Tag Archives: Jo Stafford

Nostalgia For a Lost Love

The Beatles’ 1965 song Yesterday may be the most recorded song according to The Guinness World Records, but Autumn Leaves has to rank up there pretty high, as evidenced by the number of recordings in this post. And these recordings are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

Originally, Autumn Leaves was a 1945 French song entitled Les Feuilles Mortes (literally “The Dead Leaves”) with music by Hungarian-French composer Joseph Kosma and lyrics by French surrealist poet Jacques Prévert. The Hungarian title is Hulló levelek (“Falling Leaves”).

Movie poster for the film Les Portes de la Nuit

Movie poster for the film Les Portes de la Nuit

The Italian born, French singing idol Yves Montand introduced the song in the 1946 film Les Portes de la Nuit, a gloomy urban drama set in post World War II Paris. Scriptwriter and poet Jacques Prevért and director Marcel Carné had been responsible for a string of films spawning the French “poetic realism,” a genre upon that the American film noir movement was based. Although Les Portes de la Nuit was a commercial failure, it fared much better when released in the United States several years later under the title Gates of the Night.

As the 1940’s waned, so too did the public’s appetite for the Tin Pan Alley style ballad. With decreasing demand for his sophisticated talents, lyricist Johnny Mercer found himself penning words for instrumentals. In the case of Les Feuilles Mortes, Mercer would not have thought twice about renaming what was literally “The Dead Leaves” to “Autumn Leaves.” “The Dead Leaves” may have been an appropriate song title for the somber Les Portes de la Nuit, but it would not do for an American popular song.

Initially the public showed little interest in Autumn Leaves. Jo Stafford was among the first to perform the Mercer version. Autumn Leaves became a pop standard and a jazz standard in both in French and English, both as an instrumental and as a vocal number. There is also a Japanese version called Kareha sung by none other than Nat “King” Cole!

On December 24, 1950, French singer Edith Piaf sang both French and English versions of the song on the radio program The Big Show, hosted by Tallulah Bankhead. The Melachrino Strings recorded an instrumental version of the song in London in August, 1950.

In 1955, however, all that changed. Pianist Roger Williams recorded a million-seller, number-one hit rendition of the song that stayed on the Billboard charts for six months. Williams’ recording is the only piano instrumental to ever reach the number one position on the Billboard chart. Williams’ success opened the door for a second spate of covers by Steve Allen, Mitch Miller, Jackie Gleason, Victor Young, and the Ray Charles Singers. All of these versions charted on Billboard’s chart. These covers would be followed by hundreds of renditions in subsequent decades.

In 1956, Columbia Pictures produced a film entitled Autumn Leaves starring Joan Crawford and Cliff Robertson. It is a generally well-reviewed tale of a spinster marrying a young man who has mental problems as a result of his ex-wife’s (Vera Miles) affair with his father (Lorne Green). Nat King Cole once again sang the song (this time in English) during the credits.

Frank Sinatra included a version of the song on his 1956 album Where Are You? Andy Williams released a version of the song on his 1959 album, Lonely Street. Raquel Bitton recorded a version in 2000 that appears on her album Raquel Bitton sings Edith Piaf. Jerry Lee Lewis released a version that is a real surprise. This version is from the unissued Caribou sessions from 1980, produced by Eddie Kilroy while Jerry Lee Lewis was with Elektra. Around forty tracks were taped at the Caribou ranch in Colorado in November and overdubs were made in 1981 and 1982, but no tracks were officially released. Listen to it and see what I mean.

In 1962, Serge Gainsbourg wrote a song entitled La Chanson de Prevert. This is a song about a song, for it is about Les Feuilles Mortes and how its power to revive memories kept dead loves alive. References to Verlaine’s Chanson d’Automne hint at its relation to classical French literature.

Greek-Cypriot recording artist Alexia Vassiliou recorded the song for her first 1996 album, In a Jazz Mood. The song also appears on Iggy Pop’s 2009 album Préliminaires as the opening track. A version by Eva Cassidy is one of the highlights of her seminal live album Live at Blues Alley (1996). The Electronic duo Coldcut recorded a cover of the song for their 1993 album Philosophy, featuring guest vocalist Janis Alexander on vocals.

