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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Stars Fell on Alabama

By Frank Perkins & Mitchell Parish 
1934

The title was inspired by the famous Leonid meteor shower observed in Alabama in 1833, and was also used for a travelogue published the same year (coincidence?). First recorded by Guy Lombardo's orchestra, it has since become a jazz standard recorded by more than a hundred different artists. The tune is the anthem of Jacksonville State University in Alabama, and the title can now even be found on that state's license plates.

Lyrics:

We lived our little drama,
We kissed in a field of white,
And stars fell on Alabama
Last night

I can't forget the glamor,
Your eyes held a tender light,
While stars fell on Alabama
Last night

I never planned in my imagination
A situation so heavenly.
A fairy land where no one else could enter,
And in the center, just you and me.

My heart beat like a hammer,
Arms wound around you tight,
And stars fell on Alabama
Last night.
Recorded By:

Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong

Frank Sinatra
Billie Holiday
Harry Connick Jr.
Jimmy Buffett

Monday, September 29, 2008

I'll Never Be the Same

By Matt Malneck, Frank Signorelli & Gus Kahn
1932

While still members of Paul Whiteman's successful orchestra, Malneck & Signorelli composed this tune as "Little Buttercup", but Kahn soon added a somewhat depressing lyric that contrasted interestingly with the melody's major key. Mildred Bailey (pictured) introduced the song in its complete form.

Lyrics:

I'll never be the same,
Life has lost its meaning for me.
I'll never be the same,
Nothing's what it once used to be.

And when the songbirds that sing
Tell me it's spring,
I don't believe their song.
Once love was king,
But kings can be wrong.

I'll never be the same,
There is such an ache in my heart.
I'll never be the same,
Since we're apart.

Though there's a lot that a smile can hide,
I know down deep inside,
I'll never be the same,
Never be the same again.

Recorded By:

Diana Krall
Frank Sinatra
Ruth Etting
Artie Shaw

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Fever

By Eddie Cooley & John Davenport
1956

After being published by Cooley and "Davenport" (a pseudonym for early rock 'n roll songwriter Otis Blackwell), the tune was introduced by R&B singer Little Willie John. But it was Peggy Lee's iconic 1958 version, with its classic bassline, that made the song a standard. A precursor to the rock n' roll style that would soon take over, the song is actually constructed on almost the exact same chord progression, tempo and key as Tennessee Ernie Ford's recording of "Sixteen Tons" from 1955.

Lyrics:

Never know how much i love you,
Never know how much i care.
When you put your arms around me,
I get a fever that's so hard to bare.

You give me fever--
When you kiss me,
Fever when you hold me tight.
Fever--
In the morning,
Fever all through the night.

Sun lights up the day time,
Moon lights up the night,
I light up when you call my name,
And I know you're gonna treat me right.

You give me fever--
When you kiss me,
Fever when you hold me tight.
Fever--
In the morning,
Fever all through the night.

Everybody's got the fever,
That is something you all know.
Fever isn't such a new thing,
Fever start long ago.

Romeo loved Juliet,
Juliet she felt the same.
When he put his arms around her,
He said, "Julie baby, your my flame,

"Now give me fever--
When were kissin'
Fever with that flamin' youth.
Fever--
I'm on fire,
Fever, yay, I burn, forsooth."

Captain Smith and Pocahontas
Had a very mad affair.
When her daddy tried to kill him,
She said, "Daddy, oh don't you dare!

"He gives me fever--
With his kisses,
Fever when he holds me tight.
Fever--
I'm his misses.
Daddy, won't you treat him right?"

Now you listened to my story,
Here's the point that I have made:
Chicks were born to give you fever,
Be it Fahrenheit or Centigrade.

They give you fever--
When you kiss them,
Fever if you live and learn.
Fever--
Till you sizzle,
What a lovely way to burn.

Recorded By:

Madonna
Michael Buble
Sarah Vaughan
Ella Fitzgerald
Nina Simone

Friday, September 26, 2008

(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66

By Bobby Troup
1946

A popular hit for Nat King Cole soon after its publication, the song was inspired by a trip the composer Troup made along the fabled roadway from Pennsylvania to California. Troup claimed that the catalog of town names that makes up so much of the song was put there mainly because of writer's block on his part when it came to lyrics. A very fun song.

Lyrics (complete lyrics recorded only in the Perry Como version):

Mister, you may have travelled near or far,
But you haven't seen the country,
'Till you've seen the country by car!
Mister, may I recommend a royal route?
It starts in Illinois, let me tell you boy!

