Again is a popular song of the 1940s, written by Lionel Newman, with words by Dorcas Cochran. It first appeared in the movie Road House (1948), sung by none other than the female lead, Ida Lupino. In the film, Lily Stevens (Lupino) plays a sultry, tough-talking, thirty-ish, chain-smoking chanteuse from Chicago who has spent too many nights in an atmosphere of stale cigarette smoke and beer-guzzling – but she gets to croon Again, the torch song for which this film is famous. Susie Smith (Celeste Holm), the cashier at the road house says of Lily, “She does more without a voice than anyone I’ve ever heard.” And she is right. Lupino did all of her own singing. There was no dubbing of her singing as there had been in her previous film Escape Me Never.
Lupino knew she could sell a song and so did the studio’s musical director, Lionel Newman. He would compose two numbers for her in the film, The Right Kind (lyrics by Don George and Charles Henderson), and Again (lyrics by Dorcas Cochran). Lily’s road house debut would start off with the already popular hit from 1943, One For My Baby by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer. The song had been written for Fred Astaire and was introduced by Astaire in The Sky’s the Limit. A year prior to the release of Road House, Frank Sinatra put out the first of his four recordings of One For My Baby, thereby corralling the blue and moody tune as “a man’s song.” That is, until Ida Lupino took a crack at it. Again is the perfect follow-up song to One For My Baby.
Sorry, there is no recording of Again by Ida Lupino, which is a shame. If you want to hear her rendition of the song, watch the 1948 film, Road House. It is currently available on DVD.
The song says it all. Don’t let great moments pass you by, write them down or take a picture for they will never happen again.
Words by Dorcas Cochran
Music by Lionel Newman
Again, this couldn’t happen again.
This is that once-in-a-lifetime, this is the thrill divine.
What’s more, this never happened before,
Though I have prayed for a lifetime,
That such as you would suddenly be mine.
Mine to hold as I’m holding you now, and yet, never so near,
Mine to have when the now and the here disappear,
What matters, dear,
For when this doesn’t happen again.
We’ll have this moment forever, but never, never again.
By 1949, versions by Vic Damone, Doris Day, Tommy Dorsey, Gordon Jenkins, Vera Lynn, Art Mooney, and Mel Tormé all made the Billboard charts.
An instrumental rendition was used in the film, Pickup on South Street (1953).
(To listen to a song, please click on the arrow)
Doris Day (John Rarig and his Orchestra; backing vocals: The Mellowmen)
Gordon Jenkins and His Orchestra (vocals by Joe Graydon and mixed chorus)
Mel Tormé (Sonny Burke’s Orchestra)
Vic Damone (Glenn Osser and his Orchestra)
Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra (vocals by Marcy Lutes)
Art Mooney and his Orchestra (vocals: Johnny Martin, Madelyn Russell, Art Mooney Choir)
Vera Lynn (Bruce Campbell’s Orchestra)
Instrumental selection from Pickup on South Street (Lionel Newman and the 20th Century-Fox Orchestra)