And finally in the Pop field, British blues/rock guitarist Eric Clapton recorded a cover of Autumn Leaves in 2010.

In the jazz genre, this tune took almost ten years to catch on as a jazz number, and 1957 saw three excellent recordings. There were versions by Coleman Hawkins, Dizzy Gillespie and Duke Ellington.

The Ellington version, taken at a very slow tempo, and featuring Ray Nance on violin is a delight. Nance’s violin playing represented almost the total opposite of his trumpet playing, and he is at his soulful best on Autumn Leaves, where he plays an exquisite, emotional solo; he then fills along with vocalist Ozzie Bailey. The album, Ellington Indigos, offered a different, more sentimental side of the Ellington ensemble and has rarely been out-of-print since it was released.

Singer/pianist Patricia Barber mesmerizes with her version of Autumn Leaves. With her rendition, the song is refurbished with a torch singer’s touch.

The 1958 Cannonball Adderley recording of Autumn Leaves has inspired generations of jazz players. The arrangement, commonly credited to Miles Davis (who is also featured on trumpet here) actually comes mostly from Ahmad Jamal. Nonetheless, this is a recording that really caught on. The following year, Bill Evans made his recorded debut with his groundbreaking trio alongside bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian. Their version of Autumn Leaves is comparably influential to the Adderley version and offers an essential look at the interplay of these three musicians.

Finally, Autumn Leaves has been included in at least these films: Les Portes de la Nuit (1946, Yves Montand), Autumn Leaves (1956, Nat King Cole), Hey Boy! Hey Girl! (1959, Keely Smith), Addicted to Love (1997, Stephane Grappelli), Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil (1997, Paula Cole), and Sidewalks of New York (2001, Stan Getz)

Autumn Leaves [Les Feuilles Mortes]
Music: Joseph Kosma
French Lyrics: Jacques Prévert
English Lyrics: Johnny Mercer

The falling leaves drift by the window
The autumn leaves of red and gold
I see your lips, the summer kisses
The sun-burned hands I used to hold

Since you went away the days grow long
And soon I’ll hear old winter’s song
But I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall

C’est une chanson, qui nous ressemble
Toi tu m’aimais et je t’aimais
Nous vivions tous, les deux ensemble
Toi que m’aimais moi qui t’aimais
Mais la vie sépare ceux qui s’aiment
Tout doucement sans faire de bruit
Et la mer efface sur le sable les pas des amants désunis


Roger Williams
Steve Allen/George Gates
Mitch Miller
Jackie Gleason
Victor Young
Ray Charles Singers

Jo Stafford
Nat King Cole [Japanese Version]
Edith Piaf
The Melachrino Strings
Serge Gainsbourg: La Chanson de Prévert
Frank Sinatra
Andy Williams
Raquel Bitton
Jerry Lee Lewis
Alexia Vassiliou
Iggy Pop
Eva Cassidy
Coldcut [Janis Alexander, vocals]
Eric Clapton

Cannonball Adderley
Bill Evans Trio
Coleman Hawkins
Dizzy Gillespie
Duke Ellington
Patricia Barber

Yves Montand Les Portes de la Nuit (1946)
Nat King Cole Autumn Leaves (1956)
Keely Smith Hey Boy! Hey Girl! (1959)
Stephane Grappelli Addicted to Love (1997)
Paula Cole Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil (1997)
Stan Getz Sidewalks of New York (2001)


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Goodbye to an Eternal City

Trevi Fountain Rome, Italy

Trevi Fountain
Rome, Italy

Arrivederci Roma (English: “Goodbye, Rome”) is the title of a popular Italian song, composed by Renato Ranucci (Renato Rascel), with lyrics by Pietro Garinei and Sandro Giovannini. It was published in 1955 and was featured as part of the soundtrack of the 1958 Italo-American musical film with the same title, released as Seven Hills of Rome in English. In the movie, the song is sung by Mario Lanza, who starred in the film. Carl Sigman wrote the lyrics for the English language version of the movie.

