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.

My Funny Valentine


Written: 1937

Music by: Richard Rodgers

Words by: Lorenz Hart

Written for: Babes in Arms
(Broadway Show (1937)

Page Menu
Main Stage || Record/Video Cabinet || Reading Room || Posted Comments || Credits

On the Main Stage at Cafe Songbook

A Cafe Songbook Main Stage Double Feature: two vocal/instrumental duet performances of "My Funny Valentine"

(Please complete or pause one
video before starting another.)

Chris Botti (trumpet)
Sting (vocal)


"My Funny Valentine"
(as a serenade for Trudie Styler, Sting's wife)

with full orchestra and Botti's band
at the Wilshire Theater, Los Angeles,
December, 2005

Amazon iTunes

Joshua Bell (violin)
Christin Chenoweth (vocal)


"My Funny Valentine"

From Joshua Bell at Home with Friends
(New York City, 2009)

Amazon iTunes
More Performances of "My Funny Valentine"in the Cafe Songbook Record/Video Cabinet

Cafe Songbook Reading Room

"My Funny Valentine"

Critics Corner || Lyrics Lounge

Songs from Babes in Arms other than "My Funny Valentine" included in the Cafe Songbook Catalog of The Great American Songbook:

1. I Wish I were in Love Again

2. Johnny One Note

3. The Lady Is a Tramp

4. Where or When


For a complete listing of songs used in the original production of the Broadway show Babes in Arms, see IBDB song list.


For a complete listing of songs used in the movie Babes in Arms, see IMDB soundtrack.

About the Show and the Movie Babes in Arms

Babes in Arms is not only a typical "Come on kids, let's put on a show" musical, but perhaps the first of its kind. The idea for it emerged while Rodgers and Hart were walking in Central Park and noticed some creative children making up their own games. It's plot was slight and far fetched but the Rodgers and Hart score produced more American standard songs than any other show by the songwriting team.

The story finds a troupe of Depression era vaudeville performers who are unable to get work deciding to light out for the territories in an attempt to make some kind of living, leaving behind, as incredulous as it sounds, their children to fend for themselves. The youngsters decide to resist an attempt to send them to a work farm by putting on a show of their own to raise money for a local youth center. Nothing much comes of it until a deus ex machina in the form of a French transatlantic aviator crash-landing his plane in their midst generates enough publicity to make the kids' show a hit.

Babes in Arms tried out in Boston and then opened in New York at the Shubert Theater April 14, 1937. Despite its lack of the de rigueur line of semi-nude show girls to stir up ticket sales, it ran for the better part of a year (289 performances), closing December 18, 1937. Rodgers and Hart had decided they wanted this show to be all their own so they wrote the book as well as the words and music; and they brought in George Balanchine for the choreography. The cast was restricted to youngsters, many of whom eventually became stars, and included Mitzi Green, Alex Courtney, Alfred Drake, Ray Heatherton, The Nicholas Brothers, Dan Dailey, Robert Rounseville, Grace MacDonald, and Wynn Murray.

Introduction of "My Funny Valentine" in Babes in Arms.

Babes in Arms is abackstager. The show within the show that the kids put on is a revue, and all but one of the Rodgers and Hart songs are the focal points for its skits. The only exception is "My Funny Valentine." It is integrated into the main story, Billie, played by Mitzi Green, singing it about her new love "Val," short for "Valentine," played by Ray Heatherton. Richard Rodgers has noted that because he and Hart were so interested in writing songs that helped to develop the story, they went so far as to change the name of one of their character to Valentine to make the song fit it. (Musical Stages, p, 181, hard-bound Ed.).

