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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

They're Either Too Young or Too Old

By Arthur Schwartz & Frank Loesser
1943


Thank Your Lucky Stars was the only film in which Bette Davis sang--and it was in it that the legendary actress introduced this gem of a Loesser lyrics, put to music by the one and only Arthur Schwartz. Loesser's words deal ruefully with a young woman's efforts to find a mate while all the good men are overseas fighting the war...

Lyrics:

You rushed away and left this house as empty as can be
And I am like the driftwood in a deadly calm at sea
I can't sit under the apple tree with anyone else but thee
For there is no secret lover that the draft board didn't discover

They're either too young or too old
They're either too gray or too grassy green
The pickings are poor and the crop is lean
What's good is in the Army, what's left will never harm me

They're either too old or too young
So, darling, you'll never get stung
Tomorrow I'll go hiking with that Eagle Scout unless
I get a call from grandpa for a snappy game of chess

They're either too warm or too cold
They're either to fast or too fast asleep
So, darling, believe me, I'm yours to keep
They're isn't any gravy, the gravy's in the Navy

They're either too fresh or too stale
There is no available male
I will confess to one romance I'm sure you will allow
He tried to serenade me, but his voice is changing now

They're either too bald or too bold
I'm down to the wheelchair and bassinet
My heart just refuses to get upset
I simply can't compel it to, with no Marine to tell it to

I'm either their first breath of spring
Or else, I'm their last little fling
I either get a fossil or an adolescent pup
I either have to hold him off or have to hold him up

The battle is on, but the fortress will hold
They're either too young or too old

Recorded By:

Dinah Shore
Jimmy Dorsey
Margaret Whiting
Rosemary Clooney
Andrea Marcovicci

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Slow Boat to China

By Frank Loesser
1947

In contrast to his many hits from shows, "Slow Boat to China" was one of Loesser's hit pop songs. It was introduced by Kay Kyser, and soon became a very enduring standard. Like so many Loesser compositions, it remains a part of our popular lexicon.

Lyrics:

I'd like to get you
On a slow boat to China,
All to myself alone.
To get you and keep you in my arms evermore,
Leave all your lovers
Weeping on the faraway shore.

Out on the briny
With the moon big and shinny,
Melting your heart of stone.
Darling, I'd love to get you
On a slow boat to China,
All to myself alone.

Recorded By:

Bette Midler & Barry Manilow
Benny Goodman
Rosemary Clooney
Ella Fitzgerald
Liza Minelli




Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Standing on the Corner

By Frank Loesser
1956

One of Loesser's later hits, originally written for the Broadway show, The Most Happy Fella, in which it was sung by Shorty Rogers, Alan Gilbert, John Henson and Roy Lazarus. A breezy swinger, it was a big hit for the '50s vocal group The Four Lads.

Lyrics:

Standing on a corner watching all the girls go by
Standing on a corner watching all the girls go by
Brother you don't know a nicer occupation
Matter of fact, neither do I
Than standing on a corner watching all the girls
Watching all the girls, watching all the girls go by

I'm the cat that got the cream
Haven't got a girl but I can dream
Haven't got a girl but I can wish
So I'll take me down to Main street
And that's where I select my imaginary dish

Standing on a corner watching all the girls go by
Standing on a corner giving all the girls the eye
Brother if you've got a rich imagination
Give it a whirl, give it a try
Try standing on a corner watching all the girls
Watching all the girls, watching all the girls go by

Brother you can't go to jail for what you're thinking
Or for that woo look in your eye
Standing on the corner watching all the girls
Watching all the girls, watching all the girls go by

Recorded By:

Dean Martin
The Four Lads
Celtic Thunder
The Mills Brothers
Hazell Dean

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Luck Be a Lady

By Frank Loesser
1950

Of all Loesser's compositions, this could very well be the most enduring. It was written for the musical Guys and Dolls, in which Sky Masterson (first played by Simon Mullins) courts Lady Luck so that she smiles favorably on his gambling endeavors. It was sung by Marlon Brando in the film--yet co-star Sinatra, who coveted Brando's role, later made it one of his signature songs.

