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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

'S Wonderful

By George & Ira Gershwin
1927

Making clever use of 1920s slang, this song was introduced in the Gershwin stage musical Funny Face, in which it was sung by Adele Astaire (Fred's sister) and Allen Kearns. It would pop up decades later in both An American in Paris (1951), and the movie Funny Face (1957) in which Fred Astaire sang it with Audrey Hepburn. An extremely popular standard.

Lyrics:

Don't mind telling you, in my humble fash,
That you thrill me through, with a tender pash.
When you said you care, 'magine my emoshe?
I swore then and there, permanent devoshe.
You made all other men seem blah,
Just you alone filled me with ahhhhhhhh......

'S wonderful, 's marvelous,
You should care for me!
'S awful nice, 's paradise,
'S what I love to see.

You've made my life so glamorous,
You can't blame me for feeling amorous!
Oh, 's wonderful, 's marvelous,
That you should care for me!

'S magnifique, 's what I seek,
You should care for me.
'S elegant, 's what I want,
'S what I love to see.

My dear, it's four-leaf clover time,
From now on my heart's working overtime.
'S exceptional, 's no bagatelle,
That you should care for...
That you should care for...
That you should care for me.

Recorded By:

Ella Fitzgerald
Judy Garland
Joe Williams
John Pizzarelli
Sarah Vaughan

Monday, June 29, 2009

Red Roses for a Blue Lady

By Sid Tepper & Roy C. Bennett
1948

Introduced by Vaughn Monroe at the end of 1948, and a strong hit for the singer. It remained the signature version of the song, despite several versions immediately after, and a revival of the song in the mid 1960s, during the "easy listening" craze. I've always been partial to Dean Martin's country-tinged rendition, myself.

Lyrics:

I want some red roses for a blue lady.
Mister florist, take my order please.
We had a silly quarrel the other day.
I hope these pretty flowers chase her blues away.

I want some red roses for a blue lady.
Send them to the sweetest gal in town.
And if they do the trick, I'll hurry back to pick
Your best white orchid for her wedding gown.

Recorded By:

Guy Lombardo
Vic Dana
Wayne Newton
Bert Kaempfert
Ray Conniff

Sunday, June 28, 2009

I Get Along Without You Very Well

By Hoagy Carmichael
1939

A sublime tune by Carmichael, who based his lyrics on a poem by Jane Brown Thompson. Ironically, Thompson passed away the night before the song was introduced on the radio by Dick Powell. The big hit would come that year for the Red Norvo orchestra. Hoagy himself would play the song in the 1952 movie The Las Vegas Story.

Lyrics:

I get along without you very well,
Of course I do.
Except when soft rains fall,
And drip from leaves, then I recall
The thrill of being sheltered in your arms.
Of course, I do.
But I get along without you very well.

I've forgotten you just like I should,
Of course I have.
Except to hear your name,
Or someones laugh that is the same.
But I've forgotten you just like I should.

What a guy, what a fool am I
To think my breaking heart could kid the moon.
What's in store? Should I phone once more?
No, it's best that I stick to my tune.

I get along without you very well,
Of course I do.
Except perhaps in spring, but I should never think of spring,
For that would surely break my heart in two.

Recorded By:

Chet Baker
Charlie Barnet
Frank Sinatra
Diana Krall
Peggy Lee

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Spanish Eyes

By Bert Kaempfert & Eddie Snyder
1966

Originally an instrumental called "Moon Over Naples", this one was composed by easy listening bandleader Kaempfert for his 1965 album The Magic Music of Far Away Places. The following year, Snyder added lyrics, changed the title, and the song became a smash hit for Al Martino. It went on to become one of the last standards of the songbook era.

Lyrics:

Blue Spanish eyes,
Teardrops are falling from your Spanish eyes.
Please please don't cry,
This is just adios and not good-bye.

Soon I'll return,
Bringing you all the love your heart can hold.
Please say "Si Si",
Say you and your Spanish eyes will wait for me.

Blue Spanish Eyes,
Prettiest eyes in all of Mexico.
Blue Spanish Eyes,
Please smile for me once more before I go.

Soon I'll return,
Bringing you all the love your heart can hold.
Please say "Si Si",
Say you and your Spanish eyes will wait for me.

