From the YouTube Music Video Archives: Pennies From Heaven

What happened to Mark Steyn? Didn’t he used to write for … just about everybody? A few years ago I couldn’t open up the Atlantic, National Review, City Journal without running into another masterpiece of the Great Steyn.

These days it’s hard to find him anywhere outside the Corner offering a few, brief lines of political commentary. Which are brilliant, as always, but the fans want more.

So I was happy to find that he’s written a couple of recent things that are up at his home page, Steyn Online, including a tribute to “Song of the Week #102”. I thought this dovetailed nicely with our own Archive project here at Korrektiv. Steyn has an encyclopedic knowledge of Broadway and American music, and the entire article is really a nice tribute to the lyricist Johnny Burke. Typical Steyn:

In his book The House That George Built, Wilfrid Sheed writes that Kathryn Crosby mentions a letter Frank [Sinatra] wrote to Bing shortly before his death, expressing concern over Jimmy’s drinking. “I know,” she said with a smile, “I know.” As Sheed puts it, “Any one of them could have written the note about any of the others.” But by then the fourth hard-drinking musketeer, Johnny Burke, was a long time in his grave.

At his best he was up there with the very top of the top tier. But, if I had to pick a song to toast him with on this centenary, I’d go for his first real hit for Crosby, the title tune of a long forgotten picture from 1936. Arthur Johnston, a musical stenographer for Irving Berlin, wrote the melody, and Burke came up with a marvelously simple lyrical idea. Another “Rainy Day”, but this time a cause for celebration:

Every time it rains, it rains
Pennies From Heaven
Don’t you know each cloud contains
Pennies From Heaven?

Regis sings it on “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?”, presumably because they couldn’t get the rights to the Cole Porter song. But, in fact, there’s something quintessentially American in finding sunshine in the rain. Who needs a silver lining when the good luck’s all in the precipitation?

You’ll find your fortune falling
All over town
Be sure that your umbrella
Is upside down…

As for Mr. Steyn, we hope all is well. Hopefully he’s writing a book about the show trial up in Canada.


  1. Kathy Shaidle says

    Well, actually…

    Mark Steyn (cough) wrote the intro to my new book about those very show trials: (cough) The Tyranny of Nice: How Canada Crushes Freedom in the Name of Human Rights

  2. Quin Finnegan says

    Well, it’s always fun when a real author stops by!

    Apologies for failing to mention Tyranny of Nice, which I’ll make up for by ordering my own copy (available in electronic form from, and encouraging others to do the same.

    Regular readers may be interested in knowing that Kathy Shaidle is the blogger once known as Relapsed Catholic, and can now be found at Which sounds like one mean match in a kickboxing contest.

  3. Rufus McCain says

    Hey, there’s a link to this post on Mark Steyn’s website, under “News.” Our traffic just experienced a Steyn-surge.

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