Welcome to

Cafe Songbook

Internet Home of the
Songs, Songwriters and Performers of

The Great American Songbook

Madison Square logo, top of page cafe songbook sign for logo

Search Tips: 1) Click "Find on This Page" button to activate page search box. 2) When searching for a name (e.g. a songwriter), enter last name only. 3) When searching for a song title on the catalog page, omit an initial "The" or "A". 4) more search tips.

About Cafe Songbook


Introduction to CafeSongbook.com

book cover: "The Astaires, Fred and Adele"
Kathleen Riley
The Astaires: Fred & Adele
New York: Oxford UP, 2012



Book cover: Mary Ellin Barrett, "Irving Berlin A Daughter's Memoir"
Mary Ellin Barrett, Irving Berlin A Daughter's Memoir, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1994.



book cover: Gary Giddins biography of Bing Crosby, part 1
Gary Giddins
Bing Crosby:
A Pocketful of Dreams--
The Early Years 1903-1940

Boston: Little Brown, 2001




book cover: Dancing in the Dark, an Autobiography by Howard Dietz
Howard Dietz. Dancing in the Dark An Autobiography. New York: Quadrangle, 1974.



Merle Armitage, Ed.,
George Gershwin.
New York: Da Capo Press,
1938 (repr. 1995 with a new introduction by Edward Jablonski)
[An anthology of remembrances collected after George Gershwin's death]

Cafe Songbook is A Virtual Cafe devoted to the songs of The Great American Songbook, the songwriters who created them and the artists who perform them. The term "The Great American Songbook" has several iterations. There is the long form as just stated and the shorter versions, "American Songbook" and just "The Songbook." On this website, these terms are used interchangeably. The content of The Songbook is a very large group of songs most of which were written during the first half of the Twentieth Century by professional songwriters, most often coming in pairs of composer (writer of the music) and lyricist (writer of the words). For our purposes, we define the period more specifically as being from 1910-1965. (These somewhat arbitrary dates will be commented on further in an essay now in progress on the content of The Songbook to be published in our Articles and Blogs section.) Originally the songs were created as part of the score for Broadway shows, revues, Hollywood movies or for independent publications in the form of sheet music and phonograph records; that is, songs written independently of a show or a movie.

The core of The Songbook is a special group of these songs known as "Standards," short for American Standard Songs. Briefly these are songs that originated from sources like those described above but whose presence after their original appearances in those shows, movies, etc. became so widespread, and they themselves so well loved and highly regarded that they took their place as a standard part of the American popular musical experience as well as a part of the standard repertoire of a wide range of performers. The combination of their quality and ubiquity over time has led to them being known in the aggregate as The Great American Songbook. Cafe Songbook is, if you will, a home for them along with other songs, perhaps less "standard," but of similarly high quality, on the internet, a place never imagined, not to mention experienced, by most of their creators. (For more on Standards, read the Cafe Songbook article, "What Is a Standard?"

Just as a songbook is made up of pages, one or more of which displays the musical notation and lyrics for a song, so CafeSongbook.com is made up of web pages the majority of which are devoted to a specific song from The Great American Songbook. Through the flexibility and suppleness of the web each of these web pages becomes, in a fashion, a virtual cafe, library and emporium.

Cafe Songbook is like most music cafe's in that it has its stage, albeit virtual one, on which the music is performed; however, unlike most cafes and clubs, it is not a place where one featured entertainer or group performs a slate of of songs, but rather where one song is presented by a slate of performers. And, through "the magic of the internet," the performances of the song range over time from close to the moment when the song was created until some time close to the present. A visitor to the cafe can listen to and often view these performances on Cafe Songbook's "Main Stage" or from within its "Record/Video Cabinet" and thus experience the life of the song over time. He or she can also learn about the history of the song in the Cafe's "Reading Room," including commentary from some of the finest music critics. One can also discover much about its lyrics by dropping into its "Lyrics Lounge," join in a discussion of the song in the "Visitor Comments" area, and finally obtain various recordings of the songs or purchase books about them and the songwriters who were their creators. For even more information, one can visit Cafe Songbook's Songwriter Pages, each of which is devoted to a specific composer or lyricist of The Great American Songbook. Beyond this the Cafe is a portal to articles and blogs about the songs and songwriters. The entry point to song pages and songwriter pages, which taken together are the heart of the website, is through The Cafe Songbook Catalog of The Great American Songbook.

