Life Begins At Forty
is the title of a 1932 non-fiction bestseller by American academic Walter B. Pitkin. Three years later and fictionalised, it appeared on the big screen. On April 8, 1936, an advertisement for Phyllosan tablets that appeared in the London Times
urged its older readers to take this amazing rejuvenating compound because "Life begins at Forty!"
In only a few years the phrase had become an enduring if not entirely endearing cliché, so it was no surprise that it soon found its way into verse. In her autobiography Some Of These Days
, Sophie Tucker said "Life Begins At Forty" was one of her most popular songs, a song everyone who shivers at the word "middle-aged" feels - "the longing to make life over, to live it more fully and freely. To have more love and a lot more laughs". Tucker recorded it in 1937 on the Decca label; backed by "No Man Is Ever Going To Worry Me", it runs to a shade over three minutes. Although this Jack Yellen/Ted Shapiro composition may have been the first song called "Life Begins At Forty", there have been a good few written since.