Saturday, February 2, 2013

It Had To Be Whoopee • Lyrics by Gus Kahn

Ruth Etting photo ruth_etting_zps7f5b17fe.jpg Billie Holiday photo billie-holiday_zps1ab38ba3.jpg
Teresa Brewer photo TeresaBrewer_zps2f015c40.jpg Dinah Washington photo DinahWashington_zps7f495f7a.jpg
Clockwise: Ruth Etting; Billie Holiday; Dinah Washington, and Teresa Brewer.

Once again, I was not sure what I was going to do for this week, and then it hit me. I was doing the morning post for featuring Cass Elliot, and I was typing in that the lyrics were written by Gus Kahn, and I realized that was it, I had to feature the lyrics of Gus Kahn! So here we have it, a German immigrant who went on to be a great Tin Pan Alley lyricists, writing for singers, big bands, Broadway, and vaudeville. He wrote in the 1910s, 1920s and 1930s, when many of the songs in the Great American Songbook were being heard. In fact, he has several of those songs, including the songs featured here. And I will start with one that was published in 1922, and recorded by so many of the great voices in the music industry over the next several decades. I bring you the 1955 recording by Teresa Brewer, singing "My Buddy", with music by Walter Donaldson.

When I was thinking which recording I would pick for the next song, it didn't take me long at all. While some of the greatest voices have tried their hand at "It Had To Be You", I felt the interpretation by Billie Holiday in 1955 would be hard to top. The song was originally published in 1924, and had music by Isham Jones. Many remember it from the 1942 film 'Casablanca', but it was written 18 years before. Enjoy as Lady Day sings "It Had To Be You".

"Love Me Or Leave Me" was first heard in the score of the Broadway show, "Whooppee", which graced the stage in 1928. It was introduced by singer/actress Ruth Etting, and the song was so popular, her recording became the top-selling recording of the time. In fact, it was so popular that when Etting returned to the stage in 1930 with a different show, the song was added to placate many of the audience who wanted to hear Etting sing it! So enjoy Ruth Etting singing "Love Me Or Leave Me", with music by Walter Donaldson.

And finally, we have another song that was also written for the 1928 production 'Whoopee". With music by Walter Donaldson, "Makin' Whoopee" was first sung on the stage of jazz great Eddie Cantor, who also recorded it. It was, of course, a song about sex, and warning all men should beware of the evil trap known as marriage. I just love the 1956 recording by Dinah Washington, for the absolute joy of it, with just a hint of flirtation.

Hope you are having a great weekend!

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