Recorded By:

Elvis Presley
Tom Jones
Faith No More
Willie Nelson
Engelbert Humperdinck

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tender Is the Night

By Sammy Fain & Paul Francis Webster
1962

Nominated for the Oscar for Best Song, this song debuted in the movie of the same name, based on the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel and starring the late Jason Robards and Jennifer Jones. It would lose to another classic, Henry Mancini's "Days of Wine and Roses". Bernard Hermann orchestrated it for the film, and Tony Bennett would make the first commercial recording of it, later the same year.

Lyrics:

Tender is the night, so tender is the night.
There's no one in the world except the two of us.
Should tomorrow find us disenchanted,
We have shared a love that few have known.

Summers by the sea, a sailboat in Capri,
These memories shall be these very own.
Even though our dreams may vanish with the morning light,
We loved once in splendor--How tender, how tender is the night.

Recorded By:

Andy Williams
Vic Damone
Johnny Mathis
Billy Eckstine
Les Baxter

Saturday, June 20, 2009

If I Had You

By James Campbell, Reginald Connelly & Ted Shapiro
1928

This song has special significance for me, because it was the song I sang to my newborn daughter the first time I held her in my arms. It's a beautiful, underrated English ballad, composed by the songwriting team of Campbell & Connelly under the combined pseudonym of "Irving King", and introduced by the great Rudy Vallee. In recent years, it was sung by actor Edward Norton in the Woody Allen film, Everyone Says I Love You.

Lyrics:

I could show the world how to smile,
I could be glad all of the while,
I could turn the gray skies to blue,
If I had you.

I could leave the old days behind,
Leave all my pals,
They'd never mind.
I could start my life anew,
If I had you.

I could climb a snow-capped mountain,
Sail the mighty ocean wide.
I could cross the burning desert,
If I had you by my side.

I could be a king, dear, uncrowned.
Humble or poor,
Rich or renowned.
There is nothing I couldn't do,
If I had you.

Recorded By:

Sarah Vaughan
Frank Sinatra
Judy Garland
Dinah Washington
Joe Williams

Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered

By Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart
1940

Originally intended as a blatant expression of female sexuality, from the original production of Pal Joey. It was introduced in its original form by Broadway vet Vivienne Segal, but in later recorded versions it was sanitized to appeal to the more conservative record-buying public at the time. Much of the outright sexuality of the original lyrics were toned down. However, I'm proud to bring you the original words in their entirety here.

Lyrics:

After one whole quart of brandy,
Like a daisy, I awake.
With no Bromo Seltzer handy,
I don't even shake.
Men are not a new sensation;
I've done pretty well, I think.
But this half-pint imitation
Put me on the blink

I'm wild again,
Beguiled again,
A simpering, whimpering child again.
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I.

Couldn't sleep,
And wouldn't sleep
Until I could sleep where I shouldn't sleep.
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I.

Lost my heart, but what of it?
My mistake, I agree.
He's a laugh, but I like it,
B
ecause the laugh's on me.

A pill he is,
But still he is
All mine, and I'll keep him until he is
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered like me.

Seen a lot,
I mean, a lot.
But now I'm like sweet seventeen a lot.
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I.

I'll sing to him,
Each spring to him,
And worship the trousers that cling to him.
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I.

When he talks he is seeking
Words to get off his chest.
Horizontally speaking,
He's at his very best.

Vexed again,
Perplexed again.
Thank God I can't be over-sexed again.
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I.

Recorded By:

Ella Fitzgerald
Frank Sinatra
Barbra Streisand
June Christy
Jack Jones

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Granada

By Agustin Lara & Dorothy Dodd
1944

This operatic-style number was originally composed by Lara with Spanish lyrics, and was a popular Mexican song introduced in the U.S. in the film Two Girls and a Sailor by Xavier Cugat's orchestra. It would later have English lyrics provided by Dodd, and Bing Crosby would be the first to record them in 1951. A flamboyant, bombastic international standard.

Lyrics:

Granada, I’m falling under your spell,

And if you could speak, what a fascinating tale you would tell.

Of an age the world has long forgotten,

Of an age that weaves a silent magic in Granada today.

The dawn in the sky greets the day with a sigh for Granada.
For she can remember the splendor that once was Granada.
It still can be found in the hills all around as I wander along,
Entranced by the beauty before me,
Entranced by a land full of flowers and song.