Lyrics:

They call you Lady Luck, but there is room for doubt.
At times, you have a very unladylike way of running out.
You're on this date with me, the pickings have been lush.
And yet, before this evening is over, you might give me the brush.
You might forget your manners, you might refuse to stay,
And so the best that I can do is say...

Lucky, be a lady tonight!
Lucky, be a lady tonight!
Luck, if you've ever been a lady to begin with,
Luck, be a lady tonight!

Luck, let a gentleman see,
How nice a dame you can be.
I know the way you've treated other guys you've been with.
Luck, be a lady with me!

A lady doesn't leave her escort.
It isn't fair; it isn't nice.
A lady doesn't wander all over the room,
And blow on some other guy's dice.

Let's keep this party polite,
Never get out of my sight.
Stick with be baby, I'm the guy that you came in with.
Luck, be a lady tonight!

Recorded By:

Frank Sinatra
Barry Manilow
Barbra Streisand
Jack Jones
Dean Martin

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Heart and Soul

By Hoagy Carmichael & Frank Loesser
1938

One of the most instantly recognizable standards of all time--so much so that it rivals "Chopsticks" as the most common song used by those learning to play piano. Carmichael's melody follows a chord progression that would later become popular with doo-wop songs. The song was introduced by the Larry Clinton orchestra, featuring Bea Wain. It famously figured in the Tom Hanks film Big, in which Hanks and Robert Loggia "danced" out the notes on a giant piano.

Lyrics:

Heart and soul, I fell in love with you,
Heart and soul, the way a fool would do,
Madly...
Because you held me tight,
And stole a kiss in the night...

Heart and soul, I begged to be adored,
Lost control, and tumbled overboard,
Gladly...
That magic night we kissed,
There in the moon mist.

Oh! but your lips were thrilling, much too thrilling,
Never before were mine so strangely willing.

But now I see, what one embrace can do,
Look at me, it's got me loving you,
Madly...
That little kiss you stole,
Held all my heart and soul.

Recorded By:

Ella Fitzgerald
Dave Brubeck
Milt Jackson
Dean Martin
Mel Torme

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I Hear Music

By Burton Lane & Frank Loesser
1940

A major hit from an obscure musical film entitled Dancing on a Dime. It was introduced in the movie by Robert Paige, Peter Lind Hayes, Frank Jenks and Eddie Quillan. But it became much more of a standard a bit later, when it was taken by post-war jazz performers. It remains one of Loesser's catchier tunes, and perhaps his finest collaboration with Lane (right).

Lyrics:

I hear music,
Mighty fine music.
The murmur of a morning breeze up there,
The rattle of the milkman on the stair.

Sure that's music,
Mighty fine music.
The singing of a sparrow in the sky,
The perking of the coffee right near by.

That's my favorite melody,
You my angel, phoning me.

I hear music,
Mighty fine music.
And anytime I think my world is wrong,
I get me out of bed and sing this song.

Recorded By:

Ella Fitzgerald
Billie Holiday
Carmen McRae
Gene Krupa
Bobby McPherrin

Monday, June 7, 2010

Baby, It's Cold Outside

By Frank Loesser
1944

For years, Loesser and his wife Lynn Garland performed this duet at private parties, until the composer sold the rights to MGM in 1948. Garland was reportedly angry, as she considered it "their song." MGM placed it in the film Neptune's Daughter, helping Loesser win the Oscar for Best Original Song in the process. It has since become an informal Christmas standard, although the holiday is never referenced in the lyric.