If you ever plan to motor west,
Travel my way, take the highway, that's the best!
Get your kicks on Route 66!

It winds from Chicago to L.A.,
More than two thousand miles all the way!
Get your kicks on Route 66!

You go through St. Louis, Joplin, Missouri,
And Oklahoma City is a mighty purdy!
You'll see Amarillo, Gallup, New Mexico,
Flagstaff, Arizona, don't forget Winona,
Kingman, Barstow, San Bernardino!

Won't you get hip to this timely tip,
When you make that California trip?
Get your kicks on Route 66!

Springfield, Illinois, Springfield, Missouri too!
Seven states--count 'em, seven,
Spread out in front of you!

You'll like the aroma of Tulsa, Oklahoma,
Albuquerque and Tucumcari, make New Mexico extraordinary!
You'll wanna own a piece of Arizona,
Needles, Essex, Amboy, Azusa,
No one in sunny Cal is a loser.

So get hip to this timely tip,
When you make that California trip!
If any Joe tells you to go some other way,
Say nix!
Get your kicks on Route 66!

Recorded By:

Tierney Sutton
Chuck Berry
Perry Como
Bob Dylan
The Rolling Stones

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Stairway to the Stars

By Matt Malneck, Frank Signorelli & Mitchell Parish 1939

This song began its life in 1934 as the third and final part of an instrumental composed by Malneck & Signorelli called "Park Avenue Fantasy". Five years later, while Malneck was using the tune as his radio show theme, he and Signorelli approached Parish to write lyrics for the third section. The newly refashioned pop song was a megahit for Glenn Miller and his singer Ray Eberle, hitting number one and staying on the charts for 13 weeks.

Lyrics:

Let's build a stairway to the stars,
And climb that stairway to the stars.
With Love beside us,
To fill the night with a song.

We'll hear the sound of violins,
Out yonder where the blue begins.
The moon will guide us
As we go drifting along.

Can't we sail away on a lazy daisy petal
Over the rim of the hills?
Can't we sail away on a little dream,
Settle high on the crest of a thrill?

Let's build a stairway to the stars,
A lovely lovely stairway to the stars.
It would be heaven
To climb to heaven with you.

Recorded By:

Jimmy Dorsey
Stan Kenton
Ella Fitzgerald
Natalie Cole
Sarah Vaughan

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Memories of You

By Eubie Blake & Andy Razaf
1930

Blake, of course, was a ragtime and early jazz pioneer, while Razaf is also known for such lyrics as "Ain't Misbehavin'" and "Honeysuckle Rose". Significantly for the era, both composers were African American. Minto Cato introduced the tune on Broadway in Lew Leslie's Blackbirds of 1930, but it was Benny Goodman who made a huge hit of it shortly thereafter, and adopted it as his theme song.

Lyrics:

Waking skies
At sunrise,
Every sunset, too.
Seems to be
Bringing me
Memories of you.

Here and there,
Everywhere,
Scenes that we once knew.
And they all
Just recall
Memories of you.

How I wish I could forget those
Happy yesteryears.
That have left a rosary of tears.

Your face beams
In my dreams,
In spite of all I do.
Everything
Seems to bring
Memories of you.

Recorded By:

Duke Ellington
Ethel Waters
Louis Armstrong
Anita O'Day
Billy Eckstine

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Long Ago (And Far Away)

By Jerome Kern & Ira Gershwin
1944

This one was written for Columbia Pictures' first Technicolor production Cover Girl. Although it was given to the ravishing Rita Hayworth to "sing" in the movie, the actual dubbed voice was that of Martha Mears, who was commonly used to dub actors' singing voices in 1940s musicals.

Lyrics:

Dreary days are over.
Life's a four leaf clover.
Sessions of depressions are through.
Every hope I longed for long ago, comes true.

Long ago and far away,
I dreamed a dream one day,
And now that dream is here beside me.
Long the skies were overcast,
But now the clouds have passed,
You're here at last!

Chills run up and down my spine,
Aladdin's Lamp is mine,
The dream I dreamed was not denied me.
Just one look and then I knew,
That all I longed for
Long ago, was you.

