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Somebody Loves Me

Written: 1924

Music by:
George Gershwin

Words by:
B. G. Buddy De Sylva and
Ballard MacDonald

Written for:
George White's Scandals
(revue, 1924)

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On the Main Stage at Cafe Songbook

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

Margot Bingham


"Somebody Loves Me"

backed by Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks
in the HBO series Boardwalk Empire
(season 4 episode 3).

The video (DVD and Blue Ray) available at
Amazon; The CD/(MP3s) at

Amazon iTunes

More Performances of "Somebody Loves Me"
in the Cafe Songbook Record/Video Cabinet
(Video credit)


Cafe Songbook Reading Room

"Somebody Loves Me"

Critics Corner || Lyrics Lounge

About the Show George White's Scandals (1924) / Origins of the Song

Other songs written for George White's Scandals (1924) currently included in the Cafe Songbook Catalog of The Great American Songbook: none


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


book cover: Ruth Leon, "Gershwin"
Ruth Leon
London: Haus Publishing,


Book cover: Philip Furia and Michael Lasser, "America's Songs"
Philip Furia and
Michael Lasser,
America's Songs: The Stories Behind the Songs of Broadway, Hollywood, and Tin Pan Alley, New York: Routledge, 2006.


Howard Pollack

George Gershwin: His Life and Work
Berkeley: Univ. of California Press


"Somebody Loves Me" and the year in which it was written, 1924, together represent a turning point in George Gershwin's career. He, Buddy De Sylva and Ballard MacDonald wrote "Somebody Loves Me" for the 1924 edition of The George White Scandals, a series of revues that began in 1919, and ran through 1936. White intended them to compete with Florenz Ziegfeld's Follies and was successful in doing so for a good portion of the time. From 1920-1924, the scores for The Scandals were written by the young George Gershwin. And in June, 1924, nobody, not even George Gershwin himself, could have been anything but young to have accomplished what he did: He recorded Rhapsody in Blue with Paul Whiteman's orchestra on June 10, and evidently within the next couple of weeks or so wrote the entire score for the 1924 Scandals, because it opened at the Apollo Theater on 42n street in New York on June 30; and by July 8, he had sailed for London to begin work on his British musical, Primrose. The scorefor Scandals included the show's best remembered song, "Somebody Loves Me."

For five seasons Gershwin cut his songwriting teeth composing for White's revues, but from this point on he would cease to write songs each of which was designed to be the focal point for an individual sketch, as was required in a revue, and instead write groups of songs all of which were intended to carry forward the story of an entire show. This new format forced George to change his composing modus operandi. For revues he could depend much more heavily on song ideas jotted down and stored away in his ever-present notebooks, but to make an entire score of songs fit a single story line, he had to start each, more or less, from scratch. These shows with a single story from opening to closing curtain were termed bookmusicals, the form that became the future of the American musical theater as well as the future for George Gershwin on Broadway and later in Hollywood.

According to Ruth Leon, one of George's biographers, "Gershwin had felt a revue format like George White's Scandals was the right showcase for his talents," and a song as good and lasting as "Somebody Loves Me" seems to bear that out; nevertheless, the revue form, at the time of that song's composition, was something Gershwin was leaving behind. (And, in truth, only two out of Thirty-four songs from the five scores he wrote for The Scandals are still remembered: "Stairway to Paradise" (1922) and "Somebody Loves me." After the 1924 Scandals, he left the series partly because he had a money dispute with George White but mostly because he had gotten restless writing for the revue format. He was, according to another biographer, Howard Pollack, "outgrowing the genre's limits" (p. 319). Afterwards he wrote solely for book musicals, first on stage and then on the screen -- along with, of course, composing his concert pieces. The first and most significant of these was Rhapsody in Blue, also written during 1924 (before "Somebody Loves Me"). Later in the same year, Gershwin, along with his brother Ira, who about this time became his permanent writing partner, wrote the score for their first significant book musical, Lady Be Good. (It should be noted that George had previously written the score for a lesser known musical with a book, La, La, Lucille in 1919).

