"More addictive than a goddam video game" - Balloon Juice

"One of my very favorite music blogs ever..." - Singer/Songwriter Emma Wallace

"Fascinating... really GREAT!!! You'll learn things about those tunes we all LOVE to play and blow on... SOD is required reading for my advanced students. It's fun, too!" - Nick Mondello of
AllAboutJazz.com

"I never let a day go by without checking it." - Bob Madison of Dinoship.com

"I had dinner the other night with some former WNEW staff members who spoke very highly of your work." - Joe Fay

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Sweetest Sounds

By Richard Rodgers
1962

A rare example of a song Rogers composed by melody and lyrics to on his own, this one was for the musical No Strings. It was introduced by Diahann Carroll, whom Rodgers had hand-picked for the female lead. The melody is reportedly inspired by a phrase in Johannes Brahms' Piano Concerto No. 2. It's complex tune and minor key gives it a unique, brooding sound.

Lyrics:

The sweetest sounds I'll ever hear
Are still inside my head.
The kindest words I'll ever know
Are waiting to be said.

The most entrancing sight of all
Is yet for me to see....
And the dearest love in all the world
Is waiting somewhere for me,
Is waiting somewhere.... somewhere for me.

Recorded By:

Sarah Vaughan
Barbra Streisand
Eydie Gorme
Brandy
Nancy Wilson

Thursday, April 22, 2010

That Old Black Magic

By Harold Arlen & Johnny Mercer
1942

Lyricist Mercer, deeply in love with Judy Garland, and an on-and-off paramour of the iconic singer/actress, allegedly wrote the lyrics to this Arlen tune for her. One of the finest products of the legendary Arlen/Mercer collaboration, it was actually introduced on record by Garland herself. It remains one of the most recognizable standards to this day.

Lyrics:

That old black magic has me in its spell, that old black magic that you weave so well.
Those icy fingers up and down my spine,
That same old witchcraft when your eyes meet mine.

The same old tingle that I feel inside, and then that elevator starts its ride,
And down and down I go, round and round I go, like a leaf that's caught in the tide.

I should stay away, but what can I do?
I hear your name and I'm aflame.
Aflame with such a burning desire that only your kiss can put out the fire.

For you're the lover I have waited for, the mate that fate had me created for.
And every time your lips meet mine, darling, down and down I go, round and round I go,
In a spin, loving the spin I'm in, under that old black magic called love.

Recorded By:

Frank Sinatra
Ella Fitzgerald
Glenn Miller
Sammy David Jr.
Louis Prima & Keely Smith

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I Can't Give You Anything but Love

By Jimmy McHugh & Dorothy Fields
1927

Some have claimed that this song was actually written by Fats Waller and his collaborator Andy Razaf, but this remains unproven. It was originally written as "I Can't Give You Anything but Love, Lindy" in honor of Charles Lindburgh, but was dropped from the show in which it would have served that purpose. It was instead introduced in the all-black show Blackbird Revue. Today, many recall it from its unforgettable usage in the classic Grant/Hepburn screwball comedy Bringing Up Baby.

Lyrics:

Gee but it's tough to be broke kid,
It's not a joke kid,
It's a curse.
My luck is changing it's gotten from simply rotten,
To something worse.
Who knows someday I will win too,
I'll begin to reach my pride.
Now that i see what our end is,
All can spend is just my time.

I can't give you anything but love, baby.
That's the only thing I've plenty of, baby.
Dream a while. Scheme a while.
We're sure to find,
Happiness, and I guess
all those things you've always pined for.

Gee I'd like to see you looking swell,
My little baby
Diamond bracelets Woolworth's doesn't sell, baby.
Till that lucky day you know darn well, baby,
I can't give you anything but love.

Recorded By:

Fats Waller
Ella Fitzgerald
Judy Garland
Doris Day
Louis Armstrong

Monday, April 19, 2010

I'm Sitting on Top of the World

By Ray Henderson, Sam M. Lewis & Joe Young
1925

An anthem of the Roaring '20s, this infectious number was also one of the signature tunes of that musical giant of the Jazz Age, Al Jolson. It has since come to represent the heights of the pre-Depression 1920s, and was ironically used to that effect in the opening of Peter Jackson's remake of King Kong, set after the stock market crash. It can also be heard over the closing credits of the 1995 Richard III starring Ian McKellen.

Lyrics:

I'm sitting on top of the world,
Just rolling along
Just rolling along.

I'm quitting the blues of the world
Just singing a song
Just singing a song.

Glory hallelujah, I just phoned the parson
Hey, pa, get ready to call
Just like humpty dumpty,
I'm going to fall.

I'm sitting on top of the world
Just rolling along
Just rolling along.

Some people have diamonds
And beautiful pearls
While others have children
Just kiddies with curls.

Keep all of your fortunes
Keep all of your fame
I just found a sweetie
Who's changing her name.

I'm sitting on top of the world
just rolling along
just rolling along.

Don't want any millions
I'm getting my share
I've only got one suit (one suit)
That's all I can wear
A bundle of money won't make you feel gay
A sweet little honey is making me say.

I'm sitting on top of the world
just rolling along
just rolling along.

Recorded By:

Art Gillham
Les Paul & Mary Ford
Dean Martin
Dizzy Gillespie
Doris Day

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Hello, Young Lovers

By Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein II
1951

A somewhat mournful, bittersweet tune written for the Rodgers & Hammerstein smash hit The King and I, in which it was sung by the character of Anna (played by Deborah Kerr but voiced by Marni Nixon.) Anna sings to the King of Siam's wives about her late husband, using some of Oscar Hammerstein's finest lyrics. One of the film's most successful songs, and an instant standard.

