If You Were the Only Girl (In the World)

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"If You Were the Only Girl (In the World)" is a popular song written by Nat D. Ayer with lyrics by Clifford Grey. It was written for the musical revue The Bing Boys Are Here , which premièred on 19 April 1916 at the Alhambra Theatre in Leicester Square, London. The song was originally performed as a duet between Lucius Bing, played by George Robey, and his love interest Emma, originated by Violet Loraine. [1]

Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. These forms and styles can be enjoyed and performed by people with little or no musical training. It stands in contrast to both art music and traditional or "folk" music. Art music was historically disseminated through the performances of written music, although since the beginning of the recording industry, it is also disseminated through recordings. Traditional music forms such as early blues songs or hymns were passed along orally, or to smaller, local audiences.

Clifford Grey Songwriter, actor, librettist and bobsledder

Clifford Grey was an English songwriter, librettist and actor. His birth name was Percival Davis, and he was also known as Clifford Gray.

A revue is a type of multi-act popular theatrical entertainment that combines music, dance, and sketches. The revue has its roots in 19th century popular entertainment and melodrama but grew into a substantial cultural presence of its own during its golden years from 1916 to 1932. Though most famous for their visual spectacle, revues frequently satirized contemporary figures, news or literature. Similar to the related subforms of operetta and musical theatre, the revue art form brings together music, dance and sketches to create a compelling show. In contrast to these, however, revue does not have an overarching storyline. Rather, a general theme serves as the motto for a loosely-related series of acts that alternate between solo performances and dance ensembles.


The song was published in 1916 by B. Feldman & Co. and republished in 1946. It has become a standard, recorded by many artists.

This is a list of notable events in music that took place in the year 1916.

This is a list of notable events in music that took place in the year 1946.

In music, a standard is a musical composition of established popularity, considered part of the "standard repertoire" of one or several genres. Even though the standard repertoire of a given genre consists of a dynamic and partly subjective set of songs, these can be identified by having been performed or recorded by a variety of musical acts, often with different arrangements. In addition, standards are extensively quoted by other works and commonly serve as the basis for musical improvisation. Standards may "cross over" from one genre's repertoire to another's; for example, many jazz standards have entered the pop repertoire, and many blues standards have entered the rock repertoire.

Notable recordings

The first recording, 'the original cast recording', by the first performers to sing this song, George Robey and Violet Loraine, was released on a 78rpm disc and became a hit. It was a popular recording during the First World War, played in war zones as well as 'at home'.

George Robey English music hall singer, film & theatre actor

Sir George Edward Wade, CBE, known professionally as George Robey, was an English comedian, singer and actor in musical theatre, who became known as one of the greatest music hall performers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As a comedian, he mixed everyday situations and observations with comic absurdity. Apart from his music hall acts, he was a popular Christmas pantomime performer in the English provinces, where he excelled in the dame roles. He scored notable successes in musical revues during and after the First World War, particularly with the song "If You Were the Only Girl ", which he performed with Violet Loraine in the revue The Bing Boys Are Here (1916). One of his best-known original characters in his six-decade long career was the Prime Minister of Mirth.

Violet Loraine British actor and singer

Violet Loraine was an English musical theatre actress and singer.

Perry Como American singer, actor, television personality

Pierino Ronald "Perry" Como was an American singer, actor and television personality. During a career spanning more than half a century he recorded exclusively for RCA Victor for 44 years, after signing with the label in 1943. "Mr. C.", as he was nicknamed, sold millions of records and pioneered a weekly musical variety television show. His weekly television shows and seasonal specials were broadcast throughout the world. In the official RCA Records Billboard magazine memorial, his life was summed up in these few words: "50 years of music and a life well lived. An example to all."

"They Say It's Wonderful" is a popular song written by Irving Berlin for the musical Annie Get Your Gun (1946), where it was introduced by Ethel Merman and Ray Middleton. A film version in 1950 again featured the song when it was performed by Howard Keel and Betty Hutton.

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea separates Great Britain and Ireland. The United Kingdom's 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi) were home to an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

Film and television appearances

Actor-singer Rudy Vallee sang it in the 1929 film The Vagabond Lover , with the beat changed from a foxtrot to a waltz.

<i>The Vagabond Lover</i> 1929 film by Marshall Neilan

The Vagabond Lover is a 1929 American Pre-Code black-and-white, comedy-drama musical film about a small-town boy who finds fame and romance when he joins a dance band. The film was directed by Marshall Neilan, and is based on the novel of the same name, written by James Ashmore Creelman, who also wrote the screenplay. It was Rudy Vallee's first feature film, and also starred Sally Blane, Marie Dressler, and Charles Sellon.

The song was sung by soldiers during a concert in the 1944 war drama The Way Ahead.

<i>The Way Ahead</i> 1944 film by Carol Reed

The Way Ahead (1944) is a British Second World War drama. The film stars David Niven, Stanley Holloway and William Hartnell, along with an ensemble cast of other British actors. The Way Ahead follows a group of civilians conscripted into the British Army to fight in North Africa.

The song is performed at the entertainment evening in the 1957 film The Bridge on the River Kwai , set during World War II.

The song was incorporated into the score of the 1959 television version of the musical “Meet Me in St. Louis” and sung by Tab Hunter and Jane Powell.

David Abraham sings a line of this song in the movie Kotwal Saab (1977) to celebrate the news of marriage between his two paying guests.

The song was heard in the 2000 episode "Pardon My Past" of the television show Charmed .

The song was sung by a honeymooning couple in The Duchess of Duke Street , Series 2, Episode 8.

The song was sung for wounded British soldiers by the characters Lady Mary Crawley and Matthew Crawley (played by Michelle Dockery and Dan Stevens, respectively) in Series 2, Episode 3 of Downton Abbey , set in 1918 and broadcast in 2011. It was sung, ahistorically, in waltz (¾) time.

The song is played as a solo piano instrumental by the character Malcolm Hamilton in the BBC Scotland soap, River City , at the end of the 3 July 2012 episode.


Sometimes when I feel bad
and things look blue
I wish a girl I had... say one like you.
Someone within my heart to build her throne
Someone who'd never part, to call my own

If you were the only girl in the world
and I were the only boy
Nothing else would matter in the world today
We could go on loving in the same old way

A garden of Eden just made for two
With nothing to mar our joy
I would say such wonderful things to you
There would be such wonderful things to do
If you were the only girl in the world
and I were the only boy.

No-one I'll ever care for dear... but you.
No-one I'll fancy, therefore love me do.
Your eyes have set me dreaming all night long…
Your eyes have set me scheming, right or wrong

If you were the only girl in the world
and I were the only boy
Nothing else would matter in the world today
We could go on loving in the same old way

A garden of Eden just made for two
With nothing to mar our joy
I would say such wonderful things to you
There would be such wonderful things to do
If you were the only girl in the world
and I were the only boy.

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