Revivals: There have been no Broadway revivals of Babes in Arms perhaps because despite the spectacular score, the book is just too slight and dated too quickly; however, there have been two studio albums: one with Mary Martin on Columbia Records, from 1951; and one with Judy Blazer and Judy Kaye from 1989. The latter uses the original 1937 orchestrations and therefore provides a rare opportunity to hear the musical portions of the show more or less as originally performed, before so many of the songs emerged as standards creating their own indelible impressions. There was also one New York concert revival by City Center Encores! in Feb. 1999, for which there is a cast album. Despite the lack of a Broadway revival, Babes in Arms has been mounted countless times in high school and stock productions using a revised book with a summer theater as the setting and in which the interns put on the show within the show.

The Lorenz Hart Website in its discussion of the revivals of Babes in Arms offers a refutation of the notion that Babes in Arms has never been recreated in its original form because it is "too slight and too dated."

About the Movie Babes in Arms

The Hollywood forces that created the movie version of Babes in Arms (1939, with Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney) somewhat inexplicably got rid of most of the great Rodgers and Hart songs, including "My Funny Valentine," leaving only "Where or When" and the title song of the show as well as a brief instrumental version of "The Lady Is a Tramp." Although it is inexplicable to omit great songs written for the very production from they are being cut, we say "somewhat" because the movie went on to make a lot of money without these songs. Go Figure.

As if to try to make up for the faux pas of cutting these great songs, another was committed--but in another movie. In the film version of the 1940 Rodgers and Hart show Pal Joey, Kim Novak (dubbed by Trudy Erwin) sings "My Funny Valentine." The performers (as well as the audiences) for both films would have been better served had the movie makers just let Judy Garland sing this great ballad in the movie where it belonged, Babes in Arms, the film version of the show for which it was written. Here's what came of it:

"My Funny Valentine": Kim Novak (dubbed by Trudy Erwin) in Pal Joey (1957). For more on Rodgers and Hart songs actually written for Pal Joey, see the Cafe Songbook pages for "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" and
"I Could Write a Book."

"My Funny Valentine," although one of the most often performed and recorded of American standard songs, was one of those works that did not emerge from its original venue, the Broadway show Babes in Arms (1937), wings spread and ready to take off into immortality. There was no recording by Mitzi Green who sang it in the show, the only contemporaneous recording being an instrumental version by two pianists, Edgar Fairchild and Adam Carroll who played in the show's orchestra. Not until the Hal McIntyre orchestra with a Ruth Gaylor vocal barely crept into the top twenty in February, 1945 did any recording get noticed at all, and it would be difficult to make the case that this one was the record that started the song on its way. Neither can the 1948 biopic of the songwriters, Words and Music, be given a lot of credit. It did a lot of good with regard to exposing the Rodgers and Hart songbook to a broader public, but "My Funny Valentine" itself was not used in the film. In fact it wasn't until the cabaret and jazz singers as well as jazz instrumentalists, so often the key figures in recognizing and promoting the greatest American Songbook songs got hold of it in the late forties early fifties, that "My Funny Valentine" achieved its permanent and esteemed place in the canon of American popular song. Among these, Will Friedwald reports that Mabel Mercer was singing it in the clubs and apparently Chet Baker and Gerry Mulligan came across it because we have their 1952 recording. (Ed.'s note: Will Friedwald also points out it was about this time that the creation of the long playing record that encouraged jazz musicians to start exploring the Rodgers and Hart songbook (Friedwald, Stardust, p. 350, paper bound Ed.).

The Hal McIntyre Orchestra with vocal by Ruth Gaylor
(Bluebird 0837) reached number sixteen on the charts
February 24, 1945, where it remained for one week.

Richard Rodgers,
Musical Stages: An Autobiography New York: Random House, 1975
(Da Capo paper bound ed., 2002, pictured above).