Lyrics:

When I think of Tom.
I think of a night,
When the earth smelled of summer
And the sky was streaked with white,
The soft mist of England
Was sleeping on a hill.

I remember this,
And I always will...
There are new lovers now
On the same silent hill,
Looking on the same blue sea.
And I know Tom and I are a part of them all --
And they're all a part of Tom an me.

Hello young lovers, whoever you are,
I hope your troubles are few.
All my good wishes go with you tonight,
I've been in love like you.

Be brave, young lovers, and follow your star,
Be brave and faithful and true,
Cling very close to each other tonight.
I've been in love like you.

I know how it feels to have wings on your heels,
And to fly down the street in a trance.
You fly down a street on the chance that you meet,
And you meet -- not really by chance.

Don't cry young lovers, whatever you do,
Don't cry because I'm alone;
All of my memories are happy tonight,
I've had a love of my own.
I've had a love of my own, like yours-
I've had a love of my own.

Recorded By:

Perry Como
Bobby Darrin
Frank Sinatra
Guy Lombardo
Marvin Gaye

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

It Never Entered My Mind

By Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart
1940

Rodgers & Hart were at the height of their powers when they put out Higher and Higher in 1940, and this was one of the big hits from that show--a melancholy, clever, and simply gorgeous ballad that typifies their intimate style and knack for simple, hypnotic compositions. It was introduced on-stage by long-time Bob Hope partner Shirley Ross (pictured). Frank Sinatra's rendition on the classic Capitol album In the Wee Small Hours is particularly sublime.

Lyrics:

I don't care if there's powder on my nose.
I don't care if my hairdo is in place.
I've lost the very meaning of repose.
I never put a mudpack on my face.
Oh, who'd have thought
that I'd walk in the daze now?
I never go to shows at night,
but just to matinees now.
I see the show
and home I go.

Once I laughed when I heard you saying
that I'd be playing solitaire,
uneasy in my easy chair.
It never entered my mind.

Once you told me I was mistaken,
that I'd awaken with the sun
and order orange juice for one.
It never entered my mind.

You have what I lack myself
and now I even have to scratch my back myself.

Once you warned me that if you scorned me
I'd sing the maiden's prayer again
and wish that you where there again
to get into my hair again.
It never entered my mind.

Recorded By:

Sarah Vaughan
Frank Sinatra
Miles Davis
Ella Fitzgerald
June Christy

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Come Rain or Come Shine

By Harold Arlen & Johnny Mercer
1946

One of the all-time classic songs Arlen composed with various partners for African-American musical revues, this one was written for St. Louis Woman. However, it was actually introduced on record by the Tommy Dorsey orchestra (Sy Oliver vocalist) two months before the show opened. Martin Scorsese would twist the Mercer lyric into an ode to obsessive fandom for his 1983 film The King of Comedy.

Lyrics:

I'm gonna love you,
Like nobody's loved you,
Come rain, or come shine.
Happy together, unhappy together,
Now won't that be fine?

Days may be cloudy or sunny,
We're in or we're out of the money,
But I'm with you always,
I'm with you, come rain or shine.

I'm gonna love,
Like nobody's loved you,
Come rain, or come shine.
High as a mountain, deep as a river,
Now won't that be fine?

I guess when you met,
It was just one of those things.
But don't ever bet me,
Cause I'm gonna be true, if you let me.

You're gonna love me,
Like nobody's loved me,
Come rain, or come shine.
Happy together, unhappy together,
And won't it be fine?

Days may be cloudy or sunny,
We're in or we're out of the money,
But I'll love you always,
I'm with you, rain or shine.

Recorded By:

Billie Holiday
Frank Sinatra
Ray Charles
Dinah Washington
Dexter Gordon

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Don't Take Your Love from Me

By Henry Nemo
1941

One of the most successful compositions of popular Hollywood hipster and songwriter Henry Nemo, who is often referred to as the inventor of "jive talk". He was also the alleged inspiration for the commercial cartoon character Charlie the Tuna. This song was a big hit for him, and was introduced by the minor '40s songstress Joan Brooks.

Lyrics:

Tear a star from out the sky and the sky feels blue.
Tear a petal from a rose and the rose weeps, too.
Take your heart away from mine and mine will surely break.
My life is yours to make, so, please keep the spark awake.

Would you take the wings from birds so that they can't fly?
Would you take the ocean's roar and leave just a sigh?
All this your heart won't let you do,
This is what I beg of you:
Please don't take your love from me.

Recorded By:

Keely Smith
Frank Sinatra
Lena Horne
Julie London
Doris Day

Sunday, April 4, 2010

All I Do Is Dream of You

By Nacio Herb Brown & Arthur Freed
1934

Originally written for the motion picture Sadie McKee, this wistful song of unconditional love was a huge hit of the 1930s. The first recording was done by the Hotel Great Northern Orchestra, after which it immediately became a popular standard. Chico Marx famously performed it on the piano in A Night at the Opera.

Lyrics:

All I do the whole night through
Is dream of you.
And with the dawn, I still go on,
Dreamin' of you.

You're every thought,
You're everything,
You're every song I ever sing.
Summer, winter, autumn and spring.

And were there more
Than twenty-four hours a day,
They'd be spent in sweet content,
Dreamin' away.

When skies are gray,
Skies are blue,
Morning, noon and nighttime too.
All I do the whole day through,
Is dream of you...

Recorded By:

Patti Page
Johnny Ray
Perry Como
Ella Fitzgerald
Dean Martin

Listen to Martini in the Morning

Jazz News