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Dorothy Fields

album cover: An Evening with Dorothy Fields
An Evening With Dorothy Fields
(Live, April, 1972 at the 92nd Street Y, NYC)

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Basic Information

Born: July 15, 1905, Allenhurst, New Jersey

Died: March 28, 1974 (age 68), New York City

Primary songwriting role: lyricist; also theater book author andlibrettist

Co-writers: chiefly Jimmy McHugh, Jerome Kern, Arthur Schwartz, Fritz Kreisler, Sigmund Romberg, Morton Gould, Harold Arlen, Harry Warren, Burton Lane, Albert Hague,
Cy Coleman. Also, view a database of 15 Dorothy Fields co-writers.

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Basic Songwiter Information
Overview and Commentary
Music-Video Cabinet
Songs by This Songwriter
in the Cafe Songbook Catalog
of The Great American Songbook
Web Research Resources
Print Research Resources
Visitor Comments
Master List of Songwriters

Overview and Commentary:
Dorothy Fields

Book cover" William Zinsser, "Easy to Remember"
William Zinsser. Easy to Remember The Great American Songwriters and Their Songs. Jaffrey, New Hampshire: David R. Godine, 2001.

For William Zinsser, Dorothy Fields was first among the small group of women popular songwriters during period of The American Songbook. He divides the women into two groups of three: those who made "a sizable contribution to the literature of American popular song" and those who left "a small but exceptional legacy." The former group included, along with Fields, Betty Comden and Carolyn Leigh, the latter, Kay Swift, Ann Ronell and Dana Suesse. Zinsser notes that the members of this "barely remembered" second trio were "gallant also-rans in a mans race."

As for Fields, Zinsser reminds us that she might have gotten a head start by belonging to a very successful show business family headed by her father Lou Fields, most well known as half of the vaudeville comedy team of Weber and Fields as well as a successful Broadway producer. He is quick to add, however, that Dorothy was not in any "need of nepotistic favors," eventually becoming one of the most successful of all songbook songwriters with more than 400 songs written over four decades to her credit.

Zinsser credits much of her success to her ability to write directly with no affect: Her lyrics" say what someone in love should say--no inversion, no allusion, no poetic effects:

I can't give you anything but love, baby,
That's the only thing I've plenty of, baby . . . .

"This is the English language at its most declarative--a writer making her feelings available to us." (Zinsser, pp. 107-111)

Dorothy Fields and the Songwriters Hall of Fame Fields was inducted into The Songwriters Hall of Fame in its first year, 1971, with Harold Arlen, Duke Ellington, Leonard Bernstein, George Gershwin, Yip Harburg, Hoagy Carmichael, Harry Warren and Johnny Mercer;
Dorothy Fields' Collaborators Dorothy Fields collaborators included Jerome Kern, Sigmund Romberg, Harold Arlen, Arthur Schwartz, Burton Lane, Jimmy McHugh, Morton Gould, Harry Warren, Albert Hague, J. Fred Coots, and Cy Coleman, so it is not hard to understand why, by her own description, she was "just one of the boys." And as Deborah Grace Winer notes, Fields never had the name recognition that almost all of her "boy" songwriting partners achieved. "Certainly, her personal fame outside the entertainment community never came close to being commensurate with the renown of the standards she produced. Up until her death in 1974, she often encountered people who would suddenly exclaim in realization,
You wrote that?" -- a situation that, publicly, anyway, she'd always joke about." (Winer, xvi).

Ken Bloom, The American Songbook: The Singers, the Songwriters, and the Songs, New York: Black Dog and Leventhal, 2005.

Ken Bloom comments that Dorothy Fields was able to write with a group of collaborators who were "wildly diverse in style." Bloom also reflects that Fields was not only flexible in her ability to write with such a wide range of composers but was "able to keep up with her times, using contemporary idiomatic phrases without sounding forced or trendy."

In an "aside," Bloom points out Fields' inclination to employ the negative in her titles, such as "I Can't Give You Anything But Love," You Couldn't Be Cuter," and "Nobody Does It like Me" (Bloom p. 225).

Betty Comden on
Dorothy Fields
"The marvelous thing about the way Dorothy wrote is that her lyrics were inventive without being tricky." from Betty Comden's forward to, On the Sunny Side of the Street: The Life and Lyrics of Dorothy Fields, New York: Schirmer Books, 1997, p. IX.

