Today is Judy Garland's birthday. She would have been 86 years old.
Say what you will about her life, her addictions, her relationships, but Francis Ethel Gumm was one of the greatest entertainers of the 20th century. Or any century.
In searching for just the right Garland song on YouTube, I came across this clip from The Judy Garland Show. It's Judy singing "I Wish You Love."
I had never heard Garland sing it before, but I think it shows just how brilliant she was on stage.
She brings you in. At the top of the song, you can barely hear her. You begin to focus on her, the lyrics, the story. It's not until the bridge of the song that you realize she's letting someone go, ending a relationship with all of the love in her heart.
And then, there's a pause in the phrase, "I wish you... shelter from the storm." You think she might have forgotten the lyric. It's as if she's on a tight rope with no net and she slightly falters. You want to be there for her, catch her. But in your heart, you know she will succeed. And when the lyric is sung, when she sings "...shelter from the storm," you almost cheer.
Garland brings you into the story of the song, while at the same time allowing you to thrill at her performance and her craft.
Why are gay men obsessed with Judy Garland? Because we have excellent taste.
What better way to say Happy Birthday than "I Wish You Love."