Of the two lyricists who worked on "Somebody Loves Me," Gershwin says it was Ballard MacDonald who started the ball rolling on the song by saying, "George, let's write a song that will be simple yet strong enough to catch on and become a hit," which in fact it did, the only song from the show to do so; furthermore, Gershwin claimed MacDonald was mostly responsible for the song's lyric and admired Ballard as a "typical, colorful popular songwriter of the first rank." This was not to denigrate Buddy De Sylva whom he respected, having worked with him on several projects including writing the standard "Do it Again" in 1922.

Winnie Lightner introduced "Somebody Loves Me" in a Scandals sketch, the premise of which is that a young, contemporary woman suffers frustration and confusion because she knows she is loved by someone but doesn't know who. The sketch sets her amongst her heroes all of whom surround her on stage as she sings, and includes figures from various periods as diverse as Mark Antony, Romeo, Harold Lloyd, William S. Hart, and even twenties child star, Jacky Coogan for comic relief. She does not, however, know or discover who is meant for her, and her plight and resulting frustration serve as the source of energy that drives the song. "Somebody Loves Me" was the hit of the show and its performance was no doubt instrumental in launching it on its path toward becoming a standard.

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Critics Corner
Commentators remark on Gershwin's use of jazz elements, especially blue notes in "Somebody Loves Me,"
and the effect they have on determining whether the song is finally happy or sad.

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

Alec Wilder does not believe "Somebody Loves Me" is a great song but recognizes that jazz musicians have found it one to "have fun with," often choosing to play it because it is "spare"; that is, is a song not cluttered with too many notes. "Somebody Loves Me" also appeals to jazz players because it uses "two measure cadences which give the improviser extra room to move around in." The harmonic changes don't come too quickly providing "room to fool around" within the chords, in other words room for improvising. Certainly Wilder's contention as it relates to "Somebody Loves Me" being a favorite of jazz musicians is born out on this page by the number of them (even exclusive of jazz vocalists) who can be found performing it in the Cafe Songbook Record/Video Cabinet.

Wilder goes on to note that another important reason for the popularity of "Somebody Loves Me" with jazz musicians is the novelty of its out-of-key b-flat whole notes . . . ," In other words its blue notes, the use of which in 1924, were "a departure from conventional songwriting and led early "jazz critics" to call Gershwin songs like "Somebody Loves Me" and "Stairway to Paradise" jazz songs.

Gerald Bordman, without calling "Somebody Loves Me" a jazz song, comments that its jazz elements [such as the blue note] demonstrate, "the grammar" of the [Gershwin Jazz] style (Gerald Bordman, American Musical Theatre: A Chronicle, New York and London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1978/1986, p. 339, hard-bound Ed.).

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.

Of the many explanations of how George Gershwin used blue notes to inflect his compositions with a jazz flavor, the clearest, and probably the best, especially for non-musicians, comes from Gerald Mast. Mast describes Gershwin's "partiality" for blue notes as being characterized by their unexpected arrival at a given point in a song, "rupturing a simple melodic pattern, usually at the very end of a musical phrase." What happens here, according to Mast, is that the phrase is ended or resolved, in a spot where it ordinarily couldn't be, by the use of a blue or flatted note changing the key from major to minor, a change that is often associated with the evocation of sadness. This occurs in the refrainof "Somebody Loves Me" every time the word "who" is used. The flatted third (or blue) note used for each "who" makes the refrain repeatedly "leap out" at the listener (Mast, p. 74).