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Outline of CafeSongbook.com
(and links on the site)

Cyrille Aimée
album: Cyrille Aimée + Friends Live at Smalls

album cover: Cyrille Aimee Live at Smalls

Amazon iTunes

Notes: For her Smalls LIVE debut, Aimée is accompanied by jazz legend Roy Hargrove as well as tenor saxophonist Joel Frahm. The rhythm section consists of pianist Spike Wilner, bassist Phil Khuen and drummer Joey Saylor. Aimee, who is French, claims both French Gypsy and Dominican roots. Recently she has received high marks fort her appearances at Birdland in NYC and from songbook guru Jonathan Schwartz.




Louis Armstrong and
Oscar Peterson

Album: Louis Armstrong meets
Oscar Peterson

Amazon iTunes

Notes: "On that great Verve album cover, two giants of twentieth century jazz, sitting on plain old barstools, shirtsleeved, about as casual as casual can be. A fitting intro to this recording. Satchmo is not encumbered by that saccharine pop stuff of his later years, nor is he too Bourbon Street to bear. Instead, he swings gracefully, wittily, almost effortlessly from track to track . . ." (from Amazon customer reviewer, Relaxin').




[Fred Astaire, Oscar Peterson, et. al.]
The Complete
Norman Granz Sessions

Amazon iTunes

Notes: The Complete Sessions, produced by Norman Granz, joins Astaire with six members of Jazz at the Philharmonic: tenor saxophonist Flip Phillips, trumpeter Charlie Shavers, pianist Oscar Peterson, guitarist Barney Kessel, bassist Ray Brown, and drummer Alvin Stoller. They record forty songs associated with the career of Astaire.
As the story goes, when the recording sessions were complete, Astaire presented each of his accompanying musicians with a 24 K gold ID bracelet with the name of the musician on the front and "Fred" on the back.



Chet Baker Quartet

album: This Time the Dream's on Me: Chet Baker Quartet Live,
Vol. 1

album cover: This Time the Dream's on Me: Chet Baker Quartet Live, Vol. 1

Amazon iTunes

Notes: Chet Baker, trumpet; Russ Freeman, piano; Carson Smith, bass; Larry Bunker or Bob Neel, drums -- "In this record, first 5 tracks [which include "This Time the Dream's on Me"] are recorded live at Carlton Theatre in L.A. in 1953 and the other tracks are also recorded live at Masonic Temple, Ann Arbor in 1954. The audiences are very enthusiastic, which makes you feel as if you are in the concert. Especially, the introduction part where Chet Baker and his quartet are introduced and the conversation between Chet Baker and audience [is] very interesting" (from Amazon customer reviewer, TTPTT).

Capitol Records released three volumes of "Quartet Live" each with a different title: "This Time The Dream's On Me," "Out Of Nowhere," and "My Old Flame." I want to make a special note that these recordings are pretty old 1953-54, but these releases are a good chance for you to hear a young Baker scorch through some standards" (from Amazon customer reviewer J. Rich).


Types of Pages on Cafe Songbook:

Catalog Page: The catalog page presents the five basic categories of data for each song in the catalog: Title; Year Written; Music By (composer); Words By (lyricist); and Written For (show, movie, or independent publication). It also provides links to each song's and each songwriter's page on CafeSongbook.com.

The Catalog page is sortable: The catalog can be sorted into five differently indexed versions: song title; 2) year written; 3) composer (writer of the music); 4) lyricist (writer of the words) 5) what the song was written for: show, movie, or independent publication.

Note: In the catalog, both the composer column and the lyricist column are ordered alphabetically by last name of the songwriter. It is recommended when searching for a person's name on Cafe Songbook, to enter the last name only. Search results will then appear for surnames placed first, e.g. "Rodgers, Richard" as well as for surnames placed last, e.g. "Oscar Hammerstein II," as they appear in other parts of the website.

Song Pages: Song pages are the heart of the website. Each song page contains the following sections:

1. Basic Song Data (title, year written, music by, words by, written for); 2. Page Menu; 3. Main Stage (Video/s of performance/s of song -- live and contemporary when available); 4. Reading Room (including origins of the song, Critics Corner, and Lyrics Lounge); 5. Record/Video Cabinet (including selected recordings on album and/or video in chronological order); 6) Visitor Comments area; 7) Credits for the page.