The film tells the story of Marc Revere (Mario Lanza), an American TV singer of Italian heritage who travels to Italy in search of his jet-setting fiancée, Carol Ralston, played by Peggie Castle. Revere moves in with his comical and good-hearted cousin Pepe Bonelli (Renato Rascel), a struggling artist who also befriends a beautiful young girl, Raffaella Marini (Marisa Allasio), whom Revere had met on a train, and who develops a crush on him.

After some difficulty, Revere lands a contract to sing in a fine nightclub, but misses his opening night due to unforeseen circumstances during a date with Carol. A helicopter sequence showcases landmarks of Rome from the air. This would be Lanza’s next-to-last film, for he died a year later on October 7, 1959.

Among the selections that Lanza sings in the film is Arrivederci Roma, performed in the Piazza Navona (and recorded) with a young street urchin, Luisa Di Meo. In typical Lanza fashion, the star had encountered the youngster while in Rome and insisted on her appearing in the film. Lanza also performs a sequence of imitations of famous singers of the era — Perry Como, Frankie Laine, Dean Martin, and Louis Armstrong – performing When The Saints Go Marching In and committing to film what was one of his favorite party performances. Opera selections include “Questa o quella” from Rigoletto

Sigman, who had a great deal of success as an English lyric writer for foreign tunes, had fallen in love with the Italian language during World War Two and always hoped that he would find a way to write a song featuring the word “Arrivederci.” He just loved the sound of that word, and this tune provided the perfect melodic opportunity. When he submitted the finished lyric, he was not surprised that the publisher asked him to change one line. Just about all publishers asked for at least one change, if only to prove that they were paying attention. Knowing this, Sigman usually had a backup line at the ready, and in this case he substituted “City of a million moonlight places” for a line that has been forever lost. The song is not a touristy song, but rather one of the many melodies of those unforgettable ’50s and ’60s in which Rome was by far the most romantic, lively, imaginative and hospitable place on earth.

Arrivederci (or a rivederci), which literally means “until we see each other again,” is a common Italian equivalent of “goodbye.” The original lyrics express the nostalgia of a Roman man for the dinners and short-lived love affairs he had with foreign tourists who came to Rome. It recalls the popular legend associated with the Trevi Fountain.

There is a lesser known version of the song, with the same melody but a new set of English lyrics by Jack Fishman, published in 1955 entitled Arrivederci Darling. Both versions of the song, in Italian and English, enjoyed lasting and widespread success in the following years.

The song charted in 1955 with a recording by (“Her Nibs, Miss”) Georgia Gibbs. The song charted later in the 1950s with versions in 1958 by Roger Williams and Mario Lanza
The most famous version in English of the song was by Perry Como, but it was also recorded by a wave of Italian-American singers, including Vic Damone, Connie Francis, Dean Martin, and Jerry Vale. Many non-Italian-Americans have covered it as well, including Abbe Lane with Tito Puente & His Orchestra, and Percy Faith,


Arrivederci Roma (Goodbye to Rome)
Music – Renato Ranucci; English lyrics – Carl Sigman

Arrivederci Roma,
Goodbye, goodbye to Rome.
City of a million moonlit places,
City of a million warm embraces,
Where I found the one of all the faces
Far from home!

Arrivederci Roma,
It’s time for us to part.
Save the wedding bells for my returning,
Keep my lover’s arms outstretched and yearning,
Please be sure the flame of love keeps burning
In her heart!

City of a million moonlit places,
City of a million warm embraces,
Where I found the one of all the faces
Far from home!

Arrivederci Roma,
It’s time for us to part,
Save the wedding bells for my returning,
Keep my lover’s arms outstretched and yearning,
Please be sure the flame of love keeps burning
In her heart!

Arrivederci Roma,
Roma, Roma, Roma …

Arrivederci Roma
Georgia Gibbs
Mario Lanza
Roger Williams
Vic Damone
Perry Como
Connie Francis
Dean Martin
Jerry Vale
Abbe Lane
Percy Faith
Ray Charles Singers

Arrivederci Darling
Anne Shelton
Edna Savage
Jo Stafford

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It’s As Easy As A-B-D


Question: What happens when you eat alphabet soup while playing Scrabble?
Answer: You write acrostic songs.

