Co-written and first recorded (as “Comme d’habitude”) by Claude François (1967).
Hit English-language versions by Frank Sinatra (US #27/MOR #2 1969), Dorothy Squires (UK #25 1970), Elvis Presley (US #22/MOR #6/UK #9 1977 |C&W #2 1978).
Also recorded by Paul Anka (1969).
From the wiki: “‘My Way’ was popularized in 1969 by Frank Sinatra. Its lyrics were written by Paul Anka and set to the music of the French song ‘Comme d’habitude’ (‘As Usual’) co-written by Claude François, and first performed in 1967 by François.
“Anka’s English lyrics are unrelated to the original French song. He had heard the original 1967 French pop song by François while on holiday in the south of France. Anka flew to Paris to negotiate the rights to the song, acquiring adaptation, recording, and publishing rights for the mere nominal, but formal, consideration of one dollar, subject to the provision that the melody’s composers would retain their original share of royalty rights with respect to whatever versions Anka or his designates created or produced.
“Some time later, Anka had a dinner in Florida with Frank Sinatra during which Sinatra said ‘I’m quitting the business. I’m sick of it; I’m getting the hell out.’ Back in New York, Anka re-wrote the original French song for Sinatra, subtly altering the melodic structure and changing the lyrics.
First performed by Digby Wolfe (1964).
Also recorded by Frank Sinatra (1964).
Popular version by Peggy Lee (US #93/MOR #19 1965).
(Above): Opening credits clip from ‘Father Goose’.
From the wiki: “‘Pass Me By’ was composed by Cy Coleman with lyrics by Carolyn Leigh for the 1964 romantic comedy film Father Goose, set in World War II, starring Cary Grant. The film would go on to win an Academy Award for its screenplay. Although ignored by Oscar, the film’s theme song, ‘Pass Me By’, would later become a hit for his collaborator, Peggy Lee. Coleman has said that he based the song’s tempo on Grant’s jaunty walk in the movie.
First recorded by Marian Montgomery (1964).
Also recorded by O.C. Smith (1964).
Hit version by Frank Sinatra (US #4/MOR #1/R&B #25/UK #44 1966).
From the wiki: “‘That’s Life’ was written by Dean Kay and Kelly Gordon, and was first recorded in 1964 by Marion Montgomery. The most famous version is by Frank Sinatra, released on his 1966 album of the same name. Sinatra recorded the song after hearing an earlier cover of it by O.C. Smith (who recorded his version shortly after leaving Count Basie’s orchestra).”
First performed and recorded by David Brooks & Marion Bell (1947).
Hit versions by Mildred Bailey (US #21 1947), Mary Martin (US #21 1947), Frank Sinatra (US #20 1947), Gene Kelly, (1954), Michael Johnson (US #32/MOR #4 1978).
Also recorded by Lester Young (1952), Nat “King” Cole (1953), Frank Sinatra (1961), Shirley Bassey (1979).
From the wiki: “‘Almost Like Being in Love’ was written by the songwriting team of Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner in 1947, for the musical Brigadoon. The song was first performed on Broadway and recorded by David Brooks and Marion Bell from the original cast. It would later be performed by Gene Kelly in the 1954 film version of Brigadoon.
“Mildred Bailey first charted ‘Almost Like Being in Love’ in 1947, along with an equally-popular cover by Mary Martin. Frank Sinatra recorded two popular versions: first in 1947 and, again, in 1961 for the album Come Swing With Me, the version generally heard today. Lester Young’s instrumental cover was released in 1952; Nat ‘King’ Cole recorded his version in 1953, a recording used years later, in 1993, for the soundtrack of Groundhog Day.
“‘Almost Like Being in Love’ was revived, as a downbeat ballad, in 1978 by singer Michael Johnson. British singing sensation Shirley Bassey covered Johnson’s arrangement in 1979.”
First recorded by the Original Cast of Kismet (1953).
Hit versions by Peggy Lee (US #30/AUS #9 1954), Georgia Gibbs (B-side US #18 1954), The Kirby Stone Four (US #25 1958), Frank Sinatra (1959), Frank Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim (1967), Deodato (1973).