Recorded By:

Dick Haymes & Helen Forrest
Bing Crosby
Jo Stafford
Perry Como
Chet Baker

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Embraceable You

By George & Ira Gershwin
1928

Originally written for the unpublished operetta East Is West, this song sat on the shelf for two years, until the Gershwins inserted it into their smash hit 1930 Broadway production, Girl Crazy. The musical, and the song, helped make a star out of Ginger Rogers, who performed it in a number choreographed by Fred Astaire.

Lyrics:

Dozens of girls would storm up--
I had to lock my door.
Somehow i couldn't warm up
To one before.
What was it that controlled me?
What kept my love life lean?
My intuition told me
You'd come on the scene.
Lady, listen to the rhythm of my heartbeat,
And you'll get just what I mean.

Embrace me,
My sweet embraceable you.
Embrace me,
You irreplaceable you.

Just one look at you,
My heart grew tipsy in me.
You and you alone
Bring out the gypsy in me.

I love all
The many charms about you.
Above all,
I want my arms about you.

Don't be a naughty baby,
Come to papa, come to papa, do.
My sweet embraceable you.

Recorded By:

Billie Holiday
Ella Fitzgerald
Frank Sinatra
Andy Bey
Judy Garland

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Fly Me to the Moon

By Bart Howard
1954

When it was written for cabaret singer Felicia Sanders, it was called "In Other Words". But it came to be known by its opening line, until even the publisher had the name officially changed. Frank Sinatra's 1964 swing version, by far the most famous, was actually played for the Apollo 10 astronauts on their 1969 mission to the moon. Though written as a waltz, Quincy Jones' swing arrangement for Sinatra has become the standard.

Lyrics:

Fly me to the moon
And let me play among the stars,
Let me see what spring is like
On Jupiter and Mars.

In other words, hold my hand.
In other words, darling, kiss me.

Fill my heart with song
And let me sing forevermore.
You are all I long for,
All I worship and adore.

In other words, please be true.
In other words, I love you.

Recorded By:

Diana Krall
Astrud Gilberto
Kaye Ballard
Julie London
Tony Bennett

Monday, September 15, 2008

Tea for Two

By Vincent Youmans & Irving Caesar
1925

This well-remembered tune was written for the infamous musical No, No, Nanette, the non-musical version of which had been financed six years earlier by Red Sox owner Harry Frazee with money he got from selling Babe Ruth to the Yankees. It became a common selection among tap dancers (who could forget Daffy Duck's soft shoe?), and was later revived by Doris Day in the 1950 movie of the same name. Lyricist Caesar would later claim the words were originally intended only as filler.

Lyrics:

I'm discontented with homes that I've rented,
So I have invented my own.
Darling, this place is a lovely oasis,
Where life's weary taste is unknown.
Far from the crowded city,
Where flowers pretty caress the stream.
Cozy to hide in, to live side by side in,
Don't let it apart in my dream--

Picture you upon my knee,
Just tea for two,
And two for tea.
Just me for you,
And you for me alone.

Nobody near us, to see us or hear us,
No friends or relations,
On weekend vacations.
We won't have it known, dear,
That we own a telephone, dear...

Day will break and I'll awake,
And start to bake a sugar cake,
For you to take for all the boys to see.

We will raise a family,
A boy for you,
And a girl for me.
Can't you see how happy we would be?

Recorded By:

Frank Sinatra
Tony Bennett
Neil Diamond
Duke Ellington
Blossom Dearie

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I'm Beginning to See the Light

By Johnny Hodges, Duke Ellington, Harry James & Don George
1944

With a melody originating in the mind of saxophonist Johnny Hodges (pictured), this song had the benefit of being fleshed out by legendary bandleaders Duke Ellington and Harry James. It was Ellington whose influence can be more easily heard, with his "conversational" style of contrasting melodic phrases. Lyricist George was tapped for the words, which make clever references to all sorts of light imagery. Both Ellington and James recorded it in 1945, but while the Duke's version made it to #6 on the charts, ironically it would be James' rendition that hit the top spot.

Lyrics:

I never cared much for moonlit skies,
I never wink back at fireflies,
But now that the stars are in your eyes,
I'm beginning to see the light.

I never went in for afterglow,
Or candlelight on the mistletoe,
But now when you turn the lamp down low,
I'm beginning to see the light.

Used to ramble through the park,
Shadowboxing in the dark,
Then you came and caused a spark
That's a four-alarm fire now.

I never made love by lantern-shine,
I never saw rainbows in my wine,
But now that your lips are burning mine,
I'm beginning to see the light.