Acrostic songs are songs that go through the alphabet, making each letter stand for something in the process. An example of an acrostic song was recorded in 1948 by the Buddy Kaye Quintet that reached the number twenty-seven position on the Billboard charts, and later by Perry Como and others, called “A” You’re Adorable (also known as The Alphabet Love Song). Here are the lyrics:

Words and music by Buddy Kaye, Fred Wise, Sid Lippman

When Johnny Jones was serenading Mary
He sure could quote a lot of poetry
But he’d much rather tell ‘er what he learned in his speller
When they both attended PS 33

(A) you’re adorable
(B) you’re so beautiful
(C) you’re a cutie full of charms
(D) you’re a darling and
(E) you’re exciting
(F) you’re a feather in my arms

(G) you look good to me
(H) you’re so heavenly
(I) you’re the one I idolize
(J) we’re like Jack and Jill
(K) you’re so kissable
(L) is the love light in your eyes

M, N, O, P (you could go on all day)
Q ,R, S, T (alphabetically speaking, you’re OK)

(U) made my life complete
(V) means you’re very sweet
W, X, Y, Z
It’s fun to wander through
The alphabet with you
To tell (us what?) I mean (uh-huh?)
To tell you what you mean to me
(We love you alphabetically)

The hit version of the song was recorded by Perry Como, with The Fontane Sisters in 1949. The song was on the Billboard charts for fifteen weeks, reaching the number one position for two weeks.

Also in 1949, another recording by Jo Stafford and Gordon MacRae was also very popular. The recording was released by Capitol Records. The recording appeared on the Billboard charts, lasting fifteen weeks and peaking at position number four.

Still another popular recording was by the Tony Pastor Orchestra. The recording appeared on the Billboard charts, lasting eight weeks and peaking at position number twelve.
Some non-charting versions of the song were recorded by John Lithgow, Dean Martin, Mike Douglas, and Jimmy Dorsey.

Buddy Kaye Quintet (vocals by Artie Marvin) ”A” You’re Adorable (The Alphabet Song)
Perry Como with the Fontane Sisters, orchestra conducted by Mitchell Ayres ”A” You’re Adorable
Jo Stafford and Gordon MacRae, with Paul Weston and his Orchestra A” You’re Adorable
Tony Pastor and his Orchestraa (vocals by Tony Pastor, The Clooney Sisters, and the Band) “A” You’re Adorable (The Alphabet Song)

John Lithgow “A” You’re Adorable
Dean Martin “A” You’re Adorable” (Live!)
Mike Douglas “A” You’re Adorable (The Alphabet Song)
Jimmy Dorsey and his Orchestra (vocals by Dorothy Claire and the Band) “A” You’re Adorable


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For Me – For You

That’s For Me was written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II and included in the 1945 version of the musical film State Fair.(See my blog for 9 October entitled “Melancholy Spring Fever” for more on State Fair.) In the 1945 version of the film, Vivian Blaine sings the song. In the 1962 version, many of the original songs were given to different characters. In this case, instead of Blaine’s character singing the song, the song is sung by Pat Boone, portraying Wayne Frake.

Vivian Blaine in a scene from State Fair

Vivian Blaine sings That’s For Me in a scene from State Fair

Vivian Blaine portrays Emily Edwards, a beautiful red-haired singer of a band performing at the fair, who attracts the attention of Iowan farm boy Wayne Frake, played by Dick Haymes. They fall madly for each other, only for Wayne to find out in the end that Emily is married. Wayne does not know that she is married when he first meets Emily. He actually learns that her husband has left her and that the marriage has been on the rocks for a year. Wayne, however, goes back to his old girlfriend in the end and finds happiness. That is how it had to be by 1945 moral standards.

Recordings that charted were made by Jo Stafford, Dick Haymes, and Kay Kyser and his Orchestra.