Babes in Arms
studio cast album

Babes in Arms
studio cast album

The Mickey Rooney & Judy Garland Collection
(Babes in Arms /
Babes on Broadway /
Girl Crazy /
Strike Up the Band)

DVD box set

Dorothy Hart, ed.
Thou Swell Thou Witty The life and Lyrics of Lorenz Hart, New York: Harper and Row, 1976. (a compilation of Hart's lyrics and of first hand accounts of Hart from those who knew him).

book cover: Edward Jablonski, "Lorenz Hart: Poet on Broadway"
Frederick Nolan
Lorenz Hart: Poet on Broadway
, Boston: Northeastern UP, 1996
Critics Corner

Click here to read the lyrics for "My Funny Valentine" as sung by Ella Fitzgerald
on the album Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Rodgers and Hart Songbook.
(This version does include the verse.)


Cafe Songbook logo
from Cafe Songbook


Stephen Sondheim.
Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics (1954-1981) with Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes. New York: Alfred A. Knoph, 2010 (pp. 25-26).


Geoffrey Block, Ed. The Richard Rodgers Reader. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

"My Funny Valentine," was not only unusual in the time it took to get started on its way to being a standard, but it has a lyric surprisingly atypical for a love ballad in that it celebrates not the virtues of the loved one, but his (or her) less than stellar traits: looks that are "laughable, unphotographable," a body that is "less than Greek" and a mind that is "dim-witted." The lover must have something though, for the singer commands: "Don't change a hair for me, / Not if you care for me." Perhaps it took this quality of irony, not everything is what it appears to be, so prevalent on the hip, jazz filled side of the Fifties, to make "My Funny Valentine" finally get itself fully appreciated by the musicians who eventually gave it its immortality.

Richard Rodgers uses "My Funny Valentine" as an example of how his first writing partner Hart, who earlier in his career had seemed to "sacrifice warmth for wit" later on began to show off less and become more concerned with emotion." Rodgers writes in his introduction to The Rodgers and Hart Songbook that "I can think of no lyric more touched with tenderness than "Funny Valentine" (Richard Rodgers Reader, p. 268, paperback Ed.) Apparently the public agrees for the song is now so often taken as purely romantic that the ironic nature of the lyric is pretty much forgotten or ignored.

It is hard to ignore it, however, when it is sung directly to a valentine who is a celebrated beauty. This is illustrated poignantly when Sting sings the song to his wife. The audience can't resist laughing at his describing her as "laughable / unphotographable," etc. with the unmistakable evidence to the contrary --Trudi Styler herself-- directly in front of them. (See performance on the Cafe Songbook Main Stage above. Ed.'s Note: Stephen Sondheim takes exception to Hart's use of the word "unphotographable" as incorrect, an example of Hart's sloppy use of language: "Unless the object of the singer's affection is a vampire, surely what Hart means is "unphotogenic." Only vampires are unphotographable, but affectionate "-enic" rhymes are hard to come by" {Finishing the Hat, p. 153} We will leave it to you to decide if "unphotographable" works in "Funny Valentine" or not.)

An explanation that adds sense to the irony may be that the subtext of the words is a comment by Hart (a lyricist known to include autobiographical references in his work) on himself; that is, the far less than perfect figure being described is the lyricist himself who was in fact not a conventionally handsome man--though no one would claim he was "dim-witted." It makes complete sense that Hart might think of his lyric as a representation of how a prospective lover might think of him. If this is so the tenderness referred to by Rodgers is all the more poignant because Hart can be seen as suggesting he is worthy of love despite his inadequacies, making the "My Funny Valentine" lyric a deeply confessional poem. Will Friedwald makes the case (in Stardust Melodies, p. 358) that "My Funny Valentine" is for a woman to sing and that it is culturally acceptable for a woman to point out these kind of shortcomings in a man without destroying the relationship altogether, whereas disaster would certainly follow, and quickly, if a man described a woman's looks as "laughable." (Apparently Sting felt confident enough about his marriage to pull this off though many in his audience, as evidenced by their laughs, seemed a bit nervous about it.)

