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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

To Keep My Love Alive

By Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart
1943

This was the final song ever co-written by the legendary lyricist Lorenz Hart with his tunesmith partner Richard Rodgers. It was composed for the 1943 revival of A Connecticut Yankee, a show originated by Rodgers & Hart in 1927. It was introduced on stage by Vivienne Segal. Detailing the methods a serial widow has used to bump off her husbands, it is a classic example of the witty Hart touch. The lyricist died shortly thereafter of pneumonia.

Lyrics:

I've been married and married,
and often I've sighed,
I'm never a brides-maid,
I'm always the bride,
I never divorced them,
I hadn't the heart,
Yet, remember those sweet words,
"Till death do us part."

I married many men, a ton of them, and yet I was untrue to none of them,
because I bumped off ev'ry one of them to keep my love alive.

Sir Paul was frail, he looked a wreck to me.
At night he was a horse's nect to me,
so I performed an appendectomy,
to keep my love alive!

Sir Thomas had insomnia,
he couldn't sleep at night,
I bought a little arsenic,
he's sleeping now all right.

Sir Philip played the harp, I cussed the thing.
I crowned him with his harp to bust the thing,
and now he plays where harps are just the thing,
to keep my love alive, to keep my love alive.

I thought Sir George had possibilites,
but his flirtations made me ill at ease,
and when I'm ill at ease, I kill at ease
to keep my love alive.

Sir Charles came from a sanatorium,
and yelled for drinks in my emporium.
I mixed one drink, he's in memoriam,
to keep my love alive!

Sir Francis was a singing bird,
a night-in-gale,
That's why I tossed him off my balcony
to see if he could fly.

Sir Athelstane indulged in fratricide,
he killed his dad and that was patricide.
One night I stabbed him by my mattress side,
to keep my love alive, to keep my love alive.

Recorded By:

Ella Fitzgerald
Blossom Dearie
Ray Charles
Pearl Bailey
Sophia Loren

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Charmaine

By Erno Rapee & Lew Pollack
1927


A lush and charming love ballad from the roaring '20s, composed originally for the silent film classic What Price Glory? It would also be introduced on record the same year by the Guy Lombardo orchestra. Since then, it has infiltrated popular culture, with the Mantovani version being used by Monty Python and in the movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. It is also featured in The Abominable Dr. Phibes. It was originally conceived as a waltz, and it is in this style that Frank Sinatra recorded it for his 1961 All Alone album.

Lyrics:

I can't forget the night we met, how bright were stars above.
That precious memory lingers yet, when you declared your love.
And then you went away, and now each night and day...

I wonder why you keep me waiting, Charmaine, my Charmaine.
I wonder when bluebirds are mating, will you come back again?
I wonder if I keep on praying, will our dreams be the same?
I wonder if you ever think of me too ..
I am waiting my Charmaine for you ...

Recorded By:

The Bachelors
Tex Beneke
Bill Haley & His Comets
The Ink Spots
The Four Freshmen

Thursday, June 23, 2011

'Round Midnight

By Thelonious Monk, Cootie Williams & Bernie Hanighen
1944

The most recorded jazz standard composed by a jazz musician, this smoky number was first conceptualized by Monk in the 1930s under a different name. It developed gradually over the years in true jazz style, with later embellishments added by the likes of Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis. The lyrics by Henighen were added later. It's believed to have been recorded hundreds of times.

Lyrics:

It begins to tell,
'round midnight, midnight.
I do pretty well, till after sundown,
Suppertime I'm feelin' sad;
But it really gets bad,
'round midnight.

Memories always start 'round midnight
Haven't got the heart to stand those memories,
When my heart is still with you,
And ol' midnight knows it, too.
When a quarrel we had needs mending,
Does it mean that our love is ending.
Darlin' I need you, lately I find
You're out of my heart,
And I'm out of my mind.

