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Friday, February 26, 2010

As Time Goes By

By Herman Hupfeld
1931

For Standard of the Day's 300th post, I give you one of America's finest songs of all time, and one which is an interesting study in second chances. Hupfeld first wrote it for the Broadway musical Everybody's Welcome, in which it was introduced by Frances Williams. And although Rudy Vallee had a hit with it, it would be considered a relatively minor tune until its inclusion as the central theme of Casablanca some 11 years later. Thanks to its appearance in that classic film, including the iconic performance by Dooley Wilson as Sam, it has become one of the most easily identified songs of all time.

Thanks to all who continue to support SOTD. Here's looking at you, kid.

Lyrics:

You must remember this,
A kiss is still a kiss,
A sigh is just a sigh.
The fundamental things apply
As time goes by.

And when two lovers woo,
They still say, I love you.
On this you can rely,
No matter what the future brings,
As time goes by.

Moonlight and love songs,
Never out of date;
Hearts full of passion,
Jealousy and hate;
Woman needs man,
And man must have his mate.
That no one can deny.

It's still the same old story,
A fight for love and glory,
A case of do or die.
The world will always welcome lovers,
As time goes by.

Recorded By:

Frank Sinatra
Tony Bennett
Jimmy Durante
Barbra Streisand
Barry White

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Learnin' the Blues

By Delores Silver
1954

The song that would become Sinatra's biggest hit of the 1950s has a very mysterious back story. Written by 25-year-old amateur songwriter Silver (real first name Vicki), it was first recorded as a demo by local Philadelphia crooner Joe Valino. Silver would then send that demo to Frank, who selected it and made her an offer to publish the song through his own company, Barton. Valino would later claim to have been muscled out, and prevented from recording the song himself. In any event, a true Sinatra signature tune that has become a standard.

Lyrics:

The tables are empty - the dance floor's deserted
You play the same love song - it's the tenth time you've heard it
That's the beginning - just one of the clues
You've had your first lesson - in learnin' the blues

The cigarettes you light - one after another
Won't help you forget her - and the way that you love her
You're only burnin' - a torch you can't lose
But you're on the right track - for learnin' the blues

When you're at home alone, the blues will taunt you constantly
When you're out in a crowd, the blues will haunt your memory

The nights when you don't sleep - the whole night you're cryin'
But you can't forget her - soon you even stop tryin'
You'll walk that floor - and wear out your shoes
When you feel your heart break - you're learnin' the blues

Recorded By:

Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong
Michael Buble
Lou Rawls
Rosemary Clooney
Frank Sinatra

Monday, February 22, 2010

All the Things You Are

By Jerome Kern & Oscar Hammerstein II
1939

A remarkable song from the master, Kern--breathtakingly beautiful, and nearly operatic in tone and melody. It was introduced on stage by the cast of Very Warm for May, the musical for which it was written. But it has taken on a life of its own that goes far beyond that play. Kern's aching melody is perfectly complemented by Hammerstein's sublime lyric, notable for being such a perfect expression of love without ever mentioning the actual word.

Lyrics:

Time and again I've longed for adventure,
Something to make my heart beat the faster.
What did I long for? I never really knew.
Finding your love I've found my adventure,
Touching your hand, my heart beats the faster,
All that I want in all of this world is you.

You are the promised kiss of springtime
That makes the lonely winter seem long.
You are the breathless hush of evening
That trembles on the brink of a lovely song.

You are the angel glow that lights a star,
The dearest things I know are what you are.
Some day my happy arms will hold you,
And some day I'll know that moment divine,
When all the things you are, are mine!

Recorded By:

Ella Fitzgerald
Frank Sinatra
Tommy Dorsey
Stan Kenton
Jack Jones

Saturday, February 20, 2010

I'm an Errand Boy for Rhythm (Send Me)

By Nat King Cole
1945

Introduced in 1945 by the King Cole trio, this up-tempo jumper was actually penned by Nat King Cole himself. It's typical of the rhythm numbers the trio were known for, which also included "Straighten Up and Fly Right", among many others. It has often been covered by female singers as "I'm an Errand Girl for Rhythm".