Recorded By:

Ella Fitzgerald & The Ink Spots
Bobby Darin
Michael Buble
Frank Sinatra
Kelly Rowland

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Falling in Love with Love

By Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart
1938

Rodgers came up with the idea to create the first American musical based on a Shakespearean play, and the result was The Boys from Syracuse, adapted from The Comedy of Errors. This song was one of two standards to emerge from it, the other being "This Can't Be Love". It was introduced in the show by lovely actress of stage and screen, Muriel Angelus (pictured). The successful Broadway production was turned into a movie in 1940.

Lyrics:

I weave with brightly colored strings
To keep my mind off other things;
So, ladies, let your fingers dance,
And keep your hands out of romance.
Lovely witches
Let the stitches
Keep your fingers under control.
Cut the tread but leave
The whole heart whole.
Marry maids can sew and sleep;
Wives can only sew and weep!

Falling in love with love
Is falling for make believe.
Falling in love with love
Is playing the fool;
Caring too much
Is such a juvenile fancy.
Learning to trust
Is just for children in school.

I fell in love with love
One night, when the moon was full.
I was unwise with eyes
Unable to see.
I fell in love with love,
With love everlasting,
But love fell out with me.

Recorded By:

Cannonball Adderly
Julie Andrews
Art Blakey
Vic Damone
Frank Sinatra

Friday, September 12, 2008

Don't Worry 'Bout Me

By Rube Bloom & Ted Koehler
1938

Filled with controlled longing, this melancholy tune by Bloom and long-time Harold Arlen collaborator Koehler is a complex piece that captures the feel of a loving relationship amicably ended. It was written for the Cotton Club Parade show of 1939, in which Cab Calloway introduced it. Bloom was also the composer of such equally thrilling hits as "Day In, Day Out" and "Fools Rush In".

Lyrics:

Don't worry 'bout me,
I'll get along.
Forget about me--
Be happy, my love.

Just say that our little show is over,
And so the story ends.
Why not call it a day,
The sensible way
And still be friends?

"Look out for yourself"
Should be the rule.
Give your heart and your love
To whomever you love--
Don't you be a fool.

Baby, why stop and cling
To some fading thing
That used to be?
If you can't forget,
Don't you worry 'bout me.

[Ladies and gentlemen, that is a lyric.]

Recorded By:

Frank Sinatra
Ella Fitzgerald
Billie Holiday
Hal Kemp
Joe Williams

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Strike Up the Band

George & Ira Gershwin
1927

The Gershwins wrote this as the title song for a satirical show poking fun at jingoism and militaristic music, in which it was played by the Red Nichols orchestra, featuring the likes of Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa, Jack Teagarden, Glenn Miller and Jimmy Dorsey. It was used again in a 1940 Judy Garland-Mickey Rooney movie that bore no resemblance to the original show. The brother composers also gave it to UCLA to use as one of its school songs.

Lyrics:

Let the drums roll out,
Let the trumpet call,
While the people shout,
"Strike up the band!"

Hear the cymbals ring,
Callin' one and all
To the martial swing,
Strike up the band!

There is work to be done, to be done.
There's a war to be won, to be won.
Come, you son of a son of a gun,
Take your stand.

Fall in line, yea a bow!
Come along, let's go!
Hey, leader, strike up the band!

Recorded By:

Ella Fitzgerald
Tony Bennett
Maureen McGovern
Martin Denny
Boston Pops

Monday, September 8, 2008

Deep in a Dream

By Jimmy Van Heusen & Eddie DeLange
1938

Van Heusen and band leader DeLange (pictured) were introduced in 1938 by Tin Pan Alley song plugger Charlie Warren, and the result was this song, along with tunes like "All This and Heaven Too" and "Darn that Dream". It was first recorded by Connee Boswell, recently gone solo after her successful sister act. It was also featured in the 1939 Chuck Jones-directed Warner Bros. cartoon Naughty but Mice.

Lyrics:

I dim all the lights and I sink in my chair.
The smoke from my cigarette climbs through the air.
The walls of my room fade away in the blue,
And I'm deep in a dream of you.

The smoke makes a stairway for you to descend;
You come to my arms, may this bliss never end,
For we love anew just as we used to do
When I'm deep in a dream of you.

Then from the ceiling, sweet music comes stealing;
We glide through a lover's refrain, you're so appealing
That I'm soon revealing my love for you over again.

My cigarette burns me, I wake with a start;
My hand isn't hurt, but there's pain in my heart.
Awake or asleep, ev'ry mem'ry I'll keep
Deep in a dream of you.