The recording by Jo Stafford reached the Billboard magazine Best Seller chart at #4, lasting 4 weeks on the chart. The recording by Dick Haymes reached the Billboard magazine Best Seller chart and lasted 10 weeks on the chart, peaking at #6. Kay Kyser’s version pulled up the rear, peaking at #12 and remaining on the charts for 2 weeks.

There were several other representative recordings of the song, most notably by Doris Day, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, and Artie Shaw.

The song as introduced by Vivian Blaine has the following lyrics:
Right between the eyes
Why the belt that blow I felt this morning
Fate gave me no warning
Great was my surprise

I saw you standing in the sun and you were something to see
I know what I like and I liked what I saw
And I said to myself, “That’s for me.”

A lovely morning, I remarked, and you were quick to agree
You wanted to walk and I nodded my head
As I breathlessly said, “That’s for me.”

I left you standing under stars, the day’s adventures are through
There’s nothing for me but the dream in my heart
And the dream in my heart, that’s for you
Oh my darling, that’s for you

The song is later reprised by Margy and Wayne (Jeanne Crain and Dick Haymes).
A lovely morning I remarked
And you were quick to agree
You wanted to walk and I nodded my head
As I breathlessly said, “That’s for me.”

Margy and Wayne
I left you standing under stars
The day’s adventures are through
There’s nothing for me but the dream in my heart
And the dream in my heart – that’s for you!
Oh, my darling – that’s for you.

Jo Stafford, (unidentified orchestra) That’s For Me
Dick Haymes, Victor Young and his Orchestra That’s For Me
Kay Kyser and his Orchestra, vocals by Michael Douglas and The Campus Kids That’s For Me

Doris Day, Les Brown and his Band of Renown That’s For Me
Frank Sinatra, Axel Stordahl and his Orchestra That’s For Me
Louis Armstrong and His All-Stars That’s For Me
Artie Shaw and his Orchestra, vocals by Hal Stevens That’s For Me

State Fair (1945 )
Vivian Blaine That’s For Me
Jeanne Crain (voice dubbed by Louanne Hogan) and Dick Haymes (Reprise) That’s For Me: Reprise

State Fair(1962)
Pat Boone That’s for Me

Sheet music for That's For Me

Sheet music for That’s For Me

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A Christmas classic “just like the ones we used to know”

white christmas
In my last post, I wrote of dreams and hope. What better way of following that idea than with the number one song about dreaming – White Christmas. Now, how’s that for a smooth segue?

In January, 1940, Irving Berlin raced into his office and said to his secretary: “Grab your pen and take down this song. I just wrote the best song I’ve ever written — hell, I just wrote the best song that anybody’s ever written.” The song was, of course, White Christmas. Berlin later dropped the original verse that poked fun at a well-off Californian who, amid orange and palm trees, longs for a traditional Christmas “up north”:
The sun is shining, the grass is green,
The orange and palm trees sway.
There’s never been such a day
in Beverly Hills, L.A.
But it’s December the twenty-fourth, —
And I am longing to be up North —

But he kept the now-famous choruses that begin:
I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know.

White Christmas is a pleasant holiday song that reminisces about an old-fashioned Christmas setting and has become the second most popular Christmas song, surpassed only by Silent Night. In the seventy plus years since the song was written, White Christmas comes the closest that any secular writing can come to being considered a carol.

The song has very little to do with the meaning of the religious holy day, for that religious Christmas is neither white fluffy snow, nor nostalgic sleigh bells, nor even beautiful Christmas cards.

It has often been noted that the mix of the melancholy – “just like the ones I used to know” – with the comforting images of home – “where the treetops glisten” – resonated especially strongly with listeners during World War Two.

The song begins by dreaming of snow. “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones I used to know . . .” Snow is every child’s dream. And snow, as we know, is certainly one thing that we associate with Christmas. After all, how does Santa Claus arrive in his sleigh without snow? That it was probably not a snowy Christmas that first Christmas millennia ago is not really relevant to us. Christmas is celebrated in December; snow often comes in December, at least in the Northern Hemisphere; hence the association of snow and Christmas.

