My Funny Valentine

Last updated
"My Funny Valentine"
Song
Published1937 by Chappell & Co.
Genre Jazz
Composer(s) Richard Rodgers
Lyricist(s) Lorenz Hart

"My Funny Valentine" is a show tune from the 1937 Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart musical Babes in Arms in which it was introduced by former child star Mitzi Green. The song became a popular jazz standard, appearing on over 1300 albums performed by over 600 artists. In 2015, it was announced that the Gerry Mulligan quartet featuring Chet Baker's version of the song was inducted into the Library of Congress's National Recording Registry for the song's "cultural, artistic and/or historical significance to American society and the nation’s audio legacy". Mulligan also recorded the song with his Concert Jazz Band in 1960. [1]

Show tune Genre

A show tune is a song originally written as part of the score of a work of musical theatre, especially if the piece in question has become a standard, more or less detached in most people's minds from the original context. Particular musicals that have yielded popular “show tunes” include:

Richard Rodgers American composer of songs and Broadway musicals

Richard Charles Rodgers was an American composer, known largely for his work in musical theater. With 43 Broadway musicals and over 900 songs to his credit, Rodgers was one of the most significant American composers of the 20th century, and his compositions had a significant impact on popular music.

Lorenz Hart American lyricist

Lorenz Milton Hart was the lyricist half of the Broadway songwriting team Rodgers and Hart. Some of his more famous lyrics include "Blue Moon," "Mountain Greenery," "The Lady Is a Tramp," "Manhattan," "Where or When," "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered," "Falling in Love with Love," "Have You Met Miss Jones?," "My Funny Valentine," "I Could Write a Book", "This Can't Be Love", "With a Song in My Heart", "It Never Entered My Mind", and "Isn't It Romantic?".

Contents

Structure

The song is usually performed in C Minor, although for vocalists the key of B Minor is fairly common. Frank Sinatra recorded the song in B Minor, and the theatrical version was also in B Minor. Ella Fitzgerald recorded the song in G Minor.

Frank Sinatra American singer, actor, and producer

Francis Albert Sinatra was an American singer, actor and producer who was one of the most popular and influential musical artists of the 20th century. He is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 150 million records worldwide.

Ella Fitzgerald American jazz singer

Ella Jane Fitzgerald was an American jazz singer sometimes referred to as the First Lady of Song, Queen of Jazz, and Lady Ella. She was noted for her purity of tone, impeccable diction, phrasing, intonation, and a "horn-like" improvisational ability, particularly in her scat singing.

The song follows the following chord progression (in the key of C Minor):

CmCm(M7)Cm7Cm6
Abmaj7/CFm7D⌀7G7(b9)

The second A section follows a similar progression, but the last two bars are replaced with a minor ii-V in Eb heading into the bridge.

CmCm(M7)Cm7Cm6
Abmaj7/CFm7F⌀7Bb7(b9)

The bridge is in the relative major and speeds up the harmonic progression to 2 chords per measure:

Ebmaj7 Fm7Gm7 Fm7Ebmaj7 Fm7Gm7 Fm7
Ebmaj7 G7Cm7 Bbm7 A7Abmaj7D⌀7 G7

The last A section is extended by 4 bars:

CmCm(M7)Cm7Cm6
Abmaj7D⌀7 G7(b9)Cm7Bbm7 A7
Abmaj7Fm7 Bb7(b9)Eb6D⌀7 G7

This simple and classic structure makes it easy to adapt to other genres and for jazz musicians to improvise over the established chords.

History

Babes in Arms opened at the Shubert Theatre on Broadway, in New York City on April 14, 1937 and ran for 289 performances. [2] In the original play, a character named Billie Smith (played by Mitzi Green) sings the song to Valentine "Val" LaMar (played by Ray Heatherton). [3] In the song, Billie pokes fun at some of Valentine's characteristics, but ultimately affirms that he makes her smile and that she doesn't want him to change (the song is often sung by a man to a woman, though to say that a woman's looks are "laughable" is anomalous).

