account that WWII was going on when this was first composed and published (1947), it was almost over but the soldiers weren’t all home, not just yet anyway. This is where if you look at the song from the perspective of a woman waiting for their husband, fiance, boyfriend, any of them to come home back to her, the song takes on new meaning. The narrator’s lovelorn compulsion to search crowds in public places (bus, train stations and stops perhaps?) for them makes a bit more sense. Think Vivian Leigh in the WWI film Waterloo Bridge.
The lyrics change, it isn’t another woman that’s standing in between her and her soldier’s promises, but the actual war.It takes on much deeper meaning and sentiment. The ending
Someday when all my prayers are answered
I’ll hear your footstep on my stair
With anxious heart I’ll hurry to the door
and maybe you’ll be there
Is perhaps one of the prettiest and saddest lyrics I’ve encountered. The song also can still be used for those who have loved ones deployed out in warzones today too. Technology has helped eliminate some of the uncertainty and lack of communication between soldiers and family that was present in the 1940’s but by all means the anxiety of having people you love fighting far away and putting themselves at risk is still very much alive and present today.