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Monday, February 25, 2019

Lullaby of Broadway

Harry Warren and his Oscar
By Harry Warren and Al Dubin

In light of last night's Academy Awards, today we're taking a look at the second tune to ever win the Oscar for Best Original Song (the first being "The Continental" in 1934). Introduced by Wini Shaw in Gold Diggers of 1935, "Lullaby of Broadway" was such an instant classic that later it was even used as background music in the Bette Davis film, Special Agent. With a peppy melody and lyrics that celebrate the wild Broadway nightlife, it's no wonder it captured the attention of Academy voters--even if Irving Berlin's "Cheek to Cheek" may have been the more deserving nominee that year...


Come on along and listen to
The lullaby of Broadway
The hip hooray and ballyhoo
The lullaby of Broadway
The rumble of a subway train
The rattle of the taxis
The daffodils who entertain
At Angelo's and Maxi's
When a Broadway baby says good night
It's early in the morning
Manhattan babies don't sleep tight
Until the dawn
Good night, baby
Good night, the milkman's on his way
Sleep tight, baby
Sleep tight, let's call it a day
The band begins to go to town
And everyone goes crazy
You rock a bye your baby round
'Til everything gets hazy
Hush a bye, I'll buy you this and that
You hear a daddy saying
And baby goes home to her flat
To sleep all day
Good night, baby
Good night, the milkman's on his way
Sleep tight, baby
Sleep tight, let's call it a day
Listen to the lullaby 
Of old Broadway!

Recorded By:

Tony Bennett
Ella Fitzgerald
Bette Midler
The Andrew Sisters
Doris Day

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

My Little Grass Shack in Kealakekua, Hawaii

By Johnny Noble, Bill Cogswell and Tommy Harrison

A classic example of the hapa haole song genre that combines American jazz style and Hawaiian instrumentation, this wonderful song epitomized the Hawaiian music and cultural craze that gripped America during much of the early 20th century. The original melody and lyrics were written by American transplants Cogswell and Harrison as a parody of the 1924 song, "Back in Hackensack, New Jersey", intended to be used for the Kona Independence Day celebration of 1933. Popular Hawaii-based bandleader Johnny Noble further adapted it to make it distinct from "Hackensack", and it became a runaway hit with tourists and natives alike. It was introduced on record by the Noelani Hawaiian Orchestra, but it was Ted Fio Rito's version that rocketed to the top of the Billboard charts for 14 week in early 1934. To this day, it can be heard in many movies and TV shows as an instant evocation of the beautiful 50th state.


I want to go back to my little grass shack in Kealakekua, Hawaii
I want to be with all the kanes and wahines that I knew long ago
I can hear old guitars a playing, on the beach at Hoonaunau
I can hear the Hawaiians saying "Komomai no kaua ika hale welakahao"

It won't be long 'til my ship will be sailing back to Kona
A grand old place that's always fair to see
I'm just a little Hawaiian and a homeside Island boy
I want to go back to my fish and poi
I want to go back to my little grass shack in Kealakekua, Hawaii
Where the Humuhumu, Nukunuku a puaa goes swimming by
Where the Humuhumu, Nukunuku a puaa goes swimming by!

Recorded By:

Martin Denny
Les Paul and Mary Ford
Bing Crosby
Leon Redbone and Ringo Starr
Lisa Loeb

Monday, February 18, 2019

The Love Bug Will Bite You

By Pinky Tomlin

A somewhat obscure chestnut of the late 1930s, it nonetheless enjoyed a brief moment in the sun soon after being written by musician and actor Pinky Tomlin (pictured), also responsible for the similarly infectious "The Object of My Affection". Introduced by the Jimmy Dorsey orchestra, it might best be remembered today for being included in the Little Rascals short "Our Gang Follies of 1938", in which it's sung by Darla Hood. In the 1990s, it was even adapted into Norwegian by the a cappella group Bjelleklang.


The love bug will bite you if you don't watch out
If he ever bites you, then you'll sing and shout
You'll go (da-dee-da-dee-da-dee da and whoa dee doe dee doe)
That's what love is all about
You can't eat, you can't sleep, you'll go crazy
You'll just la dee da dee la all day
If someone wants to know why you're crazy 
You'll answer (da da da doo with a ho ho hay-hay)
The love bug will bite you if you don't watch out
If he ever bites you, then you'll sing and shout
You'll go (da-dee-da-dee-da-dee da and whoa dee doe dee doe)
That's what love is all about

Recorded By:

The Mills Brothers
Fats Waller
Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians
Teddy Hill
Vera Lynn

Monday, February 11, 2019

We're in the Money (The Gold Diggers' Song)

By Harry Warren and Al Dubin

What became an anthem of the Great Depression was written as a song of hope by the legendary team of Warren & Dubin, signaling a wished-for end to the economic catastrophe, even though that was still years away. Written for the film Gold Diggers of 1933, in which it was introduced by Ginger Rogers, the song had its first commercial release simultaneously, in a recording by Art Kahn and his Orchestra. With a most recognizable and catchy tune, it soon started popping up everywhere, including a 1933 Warner Bros. cartoon of the same name.


We're in the money, we're in the money;
We've got a lot of what it takes to get along!
We're in the money, that sky is sunny,
Old Man Depression you are through, you done us wrong.
We never see a headline about breadlines today.
And when we see the landlord we can look that guy right in the eye
We're in the money, come on, my honey,
Let's lend it, spend it, send it rolling along!

Recorded By:

Bing Crosby
Dick Powell
Connie Francis
Jessica Molaskey
Dick Hyman Trio

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

How Do You Keep the Music Playing?

By Michel Legrand, Alan Bergman and Marylin Bergman

In honor of the recent passing of both composer Michel Legrand and vocalist (and songwriter) James Ingram, I'm spotlighting the most "recent" song ever featured on Standard of the Day so far. The song, composed by Legrand with lyrics by the Bergmans, was introduced by Ingram and Patti Austin for the soundtrack of the Burt Reynolds/Goldie Hawn romantic comedy Best Friends. The original recording became a hit on the Adult Contemporary and R&B charts in 1983, and soon became a modern-day standard when it was snatched up by many an old-school performer thanks to its gorgeous melody and wistful lyric. Among them was Sinatra, who recorded it for his 1984 album L.A. Is My Lady, and Tony Bennett, who continues to use it as a show-stopping number to this day.


How do you keep the music playing?
How do you make it last?
How do you keep the song from fading
Too fast?
How do you lose yourself to someone
And never lose your way?
How do you not run out of new things
To say?
And since you know we're always changing
How can it be the same?
And tell me how year after year
You're sure your heart won't fall apart
Each time you hear his name?
I know the way I feel for you is now or never
The more I love, the more that I'm afraid
That in your eyes I may not see forever, forever
If we can be the best of lovers
Yet be the best of friends
If we can try with every day to make it better as it grows
With any luck than I suppose
The music never ends

Recorded By:

Andy Williams
George Benson and Count Basie
Shirley Bassey
Johnny Mathis
Barbra Streisand

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