Cy Coleman on
Dorothy Fields

book cover: Charlotte Greenspan, "Pick Yourself Up: Dorothy Fields and the American Musical
Charlotte Greenspan
Pick Yourself Up: Dorothy Fields
and the American Musical

New York: Oxford University Press,

Fields' biographer Charlotte Greenspan informs us that after the 1959 show Redhead for which Dorothy co-authored the book and wrote the lyrics, and which had swept the Tonys in all musical categories, it appeared that her career was over. "For more than five years, there was no Broadway show, no musical, no movie featuring songs with new lyrics by Dorothy Fields." But that was about to change. Greenspan lets Cy Coleman tell the story:

"How would you like to write a song?" With this harsh question I approached the veteran lyricist Dorothy Fields at a songwriters' meeting in her home and waited nervously while the writer of such songs as "The Way You Look Tonight," "Remind Me," "I Can't Give You Anything but Love," "Sunny side of the Street," and countless others looked at me and said, "Why not?" This was the beginning of a collaboration that was destined to go far beyond the tune I had in mind at that moment. (Greenspan, p. 205).

Coleman and Fields wrote music and lyrics respectively for Sweet Charity (1966) and Seesaw, (1973), Fields' last show.

Max Wilk, They're Playing Our Song: Conversations with America's Classic Songwriters (originally published 1973 as They're Playing Our Song: From Jerome Kern to Stephen Sondheim—The Stories behind the Words and Music of Two Generations), New York and Stratford, CT: Easton Studio Press, 2008.

Dorothy Fields on integrating a song into a show and on writing the book for a show.

"If you don't have a story that will hold the audience, you won't have a successful show. And as for the songs that go into that book, they have got to move the plot forward. I don't care how good a song is--if it holds back the story line, stalls the plot, your audience will reject it" (Wilk, p. 43). She adds, "I'm not out to write popular song hits, though I've written songs that have become popular; I'm writing a song to fit a spot in the show. To fit a character, to express something about him or her . . . to move that story line forward" (Wilk, p. 45).

Despite Dorothy's feelings about the importance of integrating a song into a show's book, she was relatively easily charmed out of her principles by Cole Porter. Fields' brother Herb Fields wrote the books for several Porter shows and Dorothy collaborated with him on the book for for the 1941 Porter show Let's Face It. Dorothy told Max Wilk,

Oh, I loved Cole. He and Herbie had worked together so many times before . . . . and they were very close friends. So I learned to disregard the way Cole ignored the book. I got used to it. Lots of times he'd read something in a scene we'd written and he'd say, "Oh, you two people are so talented!" And then he'd cop a couple of lines of dialogue from that scene and put hem into his lyrics. He'd say, "Oh, you don't need this--you'll write something else, I'm sure you will."

On the occasion of Let's Face It trying out in Boston, Dorothy, her brother and Porter were in the lobby during intermission eavesdropping on comments by audience members: "And right next to us was a very aristocratic old dame. She said, 'I don't know how these actors think up all those funny things to say!' Cole was delighted with her remark. He nudged us, and he asked, 'You Fieldses want to write book?'"

When Max Wilk followed up on her anecdote by asking Fields if when she was writing the book for Let's Face It, she wasn't reluctant "to retire as a lyricist and bequeath that spot to Mr. Porter?" Her answer was, "Oh, honey, let me tell you, it's great. The book is always the toughest thing to do; one doesn't need the added responsibility of doing the lyrics, I can assure you. (Wilk, pp. 43-44)

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Cafe Songbook
Music-Video Cabinet:
Dorothy Fields

Dorothy Fields on Wild Women of Song -- narrated by Pamela Rose
Wild Dorothy Fields, Part 1
Dorothy Fields, Part 2

Dorothy Fields, Ethel Merman
and Annie Get Your Gun (Part 3)

Dorothy Fields,
The Comeback / Finale (part 4)

Wild Women of Song: Dorothy Fields, Ethel Merman and Annie Get Your Gun (Part 3)
narrated by Pamela Rose

An Evening with Dorothy Fields
Recorded Live at the 92nd Street Y, New York City Lyrics and Lyricists series April 9, 1972

Dorothy Fields: American Songbook Series
The Smithsonian Recordings Collection
(collected and produced in 1992)

Yours For A Song: The Women Of Tin Pan Alley
(DVD includes archival footage of Dorothy Fields)

A Fine Romance: Dorothy Fields Songbook
with K T Sullivan and Mark Nadler
Two Dorothy Fields Songs Not Currently in the Cafe Songbook Catalog.

Peter Mintun plays and sings the McHugh-Fields song "Dinner at Eight" from 1933, a song that was written as the title song for the famous movie but not used in it. The song, as Mintun demonstrates, was eventually marketed as being "dedicated" to the movie.