Let our hearts take wings'
'round midnight, midnight
Let the angels sing,
for your returning.
Till our love is safe and sound.
And old midnight comes around.
Feelin' sad,
really gets bad
Round, Round, Round Midnight.

Recorded By:

Sarah Vaughan
Ella Fitzgerald
Amy Winehouse
Bobby McFerrin
Linda Rondstadt

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Secret Love

By Sammy Fain & Paul Francis Webster
1953

An Academy Award-winner from the closing years of classic pop era, it was written for and introduced by the lovely Doris Day in her starring role in Calamity Jane. Ms. Day also recorded a commercial version of the song the year after the movie came out. It remains one of the most beautiful tunes to ever snare an Oscar, from an age when winning the award for a song actually meant something.

Lyrics:

Once I had a secret love
That lived within the heart of me.
All too soon my secret love
Became impatient to be free.

So I told a friendly star
The way that dreamers often do.
Just how wonderful you are
And why I'm so in love with you.

Now I shout it from the highest hills.
Even told the golden daffodils.
At last my heart's an open door,
And my secret love's no secret anymore.

Recorded By:

Mandy Moore
Frank Sinatra
Sinead O'Connor
George Michael
Anne Murray

Sunday, June 19, 2011

My Heart Belongs to Daddy

By Cole Porter
1938

Happy Father's Day to all SOTD readers... This clever hit for Porter was from his musical Leave It to Me!, in which is was introduced by Mary Martin. She would again perform the song in the 1940 motion picture Love Thy Neighbor. Both melody and lyrics are by Porter as usual, and in this case the lyric is particularly impressive, as it is no mean feat to rhyme anything with "Daddy".

Lyrics:

I used to fall in love with all those boys who maul the young cuties
But now I find I’m more inclined to keep my mind on my duties.

While tearing off a game of golf
I may make a play for the caddy
But when I do, I don’t follow through
‘cause my heart belongs to Daddy.

If I invite a boy some night
To dine on my fine finnan haddie
I just adore his asking for more
But my heart belongs to Daddy

Yes my heart belongs to Daddy
So I simply couldn’t be bad
Yes, my heart belongs to Daddy
Da-da-da, da-da-da, da-da-da
So I want to warn you, laddie
Though I know you’re perfectly swell
But my heart belongs to Daddy
‘cause my Daddy he treats it so well

There was a dame that a football game
Made long for the strong undergraddie
I never dream of making the team
‘cause my heart belongs to daddy

Yes, my heart belongs to Daddy
So I simply couldn’t be bad
Yes, my heart belongs to Daddy
Da-da-da, da-da-da, da-da-da
So I want to warn you, laddie
Though I know you’re perfectly swell
That my heart belongs to Daddy
‘cause my Daddy, he treats it so well.

Recorded By:

Ella Fitzgerald
Herb Alpert & Tijuana Brass
Oscar Peterson
Marilyn Monroe
Della Reese

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wave

By Antonio Carlos Jobim
1967

Originally conceived as an instrumental, this breezy bossa nova tune first appeared on Jobim's album of the same name. The Brazilian composer wrote lyrics for it when Frank Sinatra asked to record it with him as part of his 1970 Sinatra & Co. album. On that record, Sinatra sings the lowest note of his career, a low E-flat. In Portuguese, the name of the song is "Vou Te Contar".

Lyrics:

So close your eyes
For that's a lovely way to be
Aware of things your heart alone was meant to see
The fundamental loneliness goes whenever two can dream a dream together

You cant deny dont try to fight the rising sea
Don't fight the moon, the stars above and don't fight me
The fundamental loneliness goes whenever two can dream a dream together

When I saw you first the time was half-past three
When your eyes met mine it was eternity

By now we know the wave is on its way to be
Just catch that wave don't be afraid of loving me
The fundamental loneliness goes whenever two can dream a dream together

Recorded By:

Oscar Peterson
Sarah Vaughn
Ella Fitzgerald
Mel Torme
Buddy Rich

Monday, June 13, 2011

Broadway Rhythm

By Nacio Herb Brown & Arthur Freed
1935

Often mistakenly referred to as "Gotta Dance", thanks to the well-known refrain within the lyrics, this song is known to many thanks to its performance by Gene Kelly in Singin' in the Rain, perhaps the greatest film musical of all time. However, the song originates in the much earlier musical, Broadway Melody of 1936. It was introduced on record that same year by Frances Langford.