Somebody loves me,
I wonder who,
I wonder who she can be.

book cover: "The Tin Pan Alley Song Encyclopedia" by Thomas Hischak
Thomas Hischak, The Tin Pan Alley Song Encyclopedia, Westport CT: Greenwood Press, 2002

Thomas Hischak in the entry for "Somebody Loves Me" in his Tin Pan Alley Song Encyclopedia despite noting the distinctive use of blue-notes on the word "who" tilts decisively toward the song having a happy outcome:

B.G. De Sylva and Ballard MacDonald wrote the nimble lyric about a true love who has not yet appeared on the scene, but one is confident that such a person exists (p. 331 paper-bound Ed.).

book cover: William G. Hyland, The song Is Ended, Songwriters and American Music, 1900-1950.
William G. Hyland. The Song is Ended: Songwriters and American Music, 1900-1950. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995

William Hyland takes the opposite tack from Hischak, asserting the result of using the blue note on the word "who," makes "the simple question, 'I wonder who,' take on a different meaning. He suggests that the answer to the question will be "an unhappy one"(Hyland, p. 55). Presumably, Hyland means the answer to the question will become a cause for the singer developing a case of the blues.

This notion may be confirmed by those performances of the song which are taken at a ballad tempo (which Wilder says Gershwin called for) or, on the other hand, undercut by those sung up-tempo, as if the singer knows he or she will be thrilled by whoever turns out to be the 'somebody."

See Performance Notes below.

book cover: "The American Popular Ballad of the Golden Era, 1925-1950" by Allen Forte
Allen Forte,
The American Popular Ballad of the Golden Era, 1924-1950
Princeton, Princeton Univ. Press, 1995.

As to whether "Somebody Loves Me" casts a negative light on the outcome of the singer's predicament of not knowing who loves or doesn't love him or her, Allen Forte claims the musical structure in association with the lyric finally clears up any ambiguities associated with the "plaintive quality of the melody." As a result, he feels certain that the song ends on a "happy, or at least optimistic," note. (For the details of his technical analysis in support of this conclusion, see p. 153).

book cover: George Gershwin: "An Intimate Portrait" by Walter Rimler
Walter Rimler
George Gershwin: An Intimate Portrait
Urbana and Chicago:
University of Illinois Press, 2009.

Walter Rimler sees both the sad and the happy in the song:

"The refrain has a blue note (the “who” in “I wonder who”) that is not artificial or heavy-handed. It seems inevitable. In the twelfth bar, on the slightly awkward line “who can she be worries me,” the music becomes worried, slipping into B-minor. Then it modulates into A-minor for a release(“for every girl who passes me”) that, although harmonically dark, has a reassuring beat and the same singability as the beginning of the refrain. Vernon Duke's piano-vocal arrangement takes advantage of the many held notes to insert Gershwinesque piano breaks. These are bits of chromatic counterpoint and they come off especially well in and around the release."

(This passage does not come from Rimler's Gershwin book shown at left but from the author's blog article on "Somebody Loves Me," which contains more valuable commentary about the song including an account of how it came to be that Vernon Duke did the piano-vocal arrangements for several songs for the 1924 Scandals, including “Somebody Loves Me.”).


"Somebody Loves Me" performed in movies:

Lena Horne in Broadway Rhythm (1944); Oscar Levant and Tom Patricola in Gershwin biopic Rhapsody in Blue, (1945); Doris Day and Gene Nelson in Lullaby of Broadway (1951); Betty Hutton and Ralph Meeker (dubbed by Pat Morgan), in the Blossom Seeley biopic Somebody Loves Me (1952); Peggy Lee in Pete Kelly's Blues, (1955); Ann Blyth (dubbed by Gogi Grant) in The Helen Morgan Story (1957);