Hildegard sings the 1935 Jerome Kern-Dorothy Fields song, "I Dream Too Much" written for the movie of the same title in which it was sung by Lily Pons.
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Dorothy Fields Songs
currently included in the
Cafe Songbook Catalog of
The Great American Songbook
  1. Blue Again
  2. Clsoe as Pages in a Book
  3. Don't Blame Me
  4. Exactly like You
  5. A Fine Romance
  6. I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby
  7. I Feel a Song Coming On
  8. I Won't Dance
  9. I'm in The Mood for Love
  10. Lost in a Fog
  11. Lovely To Look At
  12. Make the Man Love Me
  13. Never Gonna Dance
  14. On the Sunny Side of the Street
  15. Pick Yourself Up
  16. Remind Me
  17. The Way You Look Tonight
  18. You Couldn't Be Cuter
Click here for a database of songs written or co-written by Dorothy Fields.
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book cover: "On the Sunny Side of the Street, Life and Lyrics of Dorothy Fields" by Deborah Grace Winer
Deborah Grace Winer,
On the Sunny Side of the Street: The Life and Lyrics of Dorothy Fields, (foreward by Betty Comden)
New York: Schirmer Books, 1997

Charlotte Greenspan
Pick Yourself Up: Dorothy Fields
and the American Musical

New York: Oxford University Press,


Research Resources:
Dorothy Fields

Dorothy Fields
research resources on the web (listed alphabetically by web source):
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Dorothy Fields research resources in print (listed chronologically):
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Dorothy Fields page)


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Cafe Songbook
Master List
of Great American Songbook Songwriters

Names of songwriters who have written at least one song included in the Cafe Songbook Catalog of The Great American Songbook are listed below.


Names of songwriters with two or more song credits in the catalog (with rare exceptions) are linked to their own Cafe Songbook pages, e.g. Fields, Dorothy.


Names of songwriters with only one song credit in the catalog are linked to the Cafe Songbook page for that song, on which may be found information about the songwriter or a link to an information source for him or her.


Please note: Cafe Songbook pages for songwriters are currently in various stages of development.

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Adair, Tom

Adams, Lee

Adams, Stanley

Adamson, Harold

Ager, Milton

Ahbez, Eden

Ahlert, Fred

Akst, Harry

Alexander, Van

Allen, Lewis

Allen, Steve

Alter, Louis

Altman, Arthur

Anderson, Maxwell

Andre, Fabian

Arlen, Harold
Arnheim, Gus

Arodin, Sid

Atwood, Hub

Astaire, Fred

Austin, Gene

Ayer, Nat D.

Barbour, Dave

Barnes, Billy

Barris, Harry

Bassman, George

Belle, Barbara

Bennett, Dave

Bergman, Alan and Marilyn

Berlin, Irving

Bernie, Ben

Bernstein, Leonard

Best, William "Pat"

Blackburn, John

Blackwell, Otis (a.k.a. John Davenport)

Blake, Eubie

Blane, Ralph

Blitzstein, Marc

Bloom, Rube

Bock, Jerry

Block, Martin

Boland, Clay

Borne, Hal

Borodin, Alexander

Bowman, Brooks

Boyd, Elisse

Brent, Earl K.

Bricusse, Leslie

Brooks, Harry

Brooks, Shelton

Brown, Les

Brown, Lew

Brown, Nacio Herb

Brown, Seymour

Burke, Joe

Burke, Johnny

Burke, Sonny

Burnett, Ernie

Burns, Ralph

Burwell, Cliff

Bushkin, Joe


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Caesar, Irving

Cahn, Sammy

Caldwell, Anne

Campbell, Jimmy

Carey, Bill (William D.)

Carmichael, Hoagy

Carroll, Harry

Carter, Benny

Casey, Kenneth

Casucci, Leonello

Chaplin, Charlie

Chaplin, Saul

Charlap, Moose

Clare, Sidney

Chase, Newell

Churchill, Frank

Clarke, Grant

Clifford, Gordon

Clinton, Larry

Coates, Carroll

Coleman, Cy

Comden, Betty and Adolph Green

Conley, Larry

Connelly, Reginald

Conrad, Con

Cooley, Eddie

Coots, J. Fred

Cory, George

Coslow, Sam

Creamer, Henry

Crosby, Bing

Cross, Douglas

Daniels, Charles N.
Davenport, John (See Otis Blackwell.)

David, Mack

Davis, Benny

Davis, Jimmy

Dee, Sylvia

De Lange, Eddie

Denniker, Paul

Dennis, Matt

De Paul, Gene

De Rose, Peter

De Sylva, B.G. (Buddy)

DeVries, John

Dietz, Howard

Distel, Sacha

Dixon, Mort

Donaldson, Walter

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Drake, Milton

Dreyer, Dave

Dubin, Al

Duke, Vernon

Edens, Roger

Edwards, Michael

Egan, Raymond B.

