The Lady Is A Tramp

Today marks the end of Rodgers & Hart month. There’s no better song with which to close it out.

The Lady Is A Tramp was written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart for the smash hit 1937 musical Babes In Arms. It was featured in the 1957 film version of R & H’s hit show Pal Joey. That’s why I associate it with the Chairman of the Board. Hence the Hayworth-Sinatra-Novak featured image.

This week’s post is bookmarked by two of my favorite artists: Sinatra and Oscar Peterson. We begin with Francis Albert.

Ella Fitzgerald’s version is *almost* as good as Frank’s.

Here are Frank and Ella together on his 1965 A Man and his Music teevee special:

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Manhattan

Rodgers & Hart month continues with one of my favorite songs. Manhattan was written by the dynamic duo in 1925 for a review show, Garrick’s Gaieties. It’s unclear if it received good or bad reviews…

Once again, we bookend the post with Ella Fitzgerald and Oscar Peterson. We begin with Ella:

Blossom Dearie was an underrated artist with a unique voice and pianistic style.

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My Funny Valentine

Rodgers & Hart month continues with the torchiest song with Valentine in the title. I’m already on the record as disliking Valentine’s Day so I won’t belabor the point.

Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart wrote My Funny Valentine in 1937 for the Broadway musical Babes In Arms.

There are over a thousand versions, which complicated my task. Where to begin was easy: Ella Fitzgerald.

Anita O’Day knew her way around a sardonic love song. Nobody was more sardonic than the diminutive Larry Hart:

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Blue Moon

As the Emperor of the Friday Cocktail Hour, I hereby decree February to be Rodgers & Hart month. Why? Why the hell not?

Blue Moon was written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart in 1934 when they were under contract to MGM. It began life as a croonable ballad and went through many permutations over the years.

We’re going to begin with two traditional takes on the tune followed by some more eccentric versions. Larry Hart was a bona fide eccentric, after all.

There appears to be some Velvet Fog on the horizon. For the uninitiated, that was Mel Tormé’s nickname. Mel was the crooner’s crooner.

You can never go wrong with the first lady of song, Ella Fitzgerald:

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Pennies From Heaven

This week another upbeat and downright perky song as an antidote to a cold and gloomy month. I’m still irked,

Pennies From Heaven was written in 1936 by Arthur Johnston and Johnny Burke. It was the perfect song for the Great Depression when pennies were hard to come by.

The song was introduced to the world by Bing Crosby, so that’s where we begin.

My favorite version of Pennies From Heaven was recorded in 1956 by Frank Sinatra and Nelson Riddle.

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It’s Only A Paper Moon

The featured image is from the late Peter Bogdanovich’s wonderful 1973 movie, Paper Moon. Tatum and Ryan O’Neal aren’t having cocktails, but it might have been Friday. You never can tell.

It’s Only A Paper Moon was composed in 1932 by Harold Arlen with lyrics by Billy Rose and Yip Harburg. The song’s original title was If You Believed In Me.

We begin with one of the earliest paper moony radio hits by the King Cole Trio. It’s a Natty version.

Has a Velvet Fog ever obscured a Paper Moon? Beats the hell outta me. Here’s Mel:

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