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Thursday, July 29, 2010

You Turned the Tables on Me

By Louis Alter & Sidney D. Mitchell
1936

Benny Goodman enjoyed a major hit with this particular song, using gthe beautiful Helen Ward as his singer at the time. Shortly before, the tune had been introduced in the motion picture Sing, Baby, Sing, in which it was performed by Alice Faye. This was the same movie that introduced the gorgeous Richard Whiting/Walter Bullock song, "When Did You Leave Heaven?", sung by Tony Martin. Say, I think I'll do that one next...

Lyrics:

I used to be the apple of your eye,
I had you with me every day,
But now whenever you are passing by
You're always looking the other way.
It's little things like this
That prompt me to say:

You turned the tables on me
And now I'm falling for you;
You turned the tables on me
I can't believe that it's true.

I always thought when you brought
The lovely present you bought
Why hadn't you brought me more,
But now if you'd come
I'd welcome anything
From the five and ten cent store.

You used to call me the top,
You put me up on a throne.
You let me fall with a drop,
And now I'm out on my own.

But after thinking it over and over,
I got what was coming to me.
Just like the sting of a bee,
You turned the tables on me.

Recorded By:

Billie Holiday
Louis Armstrong
Count Basie
Tex Beneke
Ann Hampton Callaway

Sunday, July 25, 2010

I've Got You Under My Skin

By Cole Porter
1936

For those keeping score, last Wednesday marked the second anniversary of Standard of the Day, and in honor of this, I present one of the true diamonds of popular song, Cole Porter's timeless classic from the MGM musical Born to Dance, originally sung by Virginia Bruce. Of course, the Chairman of the Board himself, Frank Sinatra, would make this one of his all-time signature tunes thanks to an incredible recording on the 1956 Capitol album, Songs for Swingin' Lovers. The wonderful, rolling melody; the jubilant lyrics; and Sinatra's expertly eloquent phrasing married to Nelson Riddle's jaw-dropping arrangement--for these reasons and more, this composition is a true American treasure.

Lyrics:

I've got you under my skin
I've got you deep in the heart of me
So deep in my heart, that you're really a part of me
I've got you under my skin

I've tried so not to give in
I've said to myself this affair never gonna swing so well
So why should I try to resist, when baby will I know damn well
That I've got you under my skin

I'd sacrifice anything come what might
For the sake of having you near
In spite of a warning voice that comes in the night
And repeats, repeats in my ear

Don't you know little fool, you'll never win
Why not use your mentality, wake up step up to reality
But each time I do, just the thought of you
Makes me stop before I begin
'Cause I've got you under my skin

Recorded By:

Louis Prima & Keely Smith
Diana Krall
Ella Fitzgerald
Peggy Lee
Dinah Washington

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Just Friends

By John Klenner & Sam M. Lewis
1931

Although this tune was introduced by Red McKenzie (pictured) and his orchestra, it wasn't until Russ Columbo recorded it the following year that it became a hit. It was has since become a popular jazz standard. Many might remember it from the 1933 Our Gang comedy "Mush and Milk" in which it was hilariously performed by veteran Little Rascal Tommy Bond.

Lyrics:

Just friends
Lovers no more
Just friends
But not like before.

To think of what we've been
And not to kiss again
Seems like pretending
It isn't the ending.

Two friends
Drifting apart
Two friends
But one broken heart.

We loved we laughed we cried
Then suddenly love died
The story ends
And we're
Just friends.

Recorded By:

Billie Holiday
Frank Sinatra
Joe Williams & George Shearing
Pat Martino
Jazz Ambassadors

Monday, July 19, 2010

Trade Winds

By Charles Tobias & Cliff Friend
1940

The prolific Tin Pan Alley tunesmith Tobias (pictured) put this one together with occasional collaborator Friend (the duo would enjoy a hit two years later with the World War II anthem, "We Did It Before and We Can Do It Again"). None other than Bing Crosby snatched up the song and immediately made a hit out of it. Very popular in the early 1940s, it can even be heard in several Warner Bros. cartoons of the period.

Lyrics:

Down where the trade winds play,
Down where you lose the day,
We found a new world where paradise starts,
We traded high way down where the trade winds play.

Music was everywhere,
flowers were in her hair,
Under an awning of silvery boughs,
We traded vows the night that I sailed away.

Oh trade winds, what are vows that lovers make,
Oh trade winds, are they only made to break,

When it is may again,
I’ll sail away again,
Though I’m returning, it won’t be the same,
She traded her name way down where the trade winds play.

Recorded By:

Frank Sinatra
Martin Denny
Lou Rawls
Billy Vaughan
Tommy Dorsey

Friday, July 16, 2010

With a Song in My Heart

By Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart
1929

A sweepingly melodious ballad from the Rodgers & Hart musical Spring Is Here, introduced on stage by John Hundley and Lillian Taiz. It was featured in numerous film musicals for decades after, but firstly in the full-length film version of Spring Is Here in 1930 (pictured).

Lyrics:

Though I know that we meet ev'ry night
and we couldn't have change since the last time,
to my joy and delight,
it's a new kind of love at first sight.
Though it's you and it's I all the time
ev'ry meeting's marvelous pastime.
You're increasingly sweet,
so whenever we happened to met
I greet you ...