Note on song pages: Some song pages are listed on the Catalog page as "full entry" pages because they have content in all of their sections. Others are "basic entry" or "basic entry-plus" pages because only some of the sections have content. Many song pages are, at this point in their development, are "basic entry" pages providing only song title, year written, composer, lyricist, and reason why the song was written. They also have links to sites that give full information about the show or movie a song was written for. Basic-plus entry pages have the above data plus video performance(s), some commentary, etc. We will be working over time to move all song pages up to "full entry" status. Also songs not yet included in the catalog, but ones that deserve to be, will eventually be added and given their own pages. The impetus to include new entries may originate with us or with you through the song nomination process.

Songwriter Pages: Cafe Songbook Songwriter pages provide an array of information and material relating to songwriters, both composers and lyricists, who have written at least two songs that have Cafe Songbook song pages devoted to them. Songwriters who have written only one such song are listed on the Cafe Songbook Master List of songwriters, but no songwriter page is devoted exclusively to them.

Every Cafe Songbook Songwriter Page includes the following sections: 1. two search tools: "Find on this page" and "Search Cafe Songbook.com"; 2. page menu; 3. an illustration portraying or associated with the songwriter; 4. basic information on the songwriter: birth and death dates; place of birth and death, primary songwriting role, listing of co-writers; 5. overview and commentary; 6. music-video cabinet (videos and albums focusing on the songwriter); 7. songwriter's songs included in the The Cafe Songbook Catalog of The Great American Songbook; 8. bibliography of songwriter research resources on the web; 9. bibliography of songwriter research resources in print; 10. Visitor Comments area (for reading visitor comments on the songwriter and for submitting them); 10. Credits (for material used on the page)

Performer Pages: A listing of artists whose recordings appear on Cafe Songbook song and songwriter pages along with the song titles they perform linked to each of the pages on which the performance (on video and/or album) appears. Also, a featured album of every performer is illustrated and linked to Amazon and/or iTunes.

Miscellaneous Pages:

  • About Cafe Songbook: This page: Introduction to Cafe Songbook and outline of CafeSongbook.com.
  • Blogs and Essays: listing of essays and articles that appear or will appear on CafeSongbook.com
  • Contact Us: the way to submit comments on songs, songwriters, etc. or otherwise contact us.
  • Glossary of Terms: definitions of terms used on Cafe Songbook that maybe unfamiliar to some visitors
  • Searching on CafeSongbook.com: Ways to refine searches of individual Cafe Songbook pages or all of CafeSongbook.com.
  • Songwriters Master List: an alphabetical listing of all songwriters who have written songs listed on
    Cafe Songbook
    , with links to those songwriters' pages. note: Only songwriters who have two or more songs on Cafe Songbook have their own pages.

Tony Bennett
album: Tony Bennett Sings
The Rodgers and Hart Songbook

Album Cover: Tony Bennett Sings the Rodgers and Hart Songbook


Album Notes: The CD is a compilation of two Bennett 1973 LPs of twenty-six Rodgers and Hart songs. Both were recorded in September, 1973. Tony is accomapnied by Ruby Braff (trumpet), George Barnes, Wayne Wright (guitar), John Giuffrida (bass).



Chris Botti
album: When I Fall in Love

album cover: Chris Botti, "When I Fall in Love"

Amazon iTunes

Notes: "This is not the typical example of an artist from another genre jumping on the crowded standards-and-ballads bandwagon. When I Fall in Love instead represents an instrumental stylist busting out of a box to find a much more suitable platform for his craft. These tracks are the fruits of an obvious labor of love for everyone from the featured musicians to the arrangers to the engineers" (Amazon editorial review by Mark Ruffin).


Links on Cafe Songbook pages:

  • Internal Links link to elements on the same web page or to another web page within CafeSongbook.com: For example, on the catalog page, each song title is linked to the song's own page on Cafe Songbook. On that song page, each songwriter's name is linked to his or her own page elsewhere on CafeSongbook.com.* On performer index pages, each song title the artist performs on Cafe Songbook is linked to the song page or songwriter page on Cafe Songbook where the performance is located. (*Not every songwriter has his or her own page.)
    Internal links open the linked-to element in the same window as the link itself. To return to the original link, click your browser's back arrow.
  • External Links link to elements on websites other than CafeSongbook.com: There are links to some other websites on our pages. For example, albums of recordings are linked to either Amazon.com or the iTunes Store where further information about them is available and where they can be purchased;* Movie titles are often linked to the Internet Movie Data Base (IMDB.com) where extensive information about them is available. Similarly Broadway show titles are linked to their entries at the Internet Broadway Data Base (IBDB.com). Although we choose these sites because we have every reason to believe them to contain reliable information and to be safe, finally they are not operated by us and we have no control over their content or their practices; therefore, we bear no responsibility for the accuracy of the information contained in them or any other consequences a visitor to them may experience. External links open the linked-to element in its own window. To return to the original link, click the original window or close/minimize the new window or its tab.
    • note: *The purchase price of any item bought by going to Amazon.com or the iTunes Store through Cafe Songbook is exactly the same as going to either of these web locations in your usual fashion. Going there through us, however, serves to support CafeSongbook.com by means of the commissions we receive from Amazon or iTunes for sending prospective buyers to them. No obligation is incurred by clicking an Amazon or iTunes link on Cafe Songbook. Such an action only takes you to the Amazon or iTunes page where the relevant item is located. Once you are there, making a purchase is strictly up to you.
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Youtube Videos on Cafe Songbook.