Lyrics:

Here's something that I'd like to bring to you--
Wrapped all in cellophane, designed for you.
Tell ya what it's all about
It is, without a doubt
Swingin' the latest style
Service with a smile!

If you want to swing and shout
Get your kicks and get about
I'm an errand boy for rhythm--send me!

Lace your boots and follow thru
I'll deliver straight to you
I'm an errand boy for rhythm--send me!

You can always find me down at Smokey Joe's
That's the place where every gal and gator goes.
If you want variety,
Just step in and call for me
I'm an errand boy for rhythm--send me!

Recorded By:

John Pizzarelli
Diana Krall
Carmen McRae
Carol Sloane
Pamela Joy

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Very Thought of You

By Ray Noble
1934

British bandleader Noble composed this endurant and poignant standard, and introduced it with his own orchestra, featuring Al Bowlly as the singer. It has been recorded countless times by pop and jazz artists, popping up decade after decade. On a personal note, my grandmother's wartime sweetheart used to sing this to her before going off to Europe, where he was killed. It is also a favorite to sing to my daughter at bedtime, and my best friend wisely used the Billie Holiday recording as his wedding song...

Lyrics:

I don't need your photograph to keep by my bed
Your picture is always in my head
I don't need your portrait, dear, to bring you to mind
For sleeping or waking, dear, I find

The very thought of you and I forget to do
The little ordinary things that everyone ought to do
I'm living in a kind of daydream
I'm happy as a king
And foolish though it may seem
Why to me that's everything

The mere idea of you, the longing here for you
You'll never know how slow the moments go till I'm near to you
I see your face in every flower
Your eyes in stars above
It's just the thought of you
The very thought of you, my love

I see your face in every flower
Your eyes in stars above
It's just the thought of you
The very thought of you, my love

Recorded By:

Bing Crosby
Frank Sinatra
Ella Fitzgerald
Billie Holiday
Tony Bennett & Paul McCartney

Monday, February 15, 2010

Baby, Won't You Please Come Home?

By Charles Warfield & Clarence Williams
1919

This blues and jazz classic was not officially introduced until 1922, when it was first recorded by Eva Taylor wife of co-composer Williams. Ironically, Warfield would later dispute Williams' authorship, claiming to have written the song alone. It would be made a smash hit in 1923 by the Empress of the Blues herself, Bessie Smith. Truly evocative of an era.

Lyrics:

I've got the blues, I feel so lonely
I'll give the world if I could only
Make you understand
It surely would be grand
I'm gonna telephone my baby
Ask him won't you please come home
'Cause when you're gone, I'm worried all day long

Baby won't you please come home
Baby won't you please come home
I have tried in vain
Ever more to call your name

When you left you broke my heart
That will never make us part
Every hour in the day
You will hear me say
Baby won't you please come home?

Baby won't you please come home
Baby won't you please come home
Cause your mama's all alone
I have tried in vain
Never more to call your name

When you left you broke my heart
That will never make us part
Landlord gettin' worse, I've got to move May the first
Baby won't you please come home, I need money
Baby won't you please come home?

Recorded By:

Django Reinhardt
Louis Armstrong
Lionel Hampton
Sidney Bechet
Ray Charles

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing

By Sammy Fain & Paul Francis Webster
1955

This was Fain & Webster's second composition to win the Oscar, following "Secret Love". It was featured in the film of the same, and later recorded by The Four Aces, who took it to #1 on the charts. A sweeping romantic epic, it is proof that great film songs were still being written even as the era of rock 'n roll was being born.