With a song in my heart
I behold your adorable face.
Just a song at the start
but it soon is a hymn to your grace.

When the music swells
I'm touching you hand
It tells that your're standing near, and ..

At the sound of your voice
heaven opens his portals to me.
Can I help but rejoice
that a song such as ours came to be?

But I always knew
I would live life through
with a song in my heart for you.

Recorded By:

Ella Fitzgerald
Perry Como
The Supremes
Doris Day
Sammy Davis Jr.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Darktown Strutters' Ball

By Shelton Brooks
1917

Another infectious and marvelous old tune that may not perfectly jibe with our modern politically correct sensibilities, but should never be forgotten. Introduced by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, it was one of the earliest traditional jazz songs to become a standard. It's believed to have been inspired by the 1915 Pacific-Panama Expo in San Francisco. I have a personal fondness for it, as my great-aunt (born 1920) used to sing it to me when I was a small child as I danced around her living room. This jumping dance composition will always be a favorite of mine.

Lyrics:

I'll be down to get you in a taxi, Honey,
You better be ready about half past eight,
Now dearie, don't be late,
I want to be there when the band starts playing.

Remember when we get there, Honey,
The two-steps, I'm goin' to have 'em all,
Goin' to dance out both my shoes,
When they play the "Jelly Roll Blues,"
Tomorrow night at the Darktown Strutters' Ball.

Recorded By:

Ella Fitzgerald
Dean Martin
Jimmy Dorsey
Fats Waller
Lou Monte

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Alright, Okay, You Win

By Maymie Watts & Sid Wyche
1955

A breezy, swingin' jazz number if ever there was one, this tune was composed specifically for the Count Basie orchestra, then in its post-World War II phase. Then band singer Joe Williams, who would soon go on to an illustrious solo career, introduced the song on Basie's May 17, 1955 recording. It has remained a popular song with traditional pop singers of a jazzy bent.

Lyrics:

Well alright, okay, you win
I'm in love with you
Well alright, okay, you win
Baby, what can I do
I'll do anything you say
It's just got to be that way

Well alright, okay, you win
I'm in love with you
Well alright, okay, you win
Baby, what can I do
Anything you say I'll do
As long as it's me and you

All that I am asking
All I want from you
Just love me like I love you
And it won't be hard to do

Well alright, okay, you win
I'm in love with you
Well alright, okay, you win
Baby, what can I do
I'll do anything you say
It's just got to be that way

All that I am asking
All I want from you
Just love me like I love you
And it won't be hard to do

Well alright, okay, you win
I'm in love with you
Well alright, okay, you win
Baby, one thing more
If you're gonna be my man
Sweet baby take me by the hand

Recorded By:

Bette Midler
Peggy Lee
Ella Fitzgerald
Nancy Wilson
Elvis Presley

Saturday, July 10, 2010

One for My Baby (And One More for the Road)

By Harold Arlen & Johnny Mercer
1943

Arguably the finest product of the legendary teaming of Arlen and Mercer, two songwriters of equally titanic stature. It has become the all-time classic saloon song, thanks in great part to its iconic interpretation by Frank Sinatra, who turned it into something of a performance piece. However, it was originally written for Fred Astaire, who introduced it in the musical film The Sky's the Limit. It doesn't get any better than Arlen's laconic, smoky melody paired up with Mercer's timeless, aching lyric...

Lyrics:

Its quarter to three,
There's no one in the place, except you and me.
So set 'em up, Joe,
I got a little story I think you oughtta know.

We're drinking my friend
To the end of a brief episode.
So make it one for my baby,
And one more for the road.

I know the routine,
Put another nickel in the machine.
I'm feeling so bad,
Won't you make the music easy and sad?

I could tell you a lot,
But you gotta to be true to your code.
So make it one for my baby,
And one more for the road.

You'd never know it,
But buddy I'm a kind of poet,
And Ive got a lot of things I wanna say.
And if I'm gloomy, please listen to me
Till it's all all talked away.

Well, that's how it goes,
And Joe, I know you're getting anxious to close.
So thanks for the cheer,
I hope you didn't mind
My bending your ear.

But this torch that I found,
Its gotta be drowned,
Or it soon might explode.
So make it one for my baby,
And one more for the road.

Recorded By:

Tony Bennett
Perry Como
Billie Holiday
Frankie Laine
Iggy Pop

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What Can I Say After I Say I'm Sorry?

By Walter Donaldson & Abe Lyman
1926

Popular 1920s bandleader Lyman (pictured) wrote the lyrics to this tune by vastly underrated songwriter Donaldson, and introduced the song with his orchestra. It became one of the most popular songs of the decade, and an emblem of the Jazz Age. It was featured to great effect in the 1971 horror comedy The Abominable Dr. Phibes, which includes a plethora of great '20s songs.

Lyrics:

What can I say, dear, after I say I'm sorry?
What can I do to prove it to you that I'm sorry?
I didn't mean to ever be mean to you.
If I didn't care I wouldn't feel like I do.

I was all wrong, but right or wrong I don't blame you.
Why should I take somebody like you and shame you?
I know that I made you cry and I'm so sorry dear,
So what can I say, dear, after I say I'm sorry?

Recorded By:

Ella Fitzgerald
Josephine Baker
King Cole Trio
Carmen McRae
Keely Smith

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