Performance Notes

A partial, but very good summary of the performance history of "Somebody Loves Me," especially as it relates to the varying tempos at which the song has been recorded, comes from Howard Pollack in his book George Gershwin: His Life and Work, (p.318). He notes how the song "quickly attracted popular and jazz musicians." Among them, he lists Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra who in 1924 reached number one on the charts with the song as well as Fletcher Henderson (1930), Eddie Condon (1944), Bud Powell (1950) and Oscar Peterson (1952) all of whom lightly swung it with tempos that had some pace. Benny Carter (1937) and Earl Hines (1973) sped it up even more. On the other hand Benny Goodman (1936), Kiri Te Kanawa (1987) and Judy Blazer (1988) slowed it down. Still others such as Bing Crosby (1939), Peggy Lee in the movie Pete Kelly's Blues (1955), and Meat Loaf sang it as a ballad. Lena Horne in the 1944 movie Broadway Rhythm begins the song as a ballad and speeds it up as she goes. ( Horne also shifts the versefrom its usual introductory spot and inserts it after a chorus; and that's where the speed-up comes.)

Another swinging version not mentioned by Pollack is Lee Wiley's 1952 version recorded at a rehearsal session at George Wein's Storyville club in Boston with Wein on piano, Johnny Windhurst on trumpet, et. al., from the album Lee Wiley Complete Studio Masters.

Twenty-first century versions worthy of note include Jessica Molaskey accompanied on piano by Ray Kennedy and Ken Peplowski on clarinet, which takes the song at a very appealing intimate ballad tempo (on her 2003 album A Good Day), and Bill Charlap's jazz piano rendition from 2005, accompanied by a septet including Nicholas Payton on trumpet, Slide Hampton on trombone, Phil Woods on alto sax, and Frank Wess on tenor sax. Margot Bingham playing Daughter Maitland in the 2013 HBO series Boardwalk Empire, sings "Somebody Loves Me" in a night-club setting taking it at a moderate pace and in a tone appropriate to the carefree environment of a speak-easy that suggests she is not overly concerned about who will turn out to love her.

Alec Wilder points out that Gershwin meant "Somebody Loves Me," like "Oh, Lady Be Good!," from the same year, to be performed as a ballad having "marked it, with an adjective and an adverb, 'Slow and gracefully'" (Wilder, pp. 128-129), A slow tempo is more often than not associated with sadness. but as shown, the recording and performance history of "Somebody Loves Me" reveals a split between ballad interpretations and more up-tempo versions that parallels the split in the critical commentaries above with regard to whether "Somebody Loves Me" is a sad or a happy song.

Whether the song is a sad or happy one (Howard Pollack writes that it hovers between "the comfort of believing 'somebody loves me and the regret of not knowing who." (Pollack, p. 318), taken together the performances of "Somebody Loves Me" add up to one of the most often recorded songs of the Songbook era. It is number 20 on the list "Top Forty: The Most Often Recorded Songs in America, 1900-1950." It is also included in Variety's Golden 100. (Allen Forte,The American Popular Ballad of the Golden Era, 1924-1950, 1924-1950, pp. 149-150).



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Lyrics Lounge

Click here to read the lyrics for "Somebody Loves Me" as sung by Ella Fitzgerald on various albums.

Philip Furia and Michael Lasser in their 2006 book America's Songs: The Stories Behind the Songs of Broadway, Hollywood, and Tin Pan Alley, makes the case, as do other commentators, that "Somebody Loves Me" comes at a turning point in George Gershwin's songwriting career. For them this is true not only because of the points made above that it was written for Gershwin's last revue; but also because it was "the best and one of the last of Gershwin'sTin Pan AlleySongs." Their argument is based mostly on the lyric. The singer is "befuddled" because although she is confident that somebody loves her, she doesn't know who it could be. She is so worried about who it might be that she "frantically accosts men in the street" to determine which one loves her. Finally, "in a classic Tin Pan Alley 'finish'," she turns to her audience and "coyly" exclaims, "Maybe it's you!"