When day is done and the sun touch the sea in Granada,
I envy the blush of the snow-clad Tierra Nevada.
Soon it will welcome the stars,
While a thousand guitars play a soft carbinera.
Then moonlit Granada will live again,
The glory of yesterday, romantic and gay.
Recorded By:

Mario Lanza
Frankie Laine
Frank Sinatra
Perez Prado
Placido Domingo

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

God Bless the Child

By Billie Holiday & Arthut Herzog Jr.
1939

Perhaps Billie Holiday's most famous recording, and a song co-written by her, as well. Holiday would later indicate that the origin of the lyrics came with an argument over money she had with her mother, in which she uttered the title line. From there, she was inspired to build the entire song around it. It remains one of the most iconic of all standards, to be found in numerous movies, TV shows, and countless cover versions.

Lyrics:

Them that's got shall get,
Them that's not shall lose.
So the bible says,
And it still is true.

Momma may have,
Poppa may have,
But God bless the child that's got his own,
That's got his own.

Yeah, the strong gets more,
While the weak ones fade.
Empty pockets don't
Ever make the grade.

Momma may have,
Poppa may have,
But God bless the child that's got his own,
That's got his own

Money, you've got lots of friends
Crowdin' round the door.
When it's gone and spendin' ends,
They don't come no more.

Rich relations give
A crust of bread and such.
You can help yourself,
But don't take too much

Momma may have,
Poppa may have,
But God bless the child that's got his own,
That's got his own.

Recorded By:

Diana Ross
Anita O'Day
Lou Rawls
Crystal Gayle
Barbra Streisand

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Cry Me a River

By Arthur Hamilton
1953

A sultry, powerful and vindictive song of wounded pride and love. Originally written for Ella Fitzgerald to sing in the 1955 film Pete Kelly's Blues, this song was instead dropped from the movie at the last minute. It would instead be introduced on record that year by Julie London (pictured), in what would become the signature version. She also performed it in the 1956 rock 'n' roll musical The Girl Can't Help It. It has since been recorded a vast number of times by a multitude of artists.

Lyrics:

Now you say you love me,
You cried the whole night through.
Well you can cry me a river,
Cry me a river,
I cried a river over you.

Now you say you're sorry,
For bein' so untrue.
Well you can cry me a river,
Cry me a river,
I cried a river over you.

You drove me, nearly drove me
Out of my head;
While you never shed a tear.

Remember, I remember,
All that you said;
You told me love was too plebeian,
Told me you were through with me-

And now you say you love me,
Well, just to prove you do,
Cry me a river,
Cry me a river,
I cried a river over you.

Recorded By:

Barbra Streisand
Diana Krall
Lesley Gore
Anne Murray
Etta James

Friday, June 12, 2009

All Alone

By Irving Berlin
1924

One of several pop waltzes composed by Berlin, it was actually introduced by acclaimed Irish opera legend John McCormack in 1925. However, the most famous version of the song would probably be the one recorded by Frank Sinatra nearly 60 years later for the album of the same name.

Lyrics:

All alone, I'm so all alone,
There is no one else but you.
All alone, by the telephone,
Waiting for a ring, a ting-a-ling.

I'm all alone every evening,
All alone, feeling blue.
Wond'ring where you are, and how you are,
And if you are all alone, too.

Recorded By:

Thelonious Monk
Jessica Williams
Julie London
Sarah Vaughan
Artie Shaw

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Just Squeeze Me

By Duke Ellington & Lee Gaines
1941

Although originally written by Ellington for his 1941 "Negro revue" Jump for Joy, the Ellington band didn't make the very first recording of the song until five years later. It would not become a hit until Paul Weston's version hit it big later in 1946. The classic tune is a fine example of the Duke's lively, swinging style, fitted perfectly to Gaines' staccato lyrics.

Lyrics:

Treat me sweet and gentle
When you hold me tight.
Just squeeze me,
But please, don't tease me.

I get sentimental
When you hold me tight.
Come and squeeze me,
But please don't tease me.

Missing you since you went away,
Singing the blues most everyday,
Counting the nights and longing for you.

I'm in the mood to let you know
I never knew I loved you so.
Please tell me that you love me, too.

For when I get that feeling,
I'm in ecstasy.
Come on, squeeze me,
But please, don't tease me.

Recorded By:

Diana Krall
Jane Monheit
Ella Fitzgerald
Sarah Vaughan
Les Brown

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Mood Indigo

By Duke Ellington, Barney Bigard & Irving Mills
1930

The melody for this tune was actually learned by Bigard from his clarinet teacher, who called it, "Mexican Blues". It was composed for an October 1930 radio broadcast, on which it was announced as "Dreamy Blues". Further, in 1987, lyricist Mitchell Parish would come forward claiming to have actually written the words, the credit for which was allegedly taken by Mills due to his being the publisher's brother.