Lyrics:

Oh, that Broadway rhythm
Oh, that broadway rhythm
When I hear that happy beat,
Feel like dancing down the street.
To that Broadway rhythm,
Writhing, beating rhythm.
Gotta dance! Gotta dance!
Gotta dance! Gotta dance!

Broadway rhythm it’s got me
Everybody dance
Broadway rhythm it’s got me
Everybody dance!
Out on the gay white way
In each merry cafe,
Orchestras play,
Taking your breath away.
(With a) Broadway rhythm, it’s got me
Everybody sing and dance!

Recorded By:

Guy Lombardo
Gene Kelly
Frances Langford
Caroll Gibbons
Judy Garland

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Because of You

By Arthur Hammerstein & Dudley Wilkinson
1940

A warm, earnest love song that didn't really become anything of note until a young Tony Bennett recorded it in 1951. It became Bennett's first number-one hit, and immediately also became a standard as a result of that success. It was also featured in the 1951 film, I Was an American Spy. Bennett's version featured his trademark warm legato vocal style, and remains a favorite of enthusiasts of traditional pop.

Lyrics:

Because of you there's a song in my heart
Because of you my romance had its start
Because of you the sun will shine
The moon and stars will say you're mine
Forever and never to part

I only live for your love and your kiss
It's paradise to be near you like this
Because of you my life is now worth while
And I can smile
Because of you

Recorded By:

Johnny Desmond
Gloria DeHaven
Louis Armstrong
Chris Montez
Johnny Iris

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Moonlight Serenade

By Glenn Miller & Mitchell Parish
1939

One of the all-time great signature tunes of the Big Band era. It was composed by Miller for his world-famous orchestra, and became one of five Top 20 Billboard hits the band would have in 1939. Originally, it was the B-side of a record called "Sunrise Serenade", but became such a huge hit on its own that it quickly became Miller's theme song. With it's classic Miller-style clarinet-saxophone lead, it perfectly sums up the sweet "Miller sound". Parish would later add lyrics to what was previously an instrumental.

Lyrics:

I stand at your gate.
And the song that I sing is of moonlight.
I stand and I wait
For the touch of your hand in the June night.
The roses are sighing a moonlight serenade.

The stars are aglow.
And tonight how their light sets me dreaming.
My love, do you know
That your eyes are like stars brightly beaming?
I bring you, and I sing you a moonlight serenade.

Let us stray 'til break of day
In love's valley of dreams.
Just you and I, a summer sky,
A heavenly breeze, kissin' the trees.

So don't let me wait.
Come to me tenderly in the June night.
I stand at your gate
And I sing you a song in the moonlight.
A love song, my darling, a moonlight serenade

Recorded By:

Frank Sinatra
Carly Simon
Santo & Johnny
Count Basie
Gene Krupa

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

It's Only a Paper Moon

By Harold Arlen, E.Y. "Yip" Harburg & Billy Rose
1933

Initially written for the 1933 Broadway flop The Great Magoo, this Arlen/Harburg gem was included in the film Take a Chance later that same year. It also received its first recording courtesy of the Paul Whiteman orchestra. It didn't really pick up steam until the World War II years, when it became a standard thanks to versions by Ella Fitzgerald and Nat Cole. It has become a jazz improvisation favorite, and was notably included in Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire. A light and airy tune with a lovely, whimsical lyric.

Lyrics:

It is only a paper moon
hanging over a cardboard sea,
But it wouldn't be make believe
If you believed in me.