Hart's biographer Frederick Nolan notes that the songwriters never had any doubts about the song. In fact, they were so sure it was "clearly destined for success" that they changed the name of a major character in Babes in Arms to "Val" to match the song (Frederick Nolan, Lorenz Hart: Poet on Broadway, p. 217). In Rodger's autobiography, he makes the point that another reason for changing the character's name to Val was in the service of emphasizing the integration of the song into the plot: "My Funny Valentine" "was very much about a specific character in the release; in fact before the show opened we even changed the character's name to Val" (Musical Stages, p. 181, hardcover Ed.).

book cover: "Richard Rodgers" by Geoffrey Block
Geoffrey Block,
Richard Rodgers,
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003.


Book cover: Alec Wilder, "America's Popular Song"
Alec Wilder, American Popular Song The Great Innovators, 1900-1950, New York: Oxford University Press, 1972.

That Rodgers begins "My Funny Valentine" in a minor key (somewhat unusual for him) but changes to the major near the end of the song has interested several critics. As Rodgers' biographer Geoffrey Block indicates, although songwriters like Gershwin and Porter occasionally used the minor, especially to evoke the sound of Jewish music, the major was "overwhelmingly the preferred mode." He goes on to say,

When Rodgers composed a song in the minor, most famously in "My Funny Valentine," the lyrics often suggested and in fact led to an ending in major (Block, Richard Rodgers, p. 23).

Alec Wilder, while elaborating on the full musical structure of the song, also notes this change from minor to major. Rodgers first musical idea, according to Wilder, is expressed in C minor for four measures. The composer remains in the minor for the next four measures, but "finally a new idea is introduced with major rather than minor harmony and "builds to a remarkable climax . . . fitting the climax of the lyric: 'stay, little Valentine, stay!'" (Wilder, pp. 206-207), which in fact includes both major and minor chords as if to suggest a final ambivalence embedded in the plea lying behind the overall major finish.

The sound of the minor key often evokes an undercurrent of sadness or lament, which in this case reinforces the conflict of the singer as expressed in the verse, between the image the singer's "funny valentine" tries to present outwardly ("Behold the way our fine-feathered friend / His virtue doth parade") and what he is really like inside. The refrain reveals that the singer is not fooled by her love's show-off antics because she knows that inside he remains her "fav'rite work of art." As Will Friedwald puts it, "What makes the whole thing so remarkable is the happy/sad nature of the lyric, brilliantly mirroring the major/minor nature of the music" (Stardust Melodies, p. 360).

book cover: Gerald Mast "Can't Help Singin'"
Gerald Mast. Can't Help Singin' The American Musical on Stage and Screen. Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press, 1987.
The versefor "My Funny Valentine" is as Gerald Mast points out, "rarely heard." He describes it as "a lovely pastiche of an English madrigal (roving up and down the scale), to contrast with the minor harmonies of the song's passionate refrain" (Mast, p. 171). Kristin Chenoweth does sing the verse in her performance with Joshua Bell on the Cafe Songbook Main Stage. Her performance emphasizes the verse's madrigal like qualities for which she has the perfect voice. In combination with Hart's diction ("behold," "doth," "knowest," etc.) and Bell's violin, we are transported back to the 17th century, if not further, setting up a striking contrast with the mid-twentieth century colloquial lyric of the refrain.

book cover: Will Friedwald, "Stardust Melodies"
Will Friedwald
Stardust Melodies: A Biography of 12 of America's Most Popular Songs.
Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2002 --
paper bound Ed. (pictured) 2004.

The most comprehensive discussion of "My Funny Valentine" can be found in Will Friedwald's book Stardust Melodies in which are included essays on twelve of the most well known American standard songs. In the essay on "Valentine," Friedwald begins with a discussion of the differences between Rodgers in his collaboration with Lorenz Hart and his work with Oscar Hammerstein II. He notes, for example, that although Rodgers was primarily devoted to writing music for shows with both of his partners the collaboration with Hart is remembered almost exclusively for the songs themselves while the reputation of the work with Hammerstein is dominated by the shows for which the songs were written.

