Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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It Had to Be You

First recorded by Sam Lanin & His Roseland Orchestra (1924).
Hit versions by Isham Jones (US #1 1924), Dick Haymes & Helen Forrest with Victor Young & His Orchestra (US #4 1944).
Also recorded by Harry Connick Jr. (1989).

From the wiki: “‘It Had to Be You’ was written by Isham Jones, with lyrics by Gus Kahn. Jones and Kahn wrote the tune in 1924, shortly after Jones’ wife bought him a baby grand piano for his 30th birthday and he stayed up all night noodling around until he came up with a few melodies, one of them being ‘It Had To Be You.’ Composer Johnny Mercer, no slouch himself at writing lyrics (‘Blues in the Night‘, ‘Jeepers Creepers‘, ‘Satin Doll’), has called ‘It Had to Be You’ the ‘greatest popular song ever written.’

“The first recording of the song occurred on March 20, 1924 and was produced by Sam Lanin & His Roseland Orchestra. Jones’ own recording, produced on April 24, 1924, became a #1 hit later that year. The song charted again in 1944, recorded by Dick Haymes and Helen Forrest with the Victor Young orchestra.

“It Had to Be You’ has had a notable film presence, appearing on the soundtracks of many motion pictures. The song was performed by Ruth Etting in the 1936 short Melody in May, by Priscilla Lane in the 1939 film The Roaring Twenties, by Ginger Rogers and Cornel Wilde in the 1947 film It Had to Be You, in the 1944 film, Mr. Skeffington, by Danny Thomas in the 1951 film I’ll See You in My Dreams (based loosely upon the lives of song lyricist Gus Kahn and his wife, Grace LeBoy Kahn).

“It was also performed by Dooley Wilson in the 1942 film Casablanca, George Murphy in Show Business (1944), Betty Hutton in the 1945 film Incendiary Blonde, and Diane Keaton in the 1977 film Annie Hall. As the ‘theme’ of the 1989 motion picture When Harry Met Sally… (1989), ‘It Had to Be You’ finished as #60 in AFI’s 100 Years…100 Songs survey of top tunes in American cinema. This version, arranged by Billy May, was used in a pivotal scene near the end of the rom-com when Harry is wandering New York City on New Year’s Eve. Harry Connick Jr. covered the tune for the movie soundtrack, and his recording earned him the 1990 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Male Vocal Performance.”

Isham Jones, “It Had to Be You” (1924):

Dick Haymes & Helen Forrest with Victor Young & His Orchestra, “It Had to Be You” (1944):

Harry Connick Jr., “It Had to Be You” (1989):

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