From the wiki: “‘Baubles, Bangles & Beads’ is from the 1953 musical Kismet, credited to Robert Wright and George Forrest. Like all the music in that show, the melody was based on works by Alexander Borodin, in this case the second theme of the second movement of his String Quartet in D.
“The best-selling version of the song was recorded by Peggy Lee in 1953, charting in 1954. Another popular cover from 1954 was recorded by Georgia Gibbs, released as the B-side to ‘Somebody Bad Stole De Wedding Bell’. A Kirby Stone Four re-make hit the Billboard Top 100 in 1958 and remains the favorite cover heard on Adult Standard (MOR) radio stations. Frank Sinatra recorded the song twice: in 1959 with the Billy May Orchestra, and again in 1967 in a Bossa nova arrangment with guitarist Antonion Carlos Jobim. (Eumir) Deodato recorded an instrumental version for his hit LP of 1973.
“The most curious version mixed the scherzo of Borodin’s ‘String Quartet No. 2’ with the pop arrangement of ‘Baubles, Bangles & Beads’, under the name ‘Borodin, Bangles & Beads’, and arranged by the Argentine Ernesto Acher in 1987 on his album Juegos.”
First performed by Ella Logan & Donald Richards (1947).
First recorded by Charley Spivak & His Orchestra (1947).
Hit version by Margaret Whiting (US #11 1947).
Also recorded by Miles Davis (1954), Sarah Vaughn (1954), Frank Sinatra (1956), Chet Baker (1958)
From the wiki: “‘Old Devil Moon’ was composed by Burton Lane, with lyrics by E.Y. Harburg, for the 1947 musical Finian’s Rainbow. It was introduced on stage by Ella Logan and Donald Richards. It was first recorded for commercial release by Charley Spivak & His Orchestra; singer Margaret Whiting topped the US Hit Parade in 1947 with her cover recording, from the Margaret Whiting Sings album.
“Another popular rendition of this song was recorded by Frank Sinatra, who included ‘Old Devil Moon’ on his 1956 Capitol Records album Songs for Swingin’ Lovers! which peaked at #1 in the UK. Sarah Vaughn, and Chet Baker also recorded popular vocal arrangements. Miles Davis recorded a popular instrumental version in 1954 for the Blue Haze album.”
First recorded (as “Beddy Bye”) by Bert Kaempfert (1965).
Possibly based on “Stranci u noći” by Ivo Robić (1966)
First English-language recording by Jack Jones (1966).
Also recorded (in German, as “Fremde in der Nacht”) by Ivo Robić (1966).
Hit version Frank Sinatra (US #1/MOR #1/UK #1 1966).
From the wiki: “‘Strangers in the Night’ is credited to Bert Kaempfert with English lyrics by Charles Singleton and Eddie Snyder. It is sometimes claimed that the Croatian singer Ivo Robić was the original composer of ‘Strangers in the Night’ (performed as ‘Stranci u noći’), and that he sold the rights to Kaempfert after entering it without success in a song contest in Yugoslavia. These claims have not been substantiated.
“Robić, a pioneer of popular Yugoslav music from the early 1950s on, was the only artist from Yugoslavia whose records were available in the record shops of Europe and the rest of the world. He performed and collaborated with Kaempfert, Freddy Quinn, and Dean Martin. Robić would go on to record Yugoslav and German versions of ‘Strangers in the Night’, ‘Stranci u Noći’ with lyrics by Marija Renota and ‘Fremde in der Nacht’ with lyrics by Kurt Feltz.
“Kaempfert originally recorded the melody under the title ‘Beddy Bye’ as part of the instrumental score for the movie soundtrack to A Man Could Get Killed, which went on to win a Golden Globe Award in 1967 for Best Original Song in a Motion Picture.
First recorded by Bing Crosby (US #12 1946).
Other popular versions by Ethel Merman & Ray Middleton (1946), Frank Sinatra (US# 2 1946), Perry Como (US #4 1946)
From the wiki: “‘They Say It’s Wonderful’ was written by Irving Berlin for the musical Annie Get Your Gun (1946), where it was introduced on Broadway by Ethel Merman and Ray Middleton. The song was first recorded and released on a 78 rpm by Bing Crosby in 1946, a version that say modest chart success. Merman and Middleton released a recorded ‘cast’ version later in 1946. Frank Sinatra and Perry Como both charted in 1946 with covers of ‘They Say It’s Wonderful’.