The persona of the singer as depicted by Furia and Lasser is similar to the the character in the original sketch in George White's Scandals of 1924. Of course, the original rendition of the song included its verse, the purpose of which was to set up the sketch: There "should be a girl for every single man" (Note the double entendre of "single."), because "this has been "Heaven's plan" ever since "the world began." In the singer's case, however, something seems to have gone wrong because "To my regret . . . we've [she and the man destined for her] never met." The singer is quite apprehensive about this development, "clutching at straws, / Just because / I may meet him yet." In other words, as the opening of the refrainstates, "Somebody loves me, / I wonder who / I wonder who he can be."

Like many other singers, Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra drop the verse in their renditions of "Somebody Loves Me," thus eliminating the set-up that underpins the opening lines of the refrain: "Somebody loves me / I wonder who. . . ." Therefore, most of us who are familiar with the song through later recordings, unlike the 1924 audience for the Scandals, have never heard the verse (probably don't even know it exists), and so don't quite understand why the singer feels this way. The audience attending the show has had an advantage over us. We who haven't heard the verse are much more dependent on the latter-day singers to convey through tone and phrasing what we are supposed to think about their state of mind. Why exactly is she/he so worried who the prospective lover can be? Why is the singer so worried that he/she needs to shout to every boy/girl who passes by, "Hey! maybe, / you were meant to be my lovin' baby"? The answer was, of course, supplied in the now rarely sung verse: This is the way the world was made, with someone for everyone. So why am I an exception? Probably most modern singers understand that in this case of existential angst, less is more. The singer does not need to tell us how the world was made. We understand how just from being alive; and when we perceive ourselves as odd man/woman out, we worry, often a lot, and speculate: "Somebody loves me, / I wonder who. / Maybe it's you." Singers such as Sinatra and Fitzgerald make their livings filling in the blanks with their deliveries.

There are, however, recorded versions that include the verse. One of the first is by Isabelle Patricola, real life sister of Scandals cast member Tom Patricola (who plays Twenties child movie star Jackie Coogan). Isabelle, who was not herself in the cast, recorded the song in August, 1924, on which she sings the full llyric, including the verse. Howard Pollack notes that her rendition was taken at a slower tempo than Whiteman's, what Pollack calls "a moderate pace," which picked up when her brother Tom entered during the second chorus at "a swinging gait." Play the video below to hear them sing the entire song as it was originally written. Marion Harris' 1924 version also includes the verse.

Isabelle Patricola sings "Somebody Loves Me" (1924)
with her comic actor brother Tom Patricola,
who appeared as child star Jackie Coogan in the original
sketch in George White's Scandals, 1924. (Isabelle was not in the original show. Tom Patricola also sings "Somebody Loves Me" with Joan Leslie in the Gershwin biopic Rhapsody in Blue, 1946)

Recording artists and club performers regularly change lyrics around to customize them for their own particular needs. The most common form of such customization is the changing of gender specific words to suit the needs of the singer. Even though the Ella Fitzgerald lyric for "Somebody Loves Me" given at the "Click here" link indicates that she uses the pronoun "she" and the noun "girl," at those spots where one would expect her (at least at the time Ella recorded the song), to invoke the male gender, she, in fact, uses "he" and "guy" on her recording. Nat King Cole, as one would expect, uses "she" and "girl" on his. Versions of the sheet music often provide both.


Read the full lyric for "Somebody Loves Me" in

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.

Click here to read Cafe Songbook lyrics policy.

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Ballard MacDonald

The Unsung Songwriters
Warren W. Vaché
The Unsung Songwriters: America's Masters of Melody
The Scarecrow Press, 2000

