Why Was I Born?

A bat shit crazy week such as this calls for a torch song. It doesn’t get torchier than Why Was I Born?

It was written by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein for the 1929 musical Sweet Adeline. The show had a corny title but Why Was I Born? is anything but corny.

The first version I ever heard came from Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Jerome Kern Songbook, which I think is the most underrated album in that series:

Another Friday Cocktail Hour regular, Billie Holiday, recorded the Kern classic with the Teddy Wilson Orchestra in 1937:

Lena Horne sang Why Was I Born? in the 1946 Kern biopic Till The Clouds Roll By:

Jazz musicians love Jerome Kern’s sophisticated and tricky melodies. Here are two instrumental versions of Why Was I Born? by some folks you might have heard of:

Finally, there’s often a joker in the musical deck. In this case, it’s an Iggy Pop song of the same title, which was written for the horror flick Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare. To say that it has an emphatically different vibe and sound is an understatement.

See you next week. Cheers.

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