“In 1979, Merman recorded a ‘camp’ version for The Ethel Merman Disco Album but it was not released until issued as a bonus track on the CD reissue in 2002.”
First performed by Jackie Gleason (in Papa’s Delicate Condition) (1963).
Also performed by Judy Garland (1963).
Popular versions by Frank Sinatra (1963), Jack Jones (US #75 1963).
From the wiki: “”Call Me Irresponsible” was composed in 1962 by Jimmy Van Heusen with lyrics by Sammy Cahn. According to the Mel Tormé book The Other Side of the Rainbow with Judy Garland on the Dawn Patrol, Van Heusen originally wrote the song for Garland to sing at a CBS dinner. At that time, Garland had just signed to do The Judy Garland Show on CBS-TV, and the intent of the song was to parody her well-known problems. Garland later did sing the song, on the seventh episode of her variety show.
“However, in 1988, Sammy Cahn said that the song was originally written for Fred Astaire to sing in the film Papa’s Delicate Condition in which Astaire was to star. Cahn personally auditioned the song for Astaire’s approval, which was given. However, Astaire’s contractual obligations prevented him from making the film and the role went to Jackie Gleason, who introduced the song. It would go on to win the Academy Award for ‘Best Original Song’ at the 36th Academy Awards held in 1964.”
First recorded by Joe Valino (1955).
Hit version by Frank Sinatra (US #1/UK #2 1955).
Also recorded by Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong (1957).
From the wiki: “‘Learnin’ the Blues’ was written by Dolores Vicki Silvers, and first recorded in 1955 by Joe Valino. It’s not clear whether Silvers was the sole composer or possibly had help from Valino, a Pop-Jazz vocalist in the mode of Frank Sinatra and a breed of Pop singer who would be swept away in the late ’50s with the advent of Rock ‘n’ roll.
“After a rep from Barton Music – Frank Sinatra’s publishing company – heard the song, they acquired its rights, effectively thwarting Valino from gaining his first hit. (Valino would, in 1956, find chart success with ‘Garden of Eden’.) Frank subsquently listened to Joe’s record and decided to cut it himself, giving Sinatra his best-charting single of the ’50s, peaking at #1. Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong covered the song on their 1957 collaboration Ella and Louis Again.”
First recorded (as “Piano”) by Mina (1960).
Hit versions by Matt Munro (US #18/UK #10 1961), Frank Sinatra (US #27/MOR #4 1964), Elvis Presley (C&W #8 1978).
From the wiki: “‘Softly, as I Leave You’ was first composed in Italian as ‘Piano’ (trans. ‘softly’) by Giorgio Calabrese and Tony De Vita. It was first performed by Mina at the 1960 Sanremo Music Festival, and was first released as a recording by her in 1960.
“English songwriter Hal Shaper noticed the song and in November 1961 wrote English-language lyrics to the melody, titling it ‘Softly, As I Leave You’. The best-known versions of this are those by Matt Munro (#10 on the British charts in 1962) and Frank Sinatra (#27 on the Billboard Hot 100/#4 on the MOR chart in 1964). When the Sinatra family announced Frank’s death on May 14, 1998, they placed an announcement on his website that was accompanied by his recording of ‘Softly, As I Leave You’.
First recorded by The Edison Symphony Orchestra (1903).
Hit versions by Billy Vaughn & His Orchestra (US #2 1955), David Carroll & His Orchestra (US #9 1955), The Four Aces (US #11 1955), Frank Sinatra (US #19 1955), The Ink Spots (UK #10 1955), Jim Reeves (B-side C&W #10 1970).
From the wiki: “‘Melody of Love’ was originally written by Hans Engelmann in 1903, with lyrics added in 1954 by Tom Glazer (‘On Top of Spaghetti‘). An instrumental version recorded by Billy Vaughn was the highest-charting version on the Billboard charts in 1955. Other charting versions in 1955 were by David Carroll, The Four Aces, Frank Sinatra, and, in the UK, The Ink Spots. Vaughn’s recording first reached the Billboard Best Seller chart on December 1, 1954 and it lasted 27 weeks on the chart, peaking at #2.