As for "My Funny Valentine" itself he begins by tracing its early recording history (or lack of one) which leads to his conclusion that "It is only a slight exaggeration to say that "My Funny Valentine" was really born when Frank Sinatra recorded it in November, 1953." The song became the first track on Sinatra's first Capitol album, Songs for Young Lovers, though, as Friedwald informs us, Sinatra had been singing it for a couple of months at a club in Paramus, New Jersey, and that there is, in fact, a "location" recording with terrible sound quality extant. More importantly this was the time of the start of Sinatra's comeback, which is most often identified with his role in "From Here to Eternity," and so in turn "My Funny Valentine" is associated with Sinatra at this seminal time.

Although other critics cited on this page discuss the musical structure of the song, Friedwald makes it's structure significantly easier to understand for anyone who is relatively unsophisticated about such matters -- but without over simplifying it. His discussion of the verse places it in an historical context going back to the 17th century or earlier and points out that in a recorded performance Eileen Farrell sings it a capella to emphasize its pre-classical qualities, and Paul Desmond's jazz instrumental with strings includes allusions to earlier musical periods." He also illustrates how the music supports the meaning in the lyric in a way that should satisfy the musically aware as well as being informative for the musically naive.

Friedwald credits another critic, William G. Hyland, with the observation that Rodgers was in the habit of starting with a simple melody and then "dress[ing] it up with a not-so-simple series of chords," and then adds that this characteristic "may be one reason why Rodgers's songs are so beloved of jazz singers and instrumentalists." He elaborates on this point in his discussion of Miles Davis and his various late fifties and early sixties quintets' recordings of "My Funny Valentine."

These Davis units were among the first ensembles to explore the concept of modal jazz. It seems logical that "Funny Valentine"'s unique harmonic sequence made it attractive to musicians who were thinking along those lines. Rodgers and Hart may have been contemplating the musical past with their allusions to classical and possibly medieval and Renaissance, techniques, but somehow they wound up looking straight into jazz's future. (Stardust Melodies, p. 360).

Friedwald goes on to chronicle "Valentines" rise to become "one of the signature songs of the LP era." This status was anchored by Ella Fitzgerald's Rodgers and Hart Songbook album version, which includes the verse as insisted on by arranger Buddy Bregman as a way of distinguishing Ella's rendition from the virtual avalanche of "Valentine" recordings during this period. He goes on to comment on more than a sampling of the plethora of both pop and jazz recordings of this song and explains that virtually all jazz versions of "Valentine" are modern, Dixieland or swing versions being rare. By noting that one of Artie Shaw's last recordings was "My Funny Valentine," he illustrates the transformative power of the song for, as he comments, "Hearing [Shaw] stretch out on the tune for five minutes . . . makes him sound like a whole new clarinetist, and in his playing here he goes well beyond the traditional boundaries of swing style" (Stardust Melodies, p. 365).

It is, for Friedwald, the jazz pianists who dominate the instrumental landscape for "Valentine" and he comments on a wide range of performances of the song from Cedar Walton's to Marian McPartland's to Keith Jarrett's. He claims that the pianists have played "Valentine" more frequently than any other tune except possibly "Body and Soul," their most common objective being to use it as a means for getting "introspective and melancholy."

As for singers, Friedwald states that it was equally loved by the straight pop singers as well as the jazz inflected ones. He comments on Johnny Mathis, Julie London and Dinah Shore in the former category giving special praise to Shore's version. The more jazz-oriented singers fall into two categories: "sincere and swinging or looking at it in another way those who focus on the words and those who are more interested in working with the music. He devotes more space to Sarah Vaughan than anyone else, but presents insights of value on Matt Dennis, Lee Wiley and others too numerous to mention here.