After lovingly looking at snow on glistening tree tops, the song longingly looks at the past. The song dreams of sleigh bells. “. . . To hear sleigh bells in the snow.” During World War Two, more than anything else, White Christmas was one of the strongest links our armed forces had with home, whether they were in the mud of a southern training camp, or in the dust of Northern Africa, or in the rain of Italy, or in the tropical forests of the South Pacific, or on a storm-tossed destroyer in the North Atlantic, or in the bitter cold of Bastogne. Now, White Christmas did not necessarily draw those homesick men and women to a home as it really was, but rather to a romantic spell of security and peace, of childhood bliss, of bright promises, and of merry hearts. I have the feeling though that of those whose eyes became misty as they heard or sang the words of the song, few had ever heard a sleigh bell! Yet, the song still resonated with those who were far away from home and hearth.

Finally, White Christmas dreams of Christmas cards. “. . . With every Christmas card I write.” Now, I know how easy it is to be cynical about Christmas cards. Perhaps you remember that classic cartoon in Punch some years ago. A woman, addressing her cards, says to her significant other: “We sent them one last year, and they didn’t send us one, so they probably won’t send us one this year because they’ll think we won’t send them one because they didn’t send us one last year, don’t you think – or shall we? Well, we may survey the mountain of cards to be addressed and groan, but the massive stack is not all that bad and sending cards does involve thinking of friends, recapturing past moments, and reaching out to others.

The first public performance of White Christmas was by Bing Crosby on his NBC radio show The Kraft Music Hall on Christmas Day, 1941.He subsequently recorded the song with the John Scott Trotter Orchestra and the Ken Darby Singers for Decca Records in 1942, and it was released as part of an album of six songs from the film Holiday Inn. In that film, Bing Crosby sings White Christmas as a duet with actress Marjorie Reynolds, though her voice was dubbed by Martha Mears. The unique feature of the “Holiday Inn” in the film was that the inn of the title was a night club and a restaurant that opened only on holidays, and was closed the rest of the year.

The song is noted for Crosby’s whistling during the second chorus. The version most often heard today is not the original 1942 Crosby recording, as the master had become damaged due to frequent use. Crosby re-recorded the track in 1947, accompanied again by the Trotter Orchestra and the Darby Singers, with every effort made to reproduce the original recording session. There are subtle differences in the orchestration, most notably the addition of a celesta and flutes to brighten up the introduction. The recording became a chart perennial, reappearing annually on the pop chart twenty separate times before Billboard magazine created a distinct Christmas chart for seasonal releases. I have included both versions below.

Crosby’s White Christmas has been credited with selling fifty million copies, the most by any release and therefore it is the biggest-selling single worldwide of all time and has never been out-of-print since 1949.