First recorded by Bob Crosby with Marion Mann (1940).
Hit versions by Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra (US #17 1940), Tony Martin (US #16 1940), The Glenn Miller Orchestra (US #1 1940), Billy Eckstine (R&B #6 1949), Brook Benton (US #24/R&B #5 1960), Etta James (US #87 1962), Ricky Nelson (US #12/R&B #24/UK #12 1963).
From the wiki: “‘Fools Rush In’ was written in 1940 by lyricist Johnny Mercer with music by Rube Bloom. First recorded by the Bob Crosby orchestra with Marion Mann, major hits at the time of introduction were recorded by Tony Martin, Glenn Miller with Ray Eberle, and Tommy Dorsey with Frank Sinatra. It was also recorded by Billy Eckstine. In the 1960s, ‘Fools Rush In’ saw a resurgence of popularity, resulting in charted remakes in 1960-61 (Brook Benton), 1962 (Etta James), and 1963 (Ricky Nelson).”
Written and first released by Rod McKuen (1964).
Also recorded by The Kingston Trio (1964), Mark Lindsay (1969).
Hit version by Frank Sinatra (US #75/MOR #8/UK #8 1969).
From the wiki: “Rod McKuen wrote over 1,500 songs, including ‘Love’s Been Good to Me’, ‘Seasons in the Sun‘, and ‘Jean‘, which have accounted for the sale of over 100 million records worldwide according to the Associated Press. First recorded in 1964 by McKuen, The Kingston Trio covered the song for the album The Kingston Trio (Nick Bob John). In 1969, Frank Sinatra commissioned an entire album of poems and songs by McKuen; arranged by Don Costa, it was released under the title A Man Alone: The Words and Music of Rod McKuen. The album featured the song ‘Love’s Been Good to Me’, which was to become one of McKuen’s best-known songs. ”
First recorded by Leo Reisman & His Orchestra with Fred Astaire (1932).
Hit versions by Fred Astaire (US #1 1932), Eddie Duchin (US #2 1933), Frank Sinatra (US #15 1944).
From the wiki: “‘Night and Day’ was written in 1932 by Cole Porter for the 1932 musical play Gay Divorce. It is perhaps Porter’s most popular contribution to the Great American Songbook and has been recorded by dozens of artists.
“It was Fred Astaire who first introduced ‘Night and Day’ on stage. It would be Leo Reisman & His Orchestra (with an uncredited performance by Astaire) who released the first recording of ‘Night and Day’, on November 22, 1932. Astaire reprised ‘Night and Day’ in the 1934 motion picture production of the show, retitled The Gay Divorcee.
“Frank Sinatra recorded the song at least five times – it became one of his signature pieces – including his first solo session in 1942 (it was after Harry James heard a then-unknown Sinatra sing ‘Night and Day’, he signed him), in 1944 (Sinatra’s most popular version), with Nelson Riddle in 1956 for A Swingin’ Affair!, with Don Costa in 1961 for Sinatra and Strings, and even a disco version with Joe Beck in 1977.”
First recorded by Liza Minnelli (1977).
Hit version by Frank Sinatra (US #32/MOR #10/UK #4 1979).
From the wiki: “‘Theme from New York, New York’ (or ‘New York, New York’) is the theme song from the Martin Scorsese film New York, New York (1977), composed by John Kander, with lyrics by Fred Ebb. It was written for and first performed in the film by Liza Minnelli. The song did not become a popular hit until it was picked up in concert by Frank Sinatra during his performances at Radio City Music Hall in October 1978. (It was not even nominated for the Academy Award for ‘Best Song’). Subsequently, Sinatra recorded it in 1979 for his 1980 Trilogy album, and ‘New York, New York’ became one of his signature songs.