Of the many anecdotes meant to illustrate the ubiquity of "My Funny Valentine" generally, Friedwald tells the one about a record buyer asking the clerk at a record store if he has any albums that don't include "My Funny Valentine."

a Sarah Vaughan version of "My Funny Valentine" (live) 1990.
(Please complete or pause one
video before starting another.)
Lyrics Lounge

Click here to read the lyrics for "My Funny Valentine" as sung by Ella Fitzgerald
on the album Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Rodgers and Hart Songbook.
(This version does include the verse.)

The complete, authoritative lyrics for "title'" can be found in:

book cover: "The Complete Lyrics of Lorenz Hart" Ed. by Dorothy Hart and Robert Kimball
The Complete Lyrics Of Lorenz Hart.
Dorothy Hart and Robert Kimball (Eds.), New York: Knoph, 1986
(Da Capo Press expanded, paper bound edition 1995 shown).

Click here to read Cafe Songbook lyrics policy.

back to top of page

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 "My Funny Valentine":


No Comments as yet posted

back to top of page


("My Funny Valentine" 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).

The Cafe Songbook
Record/Video Cabinet:
Selected Recordings of

"My Funny Valentine"

Albums shown below include a track of this song and are listed chronologically by original recording date of the track.
Wherever possible a YouTube music video with either the same performance of the song or another performance of it by the same artist is included.

Performer/Recording Index
(*indicates accompanying music-video)

Click here to view the SecondHandSongs.com list of 186 recordings of "My Funny Valentine."

1952, 1959
Chet Baker

Chet Baker and Gerry Mulligan Quartet

album: The Best of the Gerry Mulligan Quartet with Chet Baker

same track as on album referenced above

Amazon iTunes

Notes: Over Chet Baker's multi-decade involvement with "My Funny Valentine, Whether doing instrumental versions or vocal versions, he is generally the featured performer -- beginning in 1952 with the trumpet-centric Gerry Mulligan Quartet track and proceeding through his first vocal of the song in 1954 and beyond. Will Friedwald notes a pattern in his performances whether vocal, on trumpet or both: "Baker would play it painstakingly slowly and deliberately, almost as if he were plucking out nerve endings. He sings it earnestly, not with a lot of vocal technique but heavy with heartfelt charm." Over 100 Baker performances of "My Funny Valentine" are known, mostly gigs in Europe continuing through the eighties. Friedwald reveals that in what is thought of as Baker's last performance, in Germany on April 28, 1988, the last piece is "My Funny Valentine." (Stardust Melodies, p. 364).

Here is a vocal version from the album My Funny Valentine and other Baker compilations:

Amazon iTunes

(Please complete or pause one
video before starting another.)

back to top of page

1953 and 1962
Frank Sinatra

album: Songs for Young Lovers /
Swing Easy

Amazon iTunes

album: Sinatra and Sextet
Live in Paris

Amazon iTunes

Notes: Sinatra recorded "My Funny Valentine three times: 1953, 1957 and 1962. The 1953 studio recording for Songs for Young Lovers was not only on Sinatra's first album for Capitol but was his first collaboration with Nelson Riddle. The 1957 recording, also with Riddle and a studio orchestra, was not released until 1999. The 1962 Live in Paris recording is known for its spontaneous sound which derived in part from his sextet (Bill Miller, piano; Harry Klee, reeds; Ralph Peña, bass; Al Viola, guitar; Irv Cottler, drums; Emil Richards, vibraphone) having been hurriedly put together in Los Angeles before the tour and never having rehearsed ahead of time with Sinatra. To a great extent this was possible because the arrangements by Neil Hefty (with some, possibly, by Billy May) were the same ones used for earlier Sinatra studio albums, broken down by Miller for the Sextet on this tour. Also, the tour itself was a rush job, a miffed let's-get-out-of-town reaction by Sinatra to President Kennedy deciding to stay at Crosby's house instead of Sinatra's in Palm Springs for his visit to the West Coast. As Amazon customer reviewer David Bradley put it, "The result is a near-perfect set of sultry bar tunes, more intimate than Sinatra at the Sands but still a bigger sound than Songs for Only the Lonely. The Voice is in primal condition, the band is loose but on target, and the material is superb mid-career Sinatra." (For more of the story behind this tour and album, see the liner notes.)