Recorded By:

Chet Baker
Artie Shaw
Frank Sinatra
Dave Brubeck
Cab Calloway

Sunday, September 7, 2008

You Were Meant for Me

By Nacio Herb Brown & Arthur Freed
1929

In honor of the passing yesterday of early Hollywood starlet Anita Page, I give you this very pretty song, from her movie The Broadway Melody. Brown wrote the song for Page, to whom he was attached at the time. They would marry, but Page later annulled the marriage after discovering that Brown was still married to his first wife (so much for being meant for each other!). The song was a big hit, coming out of MGM's very first musical. It would be brought back 23 years later in Singin' in the Rain.

Lyrics:

Life was a song,
You came along,
I've laid awake the whole night through.
If I ever dared to think you'd care,
This is what I'd say to you:

You were meant for me,
And I was meant for you.
Nature patterned you,
And when she was done,
You were all the sweet things
Rolled up in one.

You're like a plaintive melody
That never lets me free.
But I'm content
The angels must have sent you,
And they meant you just for me.

Recorded By:

Perry Como
Helen Forrest
Coleman Hawkins
Paul Weston

* For more on Anita Page, check out my other blog, The Vault of Horror.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

You're the Top

By Cole Porter
1934

From perhaps Porter's most iconic musical, Anything Goes, this song was introduced on Broadway by Ethel Merman and William Gaxton. In the film version two years later, Gaxton would be replaced by Bing Crosby. The song is an irresistible time capsule of 1930s culture, and some have also speculated its title and refrain are typically witty double entendres by Porter referring to homosexual slang for love partners, i.e. "bottoms" and "tops".

Lyrics:

At words poetic, I'm so pathetic
That I always have found it best,
Instead of getting 'em off my chest,
To let 'em rest, unexpressed.
I hate parading my serenading,
As I'll probably miss a bar,
But if this ditty is not so pretty,
At least it'll tell you how great you are.

You're the top!
You're the Coliseum.
You're the top!
You're the Louvre Museum.
You're a melody from a symphony by Strauss.
You're a Bendel bonnet,
A Shakespeare sonnet,
You're Mickey Mouse.

You're the Nile,
You're the Tower of Pisa.
You're the smile
On the Mona Lisa.
I'm a worthless check, a total wreck, a flop,
But if baby, I'm the bottom, you're the top!

Your words poetic are not pathetic.
On the other hand, babe, you shine,
And I can feel after every line
A thrill divine down my spine.
Now gifted humans, like Vincent Youmans,
Might think that your song is bad,
But I got a notion I'll second the motion,
And this is what I'm going to add:

You're the top!
You're Mahatma Gandhi.
You're the top!
You're Napoleon Brandy.
You're the purple light of a summer night in Spain.
You're the National Gallery,
You're Garbo's salary,
You're cellophane.

You're sublime,
You're turkey dinner.
You're the time of a Derby winner.
I'm a toy balloon that’s fated soon to pop,
But if baby, I'm the bottom, you're the top!

You're the top!
You're an arrow collar.
You're the top!
You're a Coolidge dollar.
You're the nimble tread of the feet of Fred Astaire.
You're an O'Neill drama,
You're Whistler's mama!
You're Camembert.

You're a rose,
You're Inferno's Dante.
You're the nose
On the great Durante.
I'm just in a way, as the French would say, "de trop".
But if baby, I'm the bottom, you're the top!

You're the top!
You're a dance in Bali.
You're the top!
You're a hot tamale.
You're an angel, you, simply too, too, too diveen.
You're a Boticcelli,
You're Keats, you're Shelly!
You're Ovaltine!

You're a boon,
You're the dam at Boulder.
You're the moon,
Over Mae West's shoulder.
I'm the nominee of the G.O.P. , or GOP!
But if baby, I'm the bottom, you're the top!

You're the top!
You're a Waldorf salad.
You're the top!
You're a Berlin ballad.
You're the boats that glide on the sleepy Zuider Zee.
You're an old Dutch master,
You're Lady Astor,
You're broccoli!

You're romance,
You're the steppes of Russia.
You're the pants
On a Roxy usher.
I'm a broken doll, a fol-de-rol, a blop!
But if baby, I'm the bottom, you're the top!