“Despite Sinatra’s version becoming more familiar, original singer Minnelli had two of the tune’s most memorable live performances – during the July 4, 1986 ceremony marking the rededication of the Statue of Liberty after extensive renovations; the other, in the ‘seventh inning stretch’ of a New York Mets game that was the first pro sports event in the New York metro area after the September 11, 2001 attacks. Previously, Minneli also sang ‘New York, New York’ at the 1984 Summer Olympics, in Los Angeles, accompanied by 24 pianos and hundreds of strobe lights.”
First performed (in Meet Me in St. Louis) by Judy Garland (1944).
Popular recorded versions Judy Garland (1944), by Frank Sinatra (1957), Barbra Streisand (1967), The Pretenders (1987), Sam Smith (2014).
From the wiki: “‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’, written by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane, was introduced by Judy Garland in a poignant moment in the 1944 movie musical Meet Me In St. Louis. When presented with the original draft lyric, Garland, her co-star Tom Drake and director Vincente Minnelli criticized the song as depressing, and asked Martin to change the lyrics.
“Though he initially resisted, Martin made several changes to make the song more upbeat, e.g. the lines ‘It may be your last / Next year we may all be living in the past’ became ‘Let your heart be light / Next year all our troubles will be out of sight’. Garland’s version of the song, which was also released as a single by Decca Records, became popular among United States troops serving in World War II; her performance at the Hollywood Canteen brought many soldiers to tears.
First commercial recording by Frank Sinatra (US #9 1946).
Other hit versions by Roy Hamilton (R&B #1 1954), Gerry & the Pacemakers (US #48/UK #1 1963).
From the wiki: “‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ is a show tune from the 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel. Besides the recordings of the song on the Carousel cast albums and the film soundtrack, the song has been recorded by many artists, with notable hit versions by Frank Sinatra, Roy Hamilton (‘Unchained Melody‘), and Gerry & the Pacemakers (‘Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying‘).
Co-written and first recorded (as an instrumental) by Hoagy Carmichael (1927).
Hit versions by Irving Mills & His Hotsy Totsy Gang (US #20 1929), Isham Jones & His Orchestra (US #1 1930), Bing Crosby (US #5 1931), Louis Armstrong (US #16 1931), Frank Sinatra with The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra (US #7 1941), Nat “King” Cole (US #79/UK #24 1957), Billy Ward & His Dominoes (US #12/R&B #5/UK #13 1957), Nino Tempo & April Stevens (US #32 1964).
Also recorded by Jon Hendricks (1990).
From the JazzStandards.com: “On October 31, 1927, Hoagy Carmichael and His Pals recorded ‘Stardust’ at the Gennett Records studio in Richmond, Indiana. Hoagy’s ‘pals,’ Emil Seidel and His Orchestra, agreed to record the medium-tempo instrumental in between their Sunday evening and Monday matinee performances in Indianapolis, seventy miles away. In 1928 Carmichael again recorded ‘Stardust,’ this time with lyrics he had written, but Gennett rejected it because the instrumental had sold so poorly. The following year, at Mills Music, Mitchell Parish was asked to set lyrics to coworker Carmichael’s song. The result was the 1929 publication date of ‘Star Dust’ with the music and lyrics we know today.
“According to the Carmichael, inspiration for the song struck while visiting his old university campus. Sitting on a wall reminiscing about the town, his college days, and past romances, he looked up at the starlit sky and whistled ‘Star Dust’. Richard Sudhalter’s biography ( Stardust Melody: The Life and Music of Hoagy Carmichael) contends that the melody may have begun with fragments, evolving over months and maybe years, but Carmichael preferred to perpetuate a myth that sweet songs are conceived in romantic settings.
First recorded (as a demo) by Tom Bahler (c. 1979)
First recorded (as a demo) by Michael Jackson (1979).
Hit versions by Michael Jackson (US #10/R&B #43/UK #3 1979), Johnny Duncan & Janie Fricke (C&W #17 1980).
From the wiki: “She’s Out of My Life’ was written by Tom Bahler. Although it has been claimed that Bahler wrote the song about his relationship with the late Karen Carpenter, Bahler has stated ‘The fact is, I had already written that song by the time Karen and I became romantic. That song was written more about [my then-girlfriend] Rhonda Rivera … it was after we broke up that I started dating Karen.’ The song became famous when recorded by Michael Jackson and released as the fourth single from his album, Off the Wall, in 1979. Producer Quincy Jones’ first idea was to record ‘She’s Out of My Life’ with Frank Sinatra. Michael’s demo (only him and an acoustic guitar) convinced Jones otherwise. (Demo was released as part of the This Is It bonus disc.)”