John Sprung in his article "A Selective Sinatra Retrospective" is particularly interested in how Sinatra uses elision to "stunning" effect in the above recording: "The song gently changes tempo from fox-trot to waltz, and Sinatra dances his way through it. In the first go-round, he sings “stay, little valentine, stay,” pauses, and sings “each day is Valentine’s Day.” When the tempo changes after a short instrumental, and it becomes time to repeat the cautionary, “Don’t change a hair for me, not if you care for me,” the final “stay” in the line “stay little valentine stay,” the “y” in “stay” is held as the singer elides (with neither pause nor breath) into the “e” sound and closes with “each day is Valentine’s Day.” Stunning.

back to top of page

Lee Wiley
album: Duologue

Amazon iTunes

Notes: "This CD reissue features her [Lee Wiley's] haunting voice showcased on eight numbers with a quartet that includes trumpeter Ruby Braff, pianist Jimmy Jones, bassist Bill Pemberton and drummer Jo Jones; the best are "My Heart Stood Still," "My Funny Valentine" and especially memorable versions of "It Never Entered My Mind" and "Glad to Be Unhappy." Although pianist Ellis Larkins, who is heard on four unrelated unaccompanied solos, gets co-billing on the CD, he and Wiley never actually meet" (from the iTunes Review).

Other Wiley CDs that include the same track of "My Funny Valentine:


(Please complete or pause one
video before starting another.)

back to top of page

Ella Fitzgerald

Album: Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Rodgers and Hart Songbook
(arranged and conducted by
Buddy Bregman)

same track as on album referenced above

Amazon iTunes

Notes: This is the Rodgers and Hart portion of the seminal set of Ella Fitzgerald Songbook albums, produced by Norman Granz from the mid-fifies through the early sixties. These tracks were made at Capitol Studios, Los Angeles, California from August 27-31, 1956, but not issued until 1957. Personnel includes Ella Fitzgerald (vocals); Paul Smith (piano); Barney Kessel (guitar); Joe Mondragon (bass); Alvin Stoller (drums). Buddy Bregman (conductor and arranger). Ella recorded "My Funny Valentine on four other occasions (1953, 1958, 1961, and 1981) all live performances. This is the only studio recording and the one most frequently reproduced on various albums.

back to top of page

1956, 1958, 1964
Miles Davis

album: Cookin'
with the Miles Davis Quintet

[Rudy Van Gelder Edition]

same track as on album referenced above

Amazon iTunes icon

album: Jazz at the Plaza

same track as on album referenced above

Amazon iTunes

Notes: "Cookin' is the first of four albums derived from the Miles Davis Quintet's fabled extended recording session on October 26, 1956; the concept being that the band would document its vast live-performance catalog in a studio environment, rather than preparing all new tracks for its upcoming long-player. The bounty of material in the band's live sets — as well as the overwhelming conviction in the quintet's studio sides — would produce the lion's share of the Cookin', Relaxin', Workin', and Steamin' albums. As these recordings demonstrate, there is an undeniable telepathic cohesion that allows this band — consisting of Miles Davis (trumpet), John Coltrane (tenor sax), Red Garland (piano), Paul Chambers (bass), and Philly Joe Jones (drums) — to work so efficiently both on the stage and the studio" (from the iTunes review). Davis recordings of "Funny Valentine" also appear on the album Jazz at the Plaza, a live performance that suffers from a less than stellar sound quality but reveals Davis using the song to explore its modal possibilities of Jazz which were beginning about this time. In 1964 Davis recorded it again with with George Coleman, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Tony Williams. Here is the Quintet live in Milan on Oct. 11, 1964 with Davis, Hancock, et. al.