Recorded By:

Cole Porter
Barbra Streisand
Paul Whiteman
Bobby Short
Ella Fitzgerald

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Puttin' on the Ritz

By Irving Berlin
1929

This one has gone through quite a transformation over the years. Written for the 1930 musical film of the same name, in which it was introduced by Harry Richman, it was originally about poor blacks in Harlem who "put on the Ritz", or pretended to be affluent--a reference to the Ritz Hotel. When Fred Astaire sang it six years later, Berlin had changed the lyrics to pertain to affluent whites. It was featured to great comedic effect in Mel Brooks' 1974 picture Young Frankenstein. And a decade after that, Dutch singer Taco scored a #4 hit on the charts with his synth-pop cover, making the 95-year-old Berlin the oldest songwriter to ever have a charted hit.

Lyrics:

[Original version:]

Have you seen the well-to-do
Up on Lenox Avenue?

On that famous thoroughfare,
With their noses in the air?

High hats and colored collars,
White spats and fifteen dollars.

Spending every dime
For a wonderful time.

If you're blue and you don't know where to go to,
Why don't you go where Harlem sits?
Puttin' on the Ritz.

Spangled gowns upon a bevy of high browns
From down the levee, all misfits,
Puttin' on the Ritz.

That's where each and every lulubelle goes
Ev'ry Thursday evening with her swell beaus,
Rubbing elbows.

Come with me and we'll attend their jubilee,
And see them spend their last two bits.
Puttin' on the Ritz.

[Revised version:]
Have you seen the well-to-do
Up and down Park Avenue?

On that famous thoroughfare,
With their noses in the air?

High hats and Arrow collars,
White spats and lots of dollars.

Spending every dime
For a wonderful time.


If you're blue, and you don't know where to go to,
Why don't you go where fashion sits?
Puttin' on the Ritz.

Diff'rent types who wear a day coat, pants with stripes,
And cutaway coat, perfect fits.
Puttin' on the Ritz.

Dressed up like a million dollar trouper,
Trying hard to look like Gary Cooper--
Super duper!

Come, let's mix where Rockefellers walk with sticks,
Or um-ber-ellas in their mitts.
Puttin' on the Ritz.


Recorded By:

Ella Fitzgerald
Benny Goodman
Judy Garland
Fred Astaire
Taco

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Tenderly

By Walter Lloyd Gross & Jack Lawrence
1946

Back in the early '40s when it was known simply as "Walter's Melody", Gross would play this tune privately and for club audiences. But in 1946, singer Margaret Whiting introduced him to Jack Lawrence, lyricist for such hits as "If I Didn't Care" and "All or Nothing at All". Lawrence put words and a new title to the song, and after Gross asked Sarah Vaughan to make the first recording of it, the two men had a hit on their hands. It was one of Vaughan's earliest hits as a solo artist.

Lyrics:

The evening breeze caressed the trees,
Tenderly.
The trembling trees embraced the breeze,
Tenderly.

Then you and I came wandering by,
And lost in a sigh were we.

The shore was kissed by sea and mist,
Tenderly.
I can't forget how two hearts met,
Breathlessly.

Your arms opened wide and closed me inside.
You took my lips, you took my love,
So Tenderly.

Recorded By:

Chet Baker
Rosemary Clooney
Nat King Cole
Jackie Gleason
Louis Armstrong & Ella Fitzgerald

Monday, September 1, 2008

That Lucky Old Sun

By Beasley Smith & Haven Gillespie
1949

In honor of Labor Day, I give you this soulful ballad of the working man. With words by James Lamont "Haven" Gillespie, lyricist for "You Go to My Head" and "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town" of all things, it was introduced in the summer of '49 by Frankie Laine, who took it all the way to number one. That very same year, it was jumped on by the likes of Vaughan Monroe, Louis Armstrong and Frank Sinatra.

Lyrics:

Up in the mornin',
Out on the job,
Work like the devil for my pay.
But that lucky old sun,
Got nothin' to do,
But roll around heaven all day.

Fuss with my woman,
Toil for my kids,
Sweat till I'm wrinkled and gray.
While that lucky old sun,
Got nothin' to do,
But roll around heaven all day.

Dear Lord above, don't you know I'm pining,
Tears all in my eyes?
Send down that cloud with the silver lining,
Lift me to Paradise!

Show me that river,
Take me across,
Wash all my troubles away.
Like that lucky old sun, give me nothing to do,
But roll around heaven all day.

Recorded By:

Frankie Laine
Sarah Vaughan
Brian Wilson
Ray Charles
Johnny Cash

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