Is That All There Is? Peggy Lee

The song was inspired by the 1896 story Disillusionment (Enttäuschung) by Thomas Mann. The narrator in Mann’s story tells the same stories of when he was a child. It is sung here in probably its best-known version, by Peggy Lee

SPOKEN:

I remember when I was a very little girl, our house caught on fire. I’ll never forget the look on my father’s face as he gathered me up in his arms and raced through the burning building out to the pavement. I stood there shivering in my pyjamas and watched the whole world go up in flames. And when it was all over I said to myself, “Is that all there is to a fire?”

SUNG:

Is that all there is, is that all there is?
If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing
Let’s break out the booze and have a ball
If that’s all there is

SPOKEN:

And when I was 12 years old, my father took me to a circus, the greatest show on earth. There were clowns and elephants and dancing bears. And a beautiful lady in pink tights flew high above our heads. And so I sat there watching the marvellous spectacle.
I had the feeling that something was missing.
I don’t know what, but when it was over,
I said to myself, “is that all there is to a circus?”

SUNG:

Is that all there is, is that all there is?
If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing
Let’s break out the booze and have a ball
If that’s all there is

SPOKEN:

Then I fell in love, head over heels in love, with the most wonderful boy in the world. We would take long walks by the river or just sit for hours gazing into each other’s eyes. We were so very much in love. Then one day he went away and I thought I’d die, but I didn’t,
and when I didn’t I said to myself, “is that all there is to love?”

SUNG:

Is that all there is, is that all there is
If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing

SPOKEN:

I know what you must be saying to yourselves, if that’s the way she feels about it why doesn’t she just end it all? Oh, no, not me. I’m in no hurry for that final disappointment, for I know just as well as I’m standing here talking to you, when that final moment comes and I’m breathing my lst breath, I’ll be saying to myself:

SUNG:

Is that all there is, is that all there is?
If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing
Let’s break out the booze and have a ball
If that’s all there is.

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About layanglicana

Author of books on Calcutta, Delhi and Dar es Salaam, I am now blogging as a lay person about the Church of England and the Anglican Communion. I am also blogging about the effects of World War One on the village of St Mary Bourne, Hampshire.
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