Amazon iTunes

(Please complete or pause one
video before starting another.)

back to top of page

Paul Desmond
album: Desmond Blue

same track as on album referenced above

Amazon iTunes

Notes: "As intended, this album presents alto sax specialist Paul Desmond as never featured before, with the backing of a string orchestra. The record, filled with such beautiful jazz standards as "My Funny Valentine," "I've Got You Under My Skin," and "Body and Soul," is very rich in texture, yet subtle and mellow overall in mood. It's unyielding purpose: to soothe the souls of its listeners. Desmond's style and tone shine with an alluring quality, and the record is filled with melodies that don't fail to stimulate the sophisticated jazz listener. Desmond's melodies are eloquently detailed and charmingly spun in the midst of the string orchestra arranged and conducted by Bob Prince. The legendary Jim Hall is featured as guest guitarist, playing yet another scintillating role and using his classic comping style" (from the iTunes review).
(Please complete or pause one
video before starting another.)

back to top of page

Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders
album: Live At Keystone, Volume 2

same track as on album referenced above

Amazon iTunes icon

Notes: "This 1973 release features what is essentially a Bay Area bar band led by Merl Saunders (keyboards) and Jerry Garcia (guitar) during the latter musician's downtime from the Grateful Dead. Along with the two subsequent "encore" volumes, Live at Keystone includes performances drawn from the quartet's July 10-11, 1973, run in the intimate confines of Keystone Korners in Berkeley. With the support of Bill Vitt (percussion) and John Kahn (bass), the pair jams their way through an eclectic assortment of covers and a few equally inspired original instrumentals" (from iTunes review).
(Please complete or pause one
video before starting another.)

back to top of page

Linda Ronstadt
album: For Senimental Reasons

Amazon iTunes

Notes: arrangements and orchestra conducted by Nelson Riddle, his last of three album collaborations with Ronstadt and one of his last projects before his death. Ronstadt includes Rodgers' and Harts' versesung in a Renaissance style before she switches to the modern style of the chorus.
(Please complete or pause one
video before starting another.)

back to top of page

Etta James
album: Time After Time

same track as on album referenced above

Amazon iTunes

Notes: "No one can deny Etta James's legendary status as a queen of the blues, and here, in this 1995 recording, she still wails with the best. Surrounded by extraordinary musicians--especially the brilliant Cedar Walton on piano and Eddie Harris and Herman Riley on tenor sax, [and on guitar Guitar Josh Sklair]--she turns standards into big, bold, assertive statements, capitalizing on her lower register (much lower than when she was younger). Full of passion, she proclaims her songs, as much as she sings them, using volume and her somewhat harsh voice, instead of sweetness and subtlety, to convey her messages" (from Amazon customer reviewer Mary Whipple).

back to top of page

Steven Pasquale
album: Somethin' Like Love

ve from a 2008 live performance at Joe's Pub in NYC--not the same track as on album above.

Amazon iTunes

Notes: "Steven Pasquale has achieved success performing in Broadway shows like The Spitfire Grill and acting in television series like Rescue Me. A friend of fellow Broadway actress and singer Jessica Molaskey, she introduced him to her husband, jazz guitarist John Pizzarelli, who proceeded to collaborate with him on Pasquale's debut vocal CD. The soothing lyric baritone is quite at home with most of the selections, which are dominated by standards written long before his birth. With Marcus Pauley adding well-placed backing on muted trumpet, plus either Larry Fuller or Tony Monte on piano, bassist Martin Pizzarelli, and drummer Tony Tedesco, Pasquale savors each number, never detouring far from the melody, while showing the finesse of an actor well-versed in communicating a song's lyrics on-stage" (from iTunes review).
Video: Live at at "Broadway Loves Joe's Pub" on November 2, 2008 (not the same track as on the above shown album)

(Please complete or pause one
video before starting another.)

back to top of page
back to top of page