Although Ballard MacDonald, co-lyricist for "Somebody Loves Me," appears in the Cafe Songbook Catalog of The Great American Songbookonly once (here, for this song), he has a distinguished catalog. MacDonald is from a generation just preceding both George Gershwin and Buddy De Sylva. His song writing career began more or less simultaneously with that of The Songbook's, publishing his first song in 1909 and achieving a significant reputation within the next eight years, a period capped by his writing, with James Hanley, "(Back Home Again in) Indiana" (1917), a song that will no doubt eventually be included in our catalog because of the number of singers who have performed it as well as its popularity with jazz instrumentalists. In 1919 he teamed with Hanley again to write another landmark song, "Rose of Washington Square." MacDonald wrote librettos as well as lyrics and among his co-writers, along with Gershwin and Hanley, were Sigmund Romberg, Walter Donaldson, Harry Carroll, and Joseph Meyer. In the early twenties, MacDonald wrote more and more for the stage which led to him co-writing the lyrics with Buddy De Sylva for George Gershwin's melody, "Somebody Loves Me."
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("Somebody Loves Me" page)


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The Cafe Songbook
Record/Video Cabinet:
Selected Recordings of

"Somebody Loves Me"

(All Record/Video Cabinet entries below
include a music-video
of this page's featured song.
The year given is for when the studio
track was originally laid down
or when the live performance was given.)

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

Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra
album: The Early Years, Vol. 1

same track as on album referenced above

Amazon iTunes

Notes: Paul Whiteman's instrumental version of "Somebody Loves Me" reached number 1 on the charts in November, 1924 and remained in that position for five weeks.
(Please complete or pause one
video before starting another.)

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Marion Harris
album: The Very Best Of

same track as on album referenced above

Amazon iTunes

Notes: "A hit maker who was recording before the end of World War I, Marion Harris sang a Broadway version of the blues several years before it had cracked the commercial consciousness, near the end of the 1910s. In that, she was a harbinger of the Jazz Age, although her hits dried up by the mid-'20s" (from iTunes biography). Her recording, of "Somebody Loves Me," in which she includes the verse, reached number 7 on the charts in January, 1925.
(Please complete or pause one
video before starting another.)

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Fletcher Henderson
album: A Study in Frustration

same track as on album referenced above

Amazon iTunes

Notes: Featured players from the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra include Rex Stewart (cornet), Russell Smith and Bobby Stark (trumpet), Jimmy Harrison and Claude Jones (trombone), Benny Carter (clarinet and alto sax), Harvey Boone (alto sax), Coleman Hawkins (tenor sax), Fletcher Henderson (piano), Clarence Holiday (banjo and guitar), John Kirby (bass and tuba), and Walter Johnson (drums). The vocal here is by members of the orchestra. The identity of the vocal soloist is currently unknown to us.
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Benny Goodman and His Orchestra
album: The Fletcher Henderson Arrangements

same track as on album referenced above

Amazon iTunes

Notes: Arrangement by Fletcher Henderson; Benny Goodman (clarinet); H. Schertzer, W. Depew, A. Rolini, V. Musso (saxophones); Z. Zarch, H. Finkelman, G. Griffen (trumpets); M. McEachern, S. Ballard, (trombones); A. Russo,(guitar); H. Goodman (string Base); J. Stacey (piano); G. Krupa (percussion).

"In 1935, Goodman's Orchestra was selected as a house band for the Let's Dance radio program. Since Goodman needed new [material] every week for the show, his friend John Hammond suggested that he purchase some from Henderson. Many of Goodman's hits from the swing era were played by Henderson and his own band in the late 1920s and early 1930s, and usually were head arrangements that Fletcher transcribed from his own records, then sold to Goodman. However, brother Horace Henderson recounts (in Goodman's biography Swing, Swing, Swing by Ross Firestone) that the clarinettist made heavy demands on Henderson for fresh charts while his band was engaged for the Let's Dance show in 1934, and that he himself contributed to help Fletcher complete some of them. Vocalist Helen Ward also states that Henderson was delighted to hear the Goodman orchestra realize his creations with such impeccable musicianship.
In 1939, Henderson disbanded his band and joined Goodman's, first as pianist and arranger and then working full-time as staff arranger." (from Wikipedia article on Henderson)
(Please complete or pause one
video before starting another.)

