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FLASH SPECIAL: What Are You Doing New Year's Day?

Today we are taking a look at a sensational seasonal showstopper by one of Broadway's best songwriters, Frank Loesser, performed by a line-up of legendary greats sure to start your 2014 off on the right foot - and left!

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Although Thanksgiving can always be counted on for a day complete with fulfillment, nourishment and appreciation and Christmas may forever remain emblematic of joy, magic and giving, the holidays that occur exactly one week later have a far more melancholy shading to them for many of us - New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Alpha and omega; beginning and ending; past and future - all come to a head on the last day of December and so rush to mind the memories of what has come to pass and hopeful dreams of the future. How to sum up those feelings in a moment, a phrase... a song?

Surely, few have conjured up the bittersweet emotion of the singular midnight holiday better than multi-award-winning songwriter Frank Loesser with his insinuating stunner "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?", which has been sung by an astonishing array of incredible interpreters since its debut in 1947.

Of note, the song was originally not composed for any project in particular, theatrical or otherwise, though it nevertheless reached #9 in its first R&B single version as recorded by The Orioles in that same year.

Subsequently, Dante & The Evergreens and Nancy Wilson also found some success with single versions of the song, as well, though its iconography truly lives on through its many, many covers - old and new. Indeed, since its inception, the song has been covered by a vast selection of artists as diverse as Ella Fitzgerald, Barbra Streisand, Eydie Gorme, Bette Midler, Diana Krall, Patti LaBelle, Liz Callaway, Johnny Mathis, Harry Connick Jr., Rod Stewart, Barry Manilow and The Carpenters, among the hundreds of cover versions created over the years. As a matter of fact, since 2011, nearly 14 million people have viewed a video by Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt crooning it alone!

It's a testament to the terrific tune, ingratiating lyric and uniquely absorbing mood that time has treated the song so well - and, so, now, we celebrate it just in time for the brand new year that is upon us!

What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?

First up, listen to the original recording of Frank Loesser's "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" by The Orioles in 1947.

That same year, Margaret Whiting contributed her version of the soon-to-be American classic.

Next, sample Nancy Wilson's winning take on the tune.

Ella Fitzgerald lends it her characteristic brilliance.

Barbra Streisand infuses the song with her delectable flair.

Rod Stewart renders his recognizable rasp in a technologically adept duet with Ella.

Johnny Mathis gives the romantic staple his incomparable spin.

The Carpenters cover the classic in this performance clip.

2014 AMERICAN IDOL judge Harry Connick Jr. jazzes up the Frank Loesser staple.

Diana Krall lends her special sophisticated style to the song.

Bette Midler offers her interpretation of the standard.

Eydie Gorme shines in a sensitive rendition.

Andy Williams discusses Loesser and sings the song.

Liz Callaway imbues the song with sparkle.

SMASH star Katharine McPhee makes the classic her own.

Bobby Rydell and Chubby Checker give the song a '50s twist.

Rufus Wainwright spins the selection in his unique way.

Funnyman Seth MacFarlane stands out in this live performance.

Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt make the song a 21st century viral sensation.

Lastly, indie group The Head And The Heart cover the song in 2012.

So, what is your absolute favorite rendition of Frank Loesser's unforgettable "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" Is it simply impossible for you to choose just one or two, too?! Furthermore, what precisely do New Year's Eve and New Year's Day really mean to you - is it more "Send In The Clowns" or "Ring Them Bells" in your estimation? Either way, if 2013 was not quite what you hoped it would be... well, maybe this year.

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From This Author Pat Cerasaro

Pat Cerasaro contributes exclusive scholarly columns including InDepth InterViews, Sound Off, Theatrical Throwback Thursdays, Flash Friday and Flash Special as well as additional special features, (read more...)

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