Lyrics:

I really can't stay - Baby it's cold outside
I've got to go away - Baby it's cold outside
This evening has been - Been hoping that you'd drop in
So very nice - I'll hold your hands, they're just like ice
My mother will start to worry - Beautiful, what's your hurry
My father will be pacing the floor - Listen to the fireplace roar
So really I'd better scurry - Beautiful, please don't hurry
Well maybe just a half a drink more - Put some music on while I pour

The neighbors might think - Baby, it's bad out there
Say, what's in this drink - No cabs to be had out there
I wish I knew how - Your eyes are like starlight
To break the spell - I'll take your hat, your hair looks swell
I ought to say no, no, no, sir - Mind if I move closer
At least I'm gonna say that I tried - What's the sense in hurting my pride?
I really can't stay - Baby don't hold out
Ahh, but it's cold outside

I simply must go - Baby, it's cold outside
The answer is no - Ooh darling, it's cold outside
This welcome has been - I'm lucky that you dropped in
So nice and warm - Look out the window at that storm
My sister will be suspicious - Man, your lips look delicious
My brother will be there at the door - Waves upon a tropical shore
My maiden aunt's mind is vicious - Gosh your lips are delicious
Well maybe just a half a drink more - Never such a blizzard before

I've got to go home - Oh, baby, you'll freeze out there
Say, lend me your coat - It's up to your knees out there
You've really been grand - I thrill when you touch my hand
But don't you see - How can you do this thing to me?
There's bound to be talk tomorrow - Think of my life long sorrow
At least there will be plenty implied - If you caught pneumonia and died
I really can't stay - Get over that hold out
Ahh, but it's cold outside

Recorded By:

Ray Charles & Betty Carter
Dean Martin
Leon Redbone & Zooey Deschanel
Dinah Shore & Buddy Clark
Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Jordan

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I Don't Want to Walk Without You

By Jule Styne & Frank Loesser
1942

Loesser collaborated with Styne to compose a bunch of tunes for the 1942 Paramount film Sweater Girl, with this innocent confection being the big hit. Bettie Jane Rhodes sang it in the film, and it was recorded immediately after by the Harry James orchestra with Helen Forrest, resulting in a number one record. As recently as 30 years ago, it was taken back to the Billboard charts by Barry Manilow.

Lyrics:

All our friends keep knocking at the door
They've asked me out a hundred times or more
But all I say is, "Leave me in the gloom"
And here I stay within my lonely room
'Cause...

I don't want to walk without you, Baby
Walk without my arm about you, Baby
I thought the day you left me behind
I'd take a stroll and get you right off my mind
But now I find that

I don't want to walk without the sunshine
Why'd you have to turn off all that sunshine?
Oh, Baby, please come back or you'll break my heart for me
'Cause I don't want to walk without you
No, siree

Recorded By:

Phyllis McGuire
Artie Shaw
Jo Stafford
Jerry Vale
Joe Holt

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Two Sleepy People

By Hoagy Carmichael & Frank Loesser
1938

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Frank Loesser on June 29, 1910. To honor this centennial, Standard of the Day will be spotlighting Loesser songs throughout the month of June, in a little tribute I call "Heart and Soul." We kick it off with this charmer, written by Loesser with fellow songwriting giant Hoagy Carmichael. Loesser's delightful lyric concerns a couple so enthralled by each others' company that they refuse to part, despite being exhausted. It was introduced by Bob Hope & Shirley Ross as a companion piece to "Thanks for the Memories" from the previous year.

Lyrics:

Here we are, out of cigarettes,
Holding hands and yawning,
Look how late it gets.
Two sleepy people by dawn's early light,
And too much in love to say goodnight.

Here we are, in a cozy chair;
Pickin' on a wishbone from the frigidaire.
Two sleepy people with nothing to say,
And too much in love to break away.

Do you remember the nights we used to linger in the hall?
Your father didn't like me at all.
Do you remember the reason why we married in the fall?
To rent this little nest and get a bit of rest.

Well, here we are just about the same,
Foggy little fella, drowsy little dame.
Two sleepy people by dawn's early light,
And too much in love to say goodnight.

Recorded By:

Fats Waller
Carly Simon
Al Bowlly
Dean Martin
Art Garfunkel

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