"Stormy Weather," Ella Fitzgerald, vocal, with Joe Pass, guitar, Hanover, Germany, 1975.

Ella recorded "Stormy Weather" for her album Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Harold Arlen Song Book, 1961 (with arrangement by Billy May).

Amazon iTunes





Patti Austin performing "Miss Otis Regrets" live at Avo Session, Basel, Switzerland, November 7, 2007 with Olaf Polziehn, piano; Christian Von Kaphengst; Martijn Vink, drums.

Patti Austin recorded "Miss Otis Regrets" on her album For Ella, 2002.

album cover: "For Ella" by Patti Austin

Amazon iTunes

Notes: "Patti Austin is well qualified to record an album in the style of Ella Fitzgerald, having spent her career shadowing the paths taken by Fitzgerald and her contemporaries. Although she has worked in R&B-oriented adult pop much of the time, she is clearly in the tradition of Fitzgerald, and in 1988, she even recorded an album of standards that she tellingly titled The Real Me. For Ella easily could be the sequel to that collection. Austin traveled to Köln, Germany, to record a program of songs associated with Fitzgerald with the WDR Big Band conducted by Patrick Williams" (from iTunes review).



YouTube.com has proved to be a wonderful source of content for CafeSongbook.com. Via the YouTube.com process of embedding videos on another website, we have been able to add to the offerings of CafeSongbook.com by presenting performances both recorded and live.

Appreciation is due also to the YouTube community, to those tireless YouTube uploaders who have taken the time to present so many of the wonderful works that constitute The Great American Songbook as well as rare audio and video of the great songbook artists and songwriters performing and/or being interviewed. As a means of further expressing our appreciation to these uploaders, we credit every YouTube video we embed on CafeSongbook.com with a link to the uploaders YouTube channel.

No doubt Cafe Songbook as well as many other music sites and blogs would present a very different experience to their visitors if the privilege YouTube embedding was not available. On the other hand, along with the privilege comes the caveat. Once we have embedded a YouTube video on a Cafe Songbook page, there is no guarantee that it will remain there in perpetuity. For any of a number of reasons, it may disappear from YouTube.com (for any of various reasons) and therefore from CafeSongbook.com. When this happens, and it does happen, a visitor to Cafe Songbook will experience a video screen that when clicked will not show a video. As soon as we discover such a video on one of our pages we replace it or otherwise make the necessary adjustment. We hope eventually to reduce or even eliminate this problem by making our own video and uploading them to our own channel on YouTube. When we will get to this is right now anybody's guess. For now the Cafe Songbook YouTube channel is barely a work in progress.

We recognize that if YouTube.com did not supply the necessary licensing for the content of videos that appear on their site and then allow other websites like Cafe Songbook to embed them, we would have no legitimate means to show these videos.

Finally some YouTube uploaders supply substantial background text to accompany their videos, some of which we use after checking out its accuracy. In other cases the uploaders supply less or no accompanying information, In such cases, we research and supply what we can to accompany the embedded video on Cafe Songbook.

Video Credits

All videos are the property of their respective creators and appear on on CafeSongbook.com. via the embedding process provided by YouTube.com. CafeSongbook.com makes no claim to any rights in these videos.

YouTube.com's embedded video cookie/privacy-enhanced policy:

"Like most web properties, YouTube uses what are known as cookies to collect information. Cookies can be used to store data about the user's computer or the user watching a video. YouTube uses cookies to help maintain the integrity of video statistics, prevent fraud and to improve the site experience, among other things. We use cookies on both YouTube.com and on videos embedded from YouTube.com.