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Benny Carter and His Orchestra
album: Benny Carter and His Orchestra

same track as on album referenced above

Amazon iTunes

Notes: This classic track features Benny Carter & His Orchestra with Benny Carter (tp,dir,as,cl); George Chisholm (tb); Jimmy Williams (as,cl); Coleman Hawkins (ts); Freddy Johnson (p); Ray Webb (g); Len Harrison (b); Robert Montmarche ...Benny Carter & His Orchestra Benny Carter (tp,dir,as,cl); George Chisholm (tb); Jimmy Williams (as,cl); Coleman Hawkins (ts); Freddy Johnson (p); Ray Webb (g); Len Harrison (b); Robert Montmarche ...
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Bing Crosby
album: Bing-His Legendary Years 1931-1957

same track as on album referenced above

Amazon iTunes

Notes: The CD set includes four discs with about 100 tracks. "This is a beautiful sampling of the work of Bing Crosby during his best years. Wonderfully designed, wonderfully annotated by Will Friedwald (One of the most perceptive writers today on the subject of American pop music of the pre-rock era) and excellently re-mastered" (Amazon customer reviewer). As noted in our text at the left, Bing's tempo for "Somebody Loves Me" is among the slowest, rendering the song as a ballad. Compare this to the Benny Carter version just above, which is one of the fastest versions.
(Please complete or pause one
video before starting another.)

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Lena Horne
album: That's What Love Did To Me

same track as on album referenced above

Amazon iTunes

Notes: Lena Horne sang "Somebody Loves Me" at the Little Trocadero" night club in New York as early as January, 1942, where she appeared wearing a striking white dress. Horne biographer James Gavin notes that Buddy De Sylva, one of the lyricists for "Somebody Loves Me," showed up to hear her sing his song and commented, "She's the best female singer of songs I've ever heard. It's how she sells them. She puts something into a lyric that even the author didn't know was there." Gavin also notes that because of the jewel box size of the club, Horne didn't even need a mike (Gavin, Stormy Weather: The Life of Lena Horne , p. 98). On the recording on the video below, Lena starts out with the chorusat a ballad tempo, then inserts the verselater, speeding up the tempo in the middle of it. Horne shot "Somebody Loves Me" in 1943, for the movie that was released on January 10, 1944 as Broadway Rhythm. On screen, she sings the song playing a night club performer, but the performance gives little indication of the quality of her performance at Little Trocadero as described by De Sylva. Perhaps this had something to do with the fact that all of her other scenes in the film had been cut giving her performance an out of context aspect.
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Frank Sinatra
album: Radio Days Volume 3

Amazon iTunes

Notes: Frank sang ''Somebody Loves Me'' with The Pied Pipers, orchestra conducted by Axel Stordahl, probably arranged by Marvin Miller on the "Songs by Sinatra" radio program, several times in 1946 and again in 1949. He takes the song at a considerably quicker tempo in contrast to his buddy and rival Bing (listen above.) Sinatra originally recorded "Somebody Loved Me" in 1941, with Tommy Dorsey's orchestra and the Pied Pipers.
Video above: It is not entirely clear to us which Sinatra/Pied Pipers recording is on the video above, except that it is from one of the radio shows with Axel Stordahl, not the Tommy Dorsey 1941 recording.
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video before starting another.)


Bud Powell
album: Eight Classic Albums

same track as on album referenced above

Amazon iTunes

Notes: "This four-CD, 74-track import comes from Real Gone Music, a European label that repackages classic jazz and R&B. It's a very low-priced public domain remaster, so it includes no liner notes; you get nothing but the music, but what music it was!" (Amazon Customer Reviewer).
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Lee Wiley
album: Complete Fifties Studio Masters (Bonus Track Version)

same track as on album referenced above

Amazon iTunes

Notes: recorded 1952 at a rehearsal session at George Wein's Storyville club in Boston with Wein on piano, Johnny Windhurst on trumpet, et. al., from the album Lee Wiley Complete Studio Masters. The MP3 of this track is available from Amazon on the album "'The Total' Lee Wiley (Vol. 1) .

