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Should All the Lyrics Be for Naught?

The clock strikes 12. Confetti rains down. Revelers plant the year’s first kiss on their loved ones’ lips. And everyone sings

Should all the Quakers be forgot

And never bought two mines?

Should all the Quinton’s beef, or what

In days of Old Man Time?

Well, not quite. “Auld Lang Syne,” the traditional song for ringing in the New Year, is one of the most misheard in the English language. (You’ll recall Billy Crystal’s puzzlement in the final scene of When Harry Met Sally….) That’s because it’s not English. The original 1788 poem by Robert Burns, on which the song is based, was written in Scots, a language traditionally spoken in Lowland Scotland. The title is often translated as “Days Gone By.”

This New Year's Eve, take a cup o’ kindness and enjoy this 1946 recording of Guy “Mr. New Year’s Eve” Lombardo and his Royal Canadians big-band orchestra playing their signature “Auld Lang Syne” for a festive New York City crowd. See you next year!

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