Lyrics:

You ain't been blue; no, no, no.
You ain't been blue,
Till you've had that mood indigo.
That feelin' goes stealin' down to my shoes,
While I sit and sigh, "Go 'long blues".

Always get that mood indigo,
Since my baby said goodbye.
In the evenin' when lights are low,
I'm so lonesome I could cry.

'Cause there's nobody who cares about me,
I'm just a soul who's
Bluer than blue can be.
When I get that mood indigo,
I could lay me down and die.

Recorded By:

Frank Sinatra
Ella Fitzgerald
Nat King Cole
Nina Simone
Paul Robeson

Friday, June 5, 2009

Be Careful, It's My Heart

By Irving Berlin
1942

For the classic movie musical Holiday Inn, a whole bunch of Berlin songs were assembled, some old chestnuts and others specifically written for the film. This clever love song was one of the latter, written by the composer especially for Bing Crosby to sing in the picture.

Lyrics:

Be careful, it's my heart.
It's not my watch you're holding, it's my heart.

It's not the note that I sent you that you quickly burned,
It's not a book I lent you that you never returned.

Remember, it's my heart.
The heart with which so willingly I part.

It's yours to take, to keep or break,
But please, before you start,
Be careful, it's my heart.

Recorded By:

Frank Sinatra
Dinah Shore
Rosemary Clooney
John Pizzarelli
Vera Lynn

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Bye, Bye Blackbird

By Ray Henderson & Mort Dixon
1926

A true anthem of the Roaring '20s, this tune was introduced by Gene Austin, but perhaps the most famous rendition was Josephine Baker's. Ironically, given the Nazi party's disdain for jazz, it was even adopted as part of Joseph Goebbel's propaganda campaign, given new words intended to demoralize Allied troops. It failed.

Lyrics:

Pack up all my cares and woes,
Feeling low, here I go.
Bye, bye blackbird.

Where somebody waits for me.
Sugar's sweet--so is she.
Bye, bye blackbird.

No one seems to love or understand me,
And all the hard luck stories they keep handing me.
Where somebody shines the light,
I'll be coming home tonight.
Blackbird, bye bye.

Recorded By:

Nina Simone
Joe Cocker
John Coltrane
Liza Minelli
Peggy Lee

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Boy Next Door

By Hugh Martin & Ralph Blane
1944

This charming tune was written for the one and only Judy Garland, who performed it stunningly in the 1944 classic Meet Me in St. Louis. It has since become a widely performed standard, commonly changed to "The Girl Next Door" when performed by male vocalists such as Frank Sinatra, who recorded it for his criminally underrated 1962 Reprise album All Alone.

Lyrics:

The moment I saw him smile,
I knew he was just my style.
My only regret is we've never met,
Though I dream of him all the while.

But he doesn't know I exist,
No matter how I may persist.
So it's clear to see there's no hope for me,
Though I live at 5135 Kensington Avenue
And he lives at 5133.

How can I ignore the boy next door?
I love him more than I can say.
Doesn't try to please me,
Doesn't even tease me,
And he never sees me glance his way.

And though I'm heart-sore, the boy next door
Affection for me won't display.
I just adore him,
So I can't ignore him,
The boy next door.

Recorded By:

Stacey Kent
Bill Evans
Blossom Dearie
Doris Day
Barbra Streisand

Dancing on the Ceiling

By Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart
1930

Although written for a musical called Simple Simon, it did not make the final score. Instead, it was introduced in the musical Evergreen, when it opened in London on December 3, 1930. British musical star Jessie Matthews (pictured) further put her stamp on the song when she sang it in the movie version made four years later. The tune was popularized in the States by British band leader and showman, Jack Hylton.

Lyrics:

The world is lyrical
, because a miracle
Has brought my lover to me
.
Though he's some other place
, his face I see.
At night I creep in bed
, and never sleep in bed,
but look above in the air.

And to my greatest joy, my boy is there
.

He dances overhead,

On the ceiling near my bed.

In my sight,

Through the night.


I tried to hide in vain
Underneath my counterpane.
There's my love,
Up above
.

I whisper, "Go away my lover, it's not fair"

But I'm so grateful to discover he's still there
.

I love my ceiling more
Since it is a dancing floor

Just for my love
.

Recorded By:

Peggy Lee
Artie Shaw
Frank Sinatra
Chet Baker
Jo Stafford

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