Music History

What’s the Point of Singing “Auld Lang Syne” on New Year’ Eve?

Good question. For the answer, let’s consult Digg.

First, we must blame a Canadian.

It was in 1929 that Guy Lombardo and his band took the stage at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City on New Year’s Eve. Their performance that night was being broadcast on the radio, before midnight Eastern-time on CBS, then after on NBC radio. At midnight, as a transition between the broadcasts, the song they chose to play was an old Scottish folk song Lombardo had first heard from Scottish immigrants in Ontario. The song was Auld Lang Syne.

So why do we keep singing it? Hollywood:

A lot of things were popular in the 1940s that have long since been erased from the cultural lexicon. So why did Auld Lang Syne stick around? At least in part, we can point the finger at a usual suspect: Hollywood.

Tinseltown loves the song. Heck, there’s a whole supercut devoted to the song appearing in movies during New Year’s Eve scenes:

There’s plenty more to be found at Digg. Meanwhile, here’s a question: what song do you think would be more appropriate for today? My vote: “Live Forever” from Oasis.



Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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One thought on “What’s the Point of Singing “Auld Lang Syne” on New Year’ Eve?

  • My wife mentioned to me that in Colombia the melody for Auld Lang Syne is used in funerals. I found it kinda creepy.


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