It is only a canvas sky
sailing over a muslin tree,
But it wouldn't be make believe
If you believed in me.

Without your love,
It's a honky-tonk parade.
Without your love,
It's a melody played in a penny arcade.

It's a Barnum and Bailey world,
Just as phony as it can be,
But it wouldn't be make believe
If you believed in me.

Recorded By:

Frank Sinatra
Nat King Cole
Ella Fitzgerald
Tony Bennett
Coleman Hawkins

Monday, June 6, 2011

No Strings (I'm Fancy Free)

By Irving Berlin
1935

Was there ever a greater working agreement in pop music than that between Berlin and Fred Astaire? Here we have another 3-minute masterpiece written by Berlin for Astaire and Ginger Rogers, to be used in their 1935 film Top Hat (the best Astaire/Rogers teamup, for my money). Filled with Berlin compositions, Top Hat is a thrill from beginning to end, and this joyous tune is without a doubt one of the highlights.

Lyrics:

I wake up every morning with a smile on my face
Everything in it's place as it should be
I start out every morning just as free as the breeze
My cares upon the shelf
Because I find myself with

No strings and no connections
No ties to my affections
I'm fancy free and free for anything fancy

No dates that can't be broken
No words that can't be spoken
Especially when I am feeling romancy

Like a robin upon a tree
Like a sailor that goes to sea
Like an unwritten melody
I'm free, that's me

So bring on the big attraction
My decks are cleared for action
I'm fancy free and free for anything fancy

Recorded By:

Fred Astaire
Ella Fitzgerald
Peter Mintun
Ginger Rogers
Peter Skellern

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Glad to Be Unhappy

By Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart
1936

An example of a song which was not an instant hit, but rather took off decades later. It was originally composed for Rodgers and Hart's stage production On Your Toes, in which it was introduced by Doris Carson & David Morris. But it was not recorded very often at all until the 1950s, possibly having to do with a popular Broadway revival in 1954. Sinatra recorded it immediately after on his In the Wee Small Hours album, and the rest is history. A charming tune with one of the most enjoyable Rodgers and Hart verses.

Lyrics:

Look at yourself,
If you had a sense of humor you would laugh to beat the band.
Look at yourself,
Do you still believe the rumor that romance is simply grand?
Since you took in on the chin,
You have lost that toothpaste grin.
Your mental state is all a-jumble,
You sit at home and sadly mumble.

Fools rush in, so here I am,
Very glad to be unhappy.
I can't win, but here I am,
More than glad to be unhappy.

Unrequited love's a bore,
And I've got it pretty bad.
But for someone you adore,
It's a pleasure to be sad.

Like a straying baby lamb
With no mammy and no pappy,
I'm so unhappy, but oh, so glad.

Recorded By:

The Mamas & The Papas
Billie Holiday
Lena Horne
Nancy Wilson
Carmen McRae

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Satin Doll

By Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn & Johnny Mercer
1953

A late standard known for its unusual chord progression, "Satin Doll" was already a big hit as an instrumental by Ellington & Strayhorn before Mercer ever added a lyric. In fact, the Mercer lyric is generally not considered one of his best, and Ella Fitzgerald notably recorded a scat version which didn't even make use of it. Still, the song remains popular in both versions.

Lyrics:

Cigarette holder,
Which wigs me.
Over her shoulder,
She digs me.
Out cattin'
That satin doll.

Baby, shall we go
Out skippin'?
Careful, amigo,
You're flippin'
Speaks Latin,
That satin doll.

She's nobody's fool,
So I'm playin' it cool as can be.
I'll give it a whirl,
But I ain't for no girl catchin' me.

Telephone numbers,
Well, you know.
Doin' my rhumbas
With uno,
And that's my satin doll.

Recorded By:

101 Strings
The Gaylords
Nancy Wilson
Frank Sinatra
Ella Fitzgerald

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