First recorded by Robert Maxwell (1953).
Hit versions by Frank Chacksfield & His Orchestra (US #2/UK #9 1953), Vic Damone (US #10 1953), Roy Hamilton (R&B #5 1954), The Platters (US #56/AUS #59 1960), Righteous Brothers (US #5/UK #48 1965).
From the wiki: “‘Ebb Tide’ was written in 1953 by the lyricist Carl Sigman and composer-harpist Robert Maxwell. (The song’s build-up is reminiscent of ocean waves coming in and out, to and from the shore; thus, ‘ebb tide’.)
“The best-known charting versions are by Frank Chacksfield & His Orchestra (1953), Vic Damone (1953), Roy Hamilton (1954), The Platters (1960), and the Righteous Brothers (1965). For the Righteous Brothers, ‘Ebb Tide’ would be their last recording produced by Phil Spector.”
First popular recording by Tommy Dorsey & His Clambake 7 with Edythe Wright (1937).
Hit/popular versions by Sophie Tucker (US #19 1937), Frank Sinatra (1957), Ella Fitzgerald (1957), Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga (US #121/UK #188/BEL #21/JPN #33 2011).
Also recorded by Midge Williams & Her Jazz Jesters (1937), Carl Perkins (1960), Alice Cooper (1974).
Also recorded (as “The Lady is a Champ”) by Frank Sinatra (1968).
From the wiki: “‘The Lady Is a Tramp’ was a show tune from the 1937 Richard Rodgers and Lorenzo Hart musical Babes in Arms in which it was introduced by former child star Mitzi Green. The song is a spoof of New York high society and its strict etiquette (the first line of the verse is ‘I get too hungry for dinner at eight…’). Early recordings from 1937 include one by Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra (featuring Edythe Wright on vocals), Midge Williams and Her Jazz Jesters, and Sophie Tucker.
First recorded (as “In Other Words”) by Kaye Ballard (1954).
Hit versions by Eydie Gorme (US #20 1958), Joe Harnell (US #14 1962).
Also recorded by Peggy Lee (1960), Frank Sinatra (1964).
From the wiki: “‘Fly Me to the Moon’, originally titled ‘In Other Words’, was written in 1954 by Bart Howard and first recorded for a B-side by Kaye Ballard. In 1954, Bart Howard had already been pursuing a career in music for more than 20 years. He played piano to accompany cabaret singers but also wrote songs, with Cole Porter being his idol.
“In response to a publisher’s request for a simpler song, Bart Howard wrote a cabaret ballad in waltz time which he titled ‘In Other Words’. A publisher tried to make him change some lyrics from ‘fly me to the moon’ to ‘take me to the moon’ but Howard refused to do this. Many years later Howard commented that ‘… it took me 20 years to find out how to write a song in 20 minutes.’
“Kaye Ballard made the first commercial recording of ‘In Other Words’ in April 1954. Other versions of it would be recorded the next few years by other artists. The first chart appearance of ‘In Other Words’ was in 1958 when Eydie Gorme took the song into the Top 20, and it was nominated for a Grammy Award.
First recorded by Fats Waller & His Rhythm (US #5 1935).
Other hit versions by The Boswell Sisters (US #3 1936), Billy Williams (US #3 1957), Willie Nelson (C&W #26/CAN #25 1981).
Also recorded by Frank Sinatra (1954 & 1962), Bing Crosby with Bob Scobey’s Frisco Jazz Band (1957), Bill Haley & His Comets (1957).
From the wiki: “‘I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter’ was composed in 1935 by Fred E. Ahlert and Joe Young, and has become a standard of the Great American Songbook. The first recording on the song was by Fats Waller & His Rhythm, in a Victor Records recording session on May 8, 1935. It was covered the following year by The Boswell Sisters, reaching #3 on US popular music charts. (Connee Boswell would record a solo version in 1952.)
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