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1955 (and 1947?)
Peggy Lee
album: 20th Century Masters:
The Millennium Collection:
Best of Peggy Lee

same track as on album referenced above

Amazon iTunes

Notes: On the 1955 track from the album and music video above, Ms. Lee, with the Hal Mooney Orchestra, takes "Somebody Loves Me" at a ballad tempo, as is indicated on the original sheet music. Also, as in the original version, she includes the verse. Thisversion as sung by her was featured in the 1955 movie Pete Kelly's Blues.

On the albums lined to "iTunes" and "Amazon" as well as on the video below, she swings the song with an up-tempo beat. This track can be found on the album The Very Best Of Peggy Lee Vol.4 and others. (The track may originally be from a live radio broadcast on The Peggy Lee Show, summer, 1947.)

same track as on album at Amazon link below

Amazon iTunes

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Ella Fitzgerald
album: Ella Swings Brightly With Nelson

same track as on album at Amazon link below

Amazon iTunes

Notes: Ella Swings Brightly with Nelson is a compilation of songs sung by Ella Fitzgerald and arranged and conducted by Nelson Riddle originally put together in 1962, and re-released on CD in 1997 by Verve. This version of "Somebody Loves Me" is originally from Ella Fitzgerald Sings The George and Ira Gershwin Songbook, a five LP set with cover art by Bernard Buffet recorded and released in 1959, now under release as a CD Box set.

Amazon iTunes

The same track of "Somebody Loves Me," sung by Ella without the verse, appears on a number of albums. View a list of these as well as other Ella versions of the song at Amazon.
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Johnny Hartman
album: You Came A Long Way From Saint Louis

album cover: Johnny Hartman "You Came a Long Way from St. Louis"

same track as on album referenced above

Amazon iTunes

Notes: The full title of the album is You Came A Long Way From Saint Louis. The Complete Savoy & Musicor Sessions. "Somebody Loves Me" was recorded in St. Louis during the summer of 1961 with the Andrew Hill Quartet. The set includes all the studio sessions made by Hartman. This is a 24-bit remastered edition made in 2003 from tracks originally laid down between 1947 and 1976. Personnel: Johnny Hartman (vocals); Hy White, Tony Mottola, Carmen Mastren (guitar); Joe Coleman, Max Polikoff, Laura Newell (strings); Ray Abrams, Budd Johnson (tenor saxophone); Tyree Glenn (trombone, vibraphone); Jerry Burshard (trombone); Sanford Gold, Andrew Hill (piano); Cozy Cole, Gene Gammage (drums). There are liner notes by Hartman and Coltrane

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Kiri Te Kanawa
album: Kiri Sings Gershwin

same track as on album referenced above

Amazon iTunes

Notes: "George Gershwin's songs for the musical theater have lived on in the decades since his death in adapted form, as successive generations of pop singers have made them their own. With the help of conductor John McGlinn and the New Princess Theater Orchestra, opera singer Kiri Te Kanawa here attempts to restore some of those songs to their original form, employing the original orchestrations to most and using a few re-created ones where charts have been lost" (from iTunes review).
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Jessica Molaskey
album: A Good Day

album cover: Jessica Molaskey "A Good Day"

Amazon iTunes

Notes: Jessica Molaskey. whose background includes musical theater, cabaret, and singing with her husband John Pizzarelli, is accompanied here on piano by Ray Kennedy and on clarinet by Ken Peplowski. She takes "Somebody Loves Me" at a very appealing, intimate ballad tempo.

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Bill Charlap
album: Plays George Gershwin:
The American Soul

Amazon iTunes

Notes: On the album, Charlap on piano is accompanied by members of a septet created for this session including Nicholas Payton on trumpet, Slide Hampton on trombone, Phil Woods on alto saxophone, and Frank Wess on tenor saxophone.

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