By Timothy Harrison
Old sheet music with a lighthouse cover or a song about a lighthouse are becoming harder and harder to find. They are either tucked away in an attic or they have been discarded by people cleaning out estates. Eventually many of these old songs will have disappeared forever. This one, “Love’s Song,” was in the Lighthouse Digest collection for many years and, because the lighthouse on the cover was not particularly stunning, we never paid much attention to it. That is until recently when we decided to do a little research on it.
The music was written by Alice Nadine (Lanterman) Morrison (1898-1928) and the words were written by her sister-in-law Nellie Morrison. Alice and her husband, dance instructor and drummer, Howell Oakdeane “Morrie” Morrison (1888-1984, owned Morrison Music Company, a business they formed to publish sheet music. One of Morrison’s early songs, in 1919, was the waltz, “My Love Is All For You”, which became a national hit, selling a half a million copies, and was recorded for player pianos and released on the Emerson Photograph Co. label.
Because of their previous success, the Forster Music Publishing, quickly got involved with “Love’s Ship” that Alice and her sister-in-law, Nellie wrote; Forster licensed the song and it sold over a million copies. The music became the score for the 1920 silent film Shore Acres and Tenor, Joseph O’Hare recorded the song for Brunswick Records, and the Club De Vingt Orchestra recorded it on Edison Records.
The Morrisons’ style of music was loved by the Ballroom Dance Clubs of the time and they also allowed their music to evolve with the times, but the height of their popularity was in the 1920s through the 1940s. In 1954 the couple purchased a mansion in Seattle, Washington that was once owned by the Japanese Counsel in Seattle. Today, very few people know about the Morrisons’ illustrious career and its many ups and downs that eventually faded into the pages of time. But the music and words of “Love’s Ship” live on, if only in the dusty pages of time, which we are sharing with you here in the pages of Lighthouse Digest, if only to remind you that this type of history is still alive and worth sharing with the lighthouse community.
Oh, wonderful ship of my golden dreams,
From the harbor of love never part,
Tho’ you drift away,
Come back I pray,
Anchor again in my heart.
Little Love Ship, sail back,
Oh, sail back into port,
Sail back with your treasures untold;
For my heart is the harbor,
And you are the ship,
And your wondrous love is the gold.
My lighthouse is built
on the strong rocks of hope,
Where no tempest can tear it apart;
And the bells sweetly ring
of the joy you will bring,
When Love’s Ship anchors
safe in my heart.
Oh, hearts that long for the ships at sea,
Just remember the storms do not last;
Darkest clouds roll by,
Peace fills our sky,
Fears harbored once quick pass.
This story appeared in the
May/Jun 2013 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
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