Lyrics:

Love is a many-splendored thing
It's the April rose that only grows in the early spring
Love is nature's way of giving a reason to be living
The golden crown that makes a man a king

Once on a high and windy hill
In the morning mist two lovers kissed and the world stood still
Then your fingers touched my silent heart and taught it how to sing
Yes, true love's a many-splendored thing

Recorded By:

Frank Sinatra
Andy Williams
Barry Manilow
Ringo Starr
Don Cornell

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY FROM STANDARD OF THE DAY...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Alone

By Nacio Herb Brown & Arthur Freed
1935

The only hit song to ever emerge from a Marx Brothers movie, this Brown/Freed composition was introduced in the film A Night at the Opera by Kitty Carlisle and Allan Jones (father of crooner Jack Jones). That same movie would also include a piano rendition by Chico Marx of another recent Brown song, "All I Do Is Think of You". "Alone" would be performed by Judy Garland five years later in the movie "Andy Hardy Meets Debutante".

Lyrics:

Alone,
Alone with a sky of romance above.
Alone,
Alone on a night that was meant for love.

There must be someone waiting
who feels the way I do.
Whoever you are, are you, are you

Alone,
Alone on this night that we two could share.
Alone,
Alone with a kiss that could make me care.

And when you come I promise
to be your very own!
Alone,
Alone with a heart meant for you.

And when you come I promise
to be your very own!
Alone,
Alone with a heart meant for you.

Alone.

Recorded By:

Johnny Hartman
Judy Garland
Tommy Dorsey
Nat King Cole
Allan Jones

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Japanese Sandman

By Richard A. Whiting & Raymond B. Egan
1919

Did you know that this song single-handedly kicked off the modern phenomenon of popular music recording? It's true, and I only discovered it after researching the song, which I recently came across in the new Terry Gilliam film The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus. Apparently, prior to Paul Whiteman's introduction of the tune, basically only classical music and some local folk material was deemed worthy of recording for posterity. But this pop song became the first platinum record, and in so doing ushered in the notion that there was a viable market for recorded performances of pop songs. Prior to that, the main market for pop was in the sale of sheet music.

Lyrics:

Won't you stretch imagination for the moment and come with me
Let us hasten to a nation lying over the western sea
Hide behind the cherry blossoms here's a sight that will please your eyes
There's a baby with a lady of Japan singing lullabies
Night winds breath her sighs here's the Japanese

Just as silent as we came we'll leave the land of the painted fan
Wander lightly or you'll wake the little people of old Japan
May repose and pleasant dreaming be their share while the hours are small
Like an echo of the song I hear the Japanese Sandman
call new days near for all here's the Japanese

Sandman sneaking on with the dew just an old second hand man
He'll buy your old day from you
he will take every sorrow of the day that is through
and he'll give you tomorrow just to start a life anew
then you'll be a bit older in the dawn when you wake
and you'll be a bit bolder with the new day you make
here's the Japanese Sandman trade him silver for gold
just an old second hand man trading new days for old.

Recorded By:

The Andrew Sisters
Artie Shaw
Bix Beiderbecke
Django Reinhardt
Mandy Patinkin

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I Don't Know Why (I Just Do)

By Fred E. Ahlert & Roy Turk
1931

An extremely versatile standard that has experienced three major periods of popularity and been recorded in many different styles. It was introduced in 1931 by Russ Columbo (pictures), then enjoyed a revival in the '40s thanks to the big bands, and came back again in the early '60s with Linda Scott. Charming and guileless, it has proven suitable for country, blues and rock recordings.

Lyrics:

All day long you're asking me what I see in you
All day long I'm answering but what good does it do?
I have nothing to explain
I just love you, love you, and I'll tell you once again

I don't know why I love you like I do
I don't know why, I just do
I don't know why you thrill me like you do
I don't know why, you just do

You never seem to want my romancing
The only time you hold me is when we're dancing

I don't know why I love you like I do
I don't know why, I just do

Recorded By:

Frank Sinatra
Kate Smith
Hoagy Carmichael
King Cole Trio
The Andrew Sisters

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