White Christmas has the distinction of being the most-recorded Christmas song of all time and there have been more than five hundred recorded versions of the song, in several different languages. No, I am not going to list them all (you can now breathe a sigh of relief), but in the spirit of my blog I will present the significant recordings made during the 1940s and 1950s. Chronologically, those versions are:
1942: Bing Crosby (with backing vocals by the Ken Darby Singers and John Scott Trotter and his Orchestra) released his version of the song and it reached #1 on the Billboard charts. The Crosby version also charted #5 in 1944, #1 in 1945, #1 in 1947, #3 in 1948, #6 in 1949, #5 in 1950, #13 in 1950, #13 in 1952, and #13 in 1955. Since 1947, the version that charted was the 1947 version, not the 1942 version. Both are available for comparison below.
1942: Gordon Jenkins and his Orchestra (with Bob Carroll on lead vocal) released a version of the song that reached # 16 on Billboard magazine’s pop singles chart.
1942: Charlie Spivak and his Orchestra (with Garry Stevens on lead vocal) released a version of the song that reached # 18 on Billboard magazine’s pop singles chart.
1942: Freddy Martin and his Orchestra (with Clyde Rogers on lead vocal) released a version of the song that reached # 20 on Billboard magazine’s pop singles chart (this same version charted on the Billboard pop singles chart again in December 1945, reaching # 16).
1944: Frank Sinatra released a version of the song (with backing orchestration by Axel Stordahl) that reached # 7 on Billboard magazine’s pop singles chart (this same version charted on the Billboard pop singles chart two more times: in December 1945, reaching # 5, and in December 1946, # number 6).
1945: On December 23, Kay Thompson performed her version of the song on the CBS radio program Request Performance backed by the Kay Thompson Rhythm Singers and an orchestra conducted by Leith Stevens. A recording of this radio performance has survived and I present it below. This version did not chart on the Billboard charts.
1946: Jo Stafford (with backing vocals by the Lyn Murray Singers and backing orchestration by Paul Weston) released a version of the song that reached # 9 on Billboard magazine’s pop singles chart.
1947: Eddy Howard and his Orchestra released a version of the song that did not chart.
1947: Perry Como (with backing orchestration by Lloyd Shaffer) released a non-charting version of the song.
1948: R&B vocal group The Ravens released a version of the song that reached # 9 on Billboard’s Rhythm & Blues Records chart in January 1949.
1949: Country singer Ernest Tubb (with female backing vocals by The Troubadettes) released a version of the song that reached # 7 on Billboard’s Country & Western Records chart.
1952: Singer Eddie Fisher (with Hugo Winterhalter’s Orchestra and Chorus) recorded a version of the song that did not chart.
1952: Mantovani and His Orchestra released a version of the song that did not chart.
1954: The Drifters released a cover version of the song that showcased the talents of lead singer Clyde McPhatter and the bass of Bill Pinkney. Their recording of the song peaked at # 2 on Billboard’s Rhythm & Blues Records chart in December 1954 (it also returned to the same chart in the next two years).
1957: Elvis Presley recorded a non-charting version of the song for his first holiday album, Elvis’ Christmas Album.

To listen to a song, click on the song title. To download, click on the song title, then right click on Save target as. The download should begin immediately.

Bing Crosby, with backing vocals by the Ken Darby Singers, John Scott Trotter and his Orchestra 1942 White Christmas
Bing Crosby, with backing vocals by the Ken Darby Singers, John Scott Trotter and his Orchestra 1947 White Christmas
Gordon Jenkins and his Orchestra, vocals by Bob Carroll White Christmas
Charlie Spivak and his Orchestra, vocals by Garry Stevens White Christmas
Freddy Martin and his Orchestra, vocals by Clyde Rogers White Christmas
Frank Sinatra, Axel Stordahl and his Orchestra and Chorus White Christmas
Kay Thompson, backing vocals by the Kay Thompson Rhythm Singers, Leith Stevens and his Orchestra White Christmas (Previously Unreleased)
Jo Stafford, backing vocals by the Lyn Murray Singers, Paul Weston and his Orchestra White Christmas
Eddy Howard and his Orchestra White Christmas
Perry Como, backing vocals by a mixed chorus, Lloyd Shaffer Orchestra White Christmas
The Ravens White Christmas
Ernest Tubb
White Christmas
Eddie Fisher, Hugo Winterhalter, his Orchestra and Chorus White Christmas
Mantovani and His Orchestra (instrumental) White Christmas
The Drifters, vocals by Bill Pinkney and Clyde McPhatter White Christmas
Elvis Presley, backing vocals by the Jordanaires White Christmas

Bing Crosby and Marjorie Reynolds in the scene from "Holiday Inn" in which they sing "White Christmas"

Bing Crosby and Marjorie Reynolds in the scene from “Holiday Inn” in which they sing “White Christmas”

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How sweet it is!

It would be great if we could have a sumptuous dessert and not have to worry about the calories. We would then be able to satisfy our “sweet tooth” yearnings as well as solve the obesity problem that plagues this nation today.

Alex Kramer, Mack David and Joan Whitney solved that problem back in 1944 with their song, Candy. Songs about sweets were not new, of course.

One of the earlier “sweets” song was introduced by Shirley Temple in 1934. The song was entitled On the Good Ship Lollipop. The song became child-star Shirley Temple’s signature song, and while it may be a bit dated, how could anyone resist a song that talks about
. . .Where bon-bons play
On the sunny beach of Peppermint Bay.
Lemonade stands everywhere.
Crackerjack bands fill the air.
And there you are
Happy landing on a chocolate bar.

Now that is a ship I am willing to take anytime! Pipe me aboard, Captain!