<i>Babes in Arms</i> 1937 musical by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart

Babes in Arms is a 1937 musical comedy with music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Lorenz Hart and book by Rodgers and Hart. It concerns a group of small-town Long Island teenagers who put on a show to avoid being sent to a work farm by the town sheriff when their actor parents go on the road for five months in an effort to earn some money by reviving vaudeville.

Broadway theatre class of professional theater presented in New York City, New York, USA

Broadway theatre, also known simply as Broadway, refers to the theatrical performances presented in the 41 professional theatres, each with 500 or more seats located in the Theater District and Lincoln Center along Broadway, in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Along with London's West End theatre, Broadway theatre is widely considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English-speaking world.

New York City Largest city in the United States

The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2018 population of 8,398,748 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 19,979,477 people in its 2018 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 22,679,948 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.

The song first hit the charts in 1945, performed by Hal McIntyre with vocals by Ruth Gaylor. [4] It only appeared for one week and hit #16. [5]

Hal McIntyre American musician

Hal McIntyre was an American saxophonist, clarinetist, and bandleader.

Bing Crosby recorded the song in 1956 [6] for use on his radio show and it was subsequently included in the box set The Bing Crosby CBS Radio Recordings (1954-56) issued by Mosaic Records (catalog MD7-245) in 2009. [7]

Bing Crosby 20th-century American singer and actor

Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby Jr. was an American singer and actor. The first multimedia star, Crosby was a leader in record sales, radio ratings, and motion picture grosses from 1931 to 1954. His early career coincided with recording innovations that allowed him to develop an intimate singing style that influenced many male singers who followed him, including Perry Como, Frank Sinatra, Dick Haymes, and Dean Martin. Yank magazine said that he was "the person who had done the most for the morale of overseas servicemen" during World War II. In 1948, American polls declared him the "most admired man alive", ahead of Jackie Robinson and Pope Pius XII. Also in 1948, Music Digest estimated that his recordings filled more than half of the 80,000 weekly hours allocated to recorded radio music.

The Bing Crosby Show was broadcast daily Mondays to Fridays and was of 15 minutes duration with Bing Crosby talking about all manner of different subjects and usually including three songs around the dialogue.

Mosaic Records

Mosaic Records is an American jazz record company and label established in 1982 by Michael Cuscuna and Charlie Lourie. It produces limited-edition box sets that are available only by mail.

Michael Buble recorded the song for his 2018 album Love.

<i>Love</i> (Michael Bublé album) 2018 studio album by Michael Bublé

Love is the tenth studio album and eighth major label studio album by Canadian singer Michael Bublé, released on November 16, 2018, by Reprise Records. It is supported by the lead single "When I Fall in Love".

See also

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Night and Day (song) original song written and composed by Cole Porter; from the 1932 musical Gay Divorce

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References

  1. "National Recording Registry To "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive"". The Library of Congress. 25 March 2015. Archived from the original on 23 June 2016. Retrieved 25 March 2015.
  2. Trager, James (2005). The People's Chronology: A Year-by-Year Record of Human Events from Prehistory to the Present (3 ed.). Detroit: Gale. ISBN   0805031340.
  3. Playbill from 1937 Babes in Arms theatrical performance.
  4. Orodenker, M. H. (1945-01-27). "Popular Record Reviews". Billboard . 27 (4). ISSN   0006-2510.
  5. Whitburn, Joel (1992). Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890-1954: The History of American Popular Music. Record Research, Inc. ISBN   0-89820-083-0. As cited in My Funny Valentine (1937), written, compiled, and published by jazzstandards.com.
  6. "A Bing Crosby Discography". BING magazine. International Club Crosby. Retrieved October 11, 2017.
  7. "allmusic.com". allmusic.com. Retrieved October 11, 2017.

Further reading