We've been working to give our users more options and control over these cookies. One such option is the privacy-enhanced mode for our embed player. This mode restricts YouTube's ability to set cookies for a user who views a web page that contains a privacy-enhanced YouTube embed video player, but does not click on the video to begin playback. YouTube may still set cookies on the user's computer once the visitor clicks on the YouTube video player, but YouTube will not store personally-identifiable cookie information for playbacks of embedded videos using the privacy-enhanced mode." All videos embedded on CafeSongbook.com are in YouTube's privacy-enhanced mode.

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About Amazon and iTunes on CafeSongbook.com

Chris Connor

Album: I Miss You So/Witchcraft
(two LPs on one CD)

album cover: Chris Connor I Miss You So/Witchcraft

Amazon iTunes

Notes: "'I Miss You So' [the original LP album on which 'They All Laughed' appeared] is a collection of successful singles, singles which previously went unreleased, and a stray track from her Gershwin album. Arranged mostly by Ray Ellis, it's a pop excursion marked by unusual arrangements and horn and choir voicings, and Chris sailing through every kind of song imaginable." (from Amazon customer reviewer)

GreatAmericanSongbook.net, which is the same website as CafeSongbook.com (The two URLs take you to the same web location), is an Amazon Associate website and an iTunes Associate website. That means we have applied to Amazon and iTunes and been accepted Associates Programs, which enables us to provide links on CafeSongbook.com to Amazon and iTunes pages/products. When one of these links is clicked by a visitor to Cafe Songbook that visitor will be taken to a specific location on either Amazon.com or the iTunes Store where a specific product (in our case a specific recording) is showcased and available for purchase. If the user decides to purchase that recording (or anything else on that visit to Amazon or iTunes), CafeSongbook.com receives a small commission. This works to every party's advantage. Amazon or iTunes makes a sale, Cafe Songbook makes a few pennies to help support its website, and you avoid having to go to a different location to buy (or just check out) a recording you have just read about, heard or otherwise encountered on CafeSongbook.com. This is a great way to support Cafe Songbook. It gives us something and costs you nothing.

When one clicks an Amazon.com or iTunes link on Cafe Songbook, Amazon or iTunes opens in a new window. To return to Cafe Songbook, simply click your browser's Cafe Songbook tab or close/minimize the new window and click anywhere on the Cafe Songbook window.

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CafeSongbook.com Lyrics Policy

book cover: "Reading Lyrics" Ed. by Robert Gottlieb and Robert Kimball
Reading Lyrics,
Edited and with an Introduction by Robert Gottlieb and Robert Kimball, New York: Pantheon Books, 2000.
(the words for more than 1000 of the songs from the period treated on this website, including all of its great lyricists)

CafeSongbook.com does not reproduce lyrics that are under copyright, except for short passages under the rules of fair use. Instead, we refer you to publications, both on the web and in print, where lyrics are reproduced. The print publications are, as often as possible, scholarly works that render the lyrics as the lyricist originally wrote them.

We would love to include the entire lyric on Cafe Songbook but are respecting copyright by reproducing only small passages to make our points under the principle of fair use. If we do occasionally reproduce a complete lyric it is because we have determined that it is in the public domain.

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In preparation

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Visitor Comments

Submit comments on songs, songwriters, performers, etc.
Feel free to suggest an addition or correction.
Please read our Comments Guidelines before making a submission.
(Posting of comments is subject to the guidelines.
Not all comments will be posted.)
To submit a comment, click here.
Posted Comments on the Catalog and or Catalog Notes:
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(this page)


Credits for Videomakers of videos used on this page:

Borrowed material (text): The sources of all quoted and paraphrased text are cited. Such content is used under the rules of fair use to further the educational objectives of CafeSongbook.com. CafeSongbook.com makes no claims to rights of any kind in this content or the sources from which it comes.


Borrowed material (images): Images of CD, DVD, book and similar product covers are used courtesy of either Amazon.com or iTunes/LinkShare with which CafeSongbook.com maintains an affiliate status. All such images are linked to the source from which they came (i.e. either iTunes/LinkShare or Amazon.com).


Any other images that appear on CafeSongbook.com pages are either in the public domain or appear through the specific permission of their owners. Such permission will be acknowledged in this space on the page where the image is used.


For further information on Cafe Songbook policies with regard to the above matters, see our "About Cafe Songbook" page (link at top and bottom of every page).

Page Menu

Introduction to CafeSongbook.com
Outline of CafeSongbook.com site
plus notes on the use of links on the site
CafeSongbook.com and YouTube
CafeSongbook.com, Amazon.com
and iTunes
CafeSongbook.com Lyrics Policy
Visitor Comments
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