Another “sweets” song, A Marshmallow World is usually sung around Christmas-time, even though it has nothing to do with that particular holiday, either in the religious or in the secular sense. The song does refer to winter, however. Since Christmas comes in the winter (at least in the Northern Hemisphere), I guess that is the connection. The song speaks of winter as a time for “marshmallow clouds,” and further talks about “a whipped cream day,” sugary dates, and “a yum- yummy world made for sweethearts.” I am starting to droll just contemplating these delectable words.

Still another song in this same genre is Lollipop, a favorite song among many who perform barbershop music and it became a world-wide hit by the Chordettes, a popular female singing quartet, who usually sang a cappella. This “sweet” tune comes from a time when songs about candy and other sugary food items were a lot more innocent than their modern counterparts. The lollipop is a candy classic, and this ode to the sweet treat temptation complete with a fun “POP!” near the end never seems to get old.

Other songs that come to my mind and fall into this category include Big Rock Candy Mountain by Tex Ritter, Sugar by Peggy Lee, Cotton Candy by Al Hirt, Sugartime by the McGuire Sisters, Honeycomb by Jimmy Rogers, Tutti Fruitti by Little Richard, Candy Kisses by George Morgan, Candy and Cake by Mindy Carson, and, of course, my all-time favorite, I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For Ice Cream by Fred Waring’s Pennsylvanians.

You would think that listening to songs about such sweet things might give you diabetes, but in most cases these songs are not actually about food at all.

The Alex Kramer, Mack David and Joan Whitney song, Candy is no exception to that statement. Just read the lyrics and you will see what I mean.
Candy, I call my sugar Candy
Because I’m sweet on Candy
And Candy’s sweet on me

She understands me
My understanding Candy
And Candy’s always handy
When I need sympathy

I wish that there were four of her
So I could love much more of her
She has taken my complete heart
Got a sweet tooth for my sweetheart

Candy, it’s gonna be just dandy
The day I take my Candy
And make her mine, all mine
As you can see from these lyrics, even in the innocent days of the 1940s, it was not a morsel of candy that the singer longed for and sang about, but rather the one he or she loved.

This “sweet” song was recorded by a large number of artists. No less than five different versions charted on the Billboard charts. Among the most popular version of the song was the recording by Johnny Mercer and Jo Stafford. Their recording first reached the Billboard Best Seller charts on 24 February 1945 and lasted nineteen weeks on the charts, peaking at #1.

A recording by Dinah Shore was released by RCA Victor Records and reached the Billboard Best Seller charts on 10 March 1945 at #5, and stayed on the charts for eleven weeks.

Johnny Long and his Orchestra, with Dick Robertson doing the vocals also charted on the Billboard charts. Long’s recording debuted on the Billboard charts on 5 May 1945 and peaked at #8, lasting eight weeks.

Still another charted version was made by The Four King Sisters (a family vocal group from Salt Lake City, consisting of Alyce, Yvonne, Donna, and Louise Driggs. “King” was their father’s middle name, which they used professionally). The quartet’s version reached the Billboard charts on 31 March 1945, peaking at #15, and staying on the charts for two weeks.

Jerry Wald and his Orchestra, with Kay Allen handling the vocals was the fifth charted version of the song. This version came on to the Billboard charts on 19 May 1945, and stayed on the charts for one week, peaking at #18.

In England, Joe Loss and his Orchestra recorded the song with Harry Kaye on vocals. The recording was made on 15 June 1945 and was released by EMI on the HMV Records label. This version did not chart in the United States and there were no recording charts in England at the time.

To listen to the songs, click on the song title; to down load a song, right click on the song title, then click on Save target as.

Johnny Mercer and Jo Stafford, Paul Weston and his Orchestra Candy
Dinah Shore, Al Sack and his Orchestra Candy
Johnny Long and his Orchestra, vocals by Dick Robertson Candy
The Four King Sisters, Buddy Cole and his Orchestra Candy
Jerry Wald and his Orchestra, vocals by Kay Allen Candy
Joe Loss and his Orchestra, vocals by Harry Kaye Candy

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