Eliscu, Edward

Ellington, Duke

Elman, Ziggy

Engvick, William

Evans, Ray

Evans, Redd

Eyton, Frank


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Fain, Sammy

Fetter, Ted

Fields, Dorothy

Fischer, Carl

Fisher, Dan

Fisher, Fred

Fisher, Mark

Fisher, Marvin

Forrest, George

Freed, Arthur

Freed, Ralph

L. E. Freeman

Gaines, Lee

Gallop, Sammy

Gannon, Kim

Garner, Errol

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Gensler, Lewis E.

George, Don

Gershwin, George

Gershwin, Ira

Gillespie, Haven

Golden, John

Goodman, Benny

Goodwin, Joe

Gordon, Irving

Gordon, Mack

Gorney, Jay

Gorrell, Stuart

Goulding, Edmund

Grainger, Porter

Grand, Murray

Grant, Ian

Gray, Chauncey

Gray, Timothy

Grever, Maria

Grey, Clifford
Green, Adolph and Betty Comden

Green, Bud

Green, Freddie

Green, Johnny

Gross, Walter

Haggart, Bob

Hamilton, Arthur

Hamilton, Nancy

Hamm, Fred

Hammerstein, Arthur

Hammerstein II, Oscar

Hampton, Lionel

Handy, W. C.
Hanighen, Bernie

Hanley, James F.

Harbach, Otto

Harburg, E. Y. (Yip)

Harling, W. Franke

Harline, Leigh

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Henderson, Ray

Herbert, Victor

Herman, Woody

Herron, Joel S.

Herzog Jr., Arthur

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Higgins, Billy

Hilliard, Bob

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Hodges, Johnny

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Hollander, Frederick

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Jacobs, Jacob

Jaffe, Moe

James, Freddy (Pseud. for Teddy Powell)

James, Harry

James, Paul

Jenkins, Gordon

Johnson, James P.

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Johnston, Patricia

Jolson, Al

Jones, Isham

Kahal, Irving

Kahn, Gus

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Keith, Marilyn
Kent, Walter

Kern, Jerome

Kisco, Charles

Kitchings, Irene

Koehler, Ted

Kosma, Joseph

Kramer, Alex

Kramer, Joan Whitney

Kurtz, Manny

Laine, Frankie

Lamare, Jules (a.k.a Charles N.

Daniels and Neil Moret)

Lane, Burt
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Latouche, John

Lawrence, Eddie

Lawrence, Jack

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Lee, Peggy

Leigh, Carolyn

Leonard, Anita

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Leslie, Edgar

Levant, Oscar

Lewis, Morgan

Lewis, Sam M.

Link, Harry

Lippman, Sidney

Livingston, Fud

Livingston, Jay

Livingston, Jerry

Loeb, John Jacob

Loesser, Frank

Loewe, Frederick

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Lowe, Ruth

Lown, Bert
Lyman, Abe


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MacDonald, Ballard

Magidson, Herb
Malneck, Matty

Mancini, Henry

Mandel, Frank

Mandel, Johnny

Mann, David

Marks, Gerald

Martin, Hugh

Maschwitz, Eric

Mayer, Henry
McCarey, Leo

McCarthy, Joseph

McCarthy, Jr., Joseph

McHugh, Jimmy

McCoy, Joe

Mellin, Robert

Mercer, Johnny

Merrill, Bob

Mertz, Paul Madeira

Meyer, Joseph

Miles, Dick

Miller, Glenn

Miller, Nathan Ned

Mills, Irving
Mitchell, Sidney D.

Moll, Billy

Monaco, Jimmy

Moret, Neil (aka Charles N. Daniels)

Morey, Larry

Moross, Jerome

Mundy, Jimmy

Muse, Clarence

Myrow, Josef

Nemo, Henry

Newley, Anthony

Nichols, Alberta

Noble, Ray

Norman, Pierre
Norton, George A.

Oakland, Ben

Overstreet, Benton W.

Palmer, Jack

Palmer, Bee

Parish, Mitchell

Parker, Dorothy

Parker, Sol

Parsons, Geoffrey

Perkins, Frank S.

Phillipe-Gérard M(ichel)

Pinkard, Maceo

Porter, Cole

Prima, Louis

Prince, Graham

Prince, Hughie


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Raksin, David

Ram, Buck

Ramirez, Roger (Ram)

Rand Lionel

Raye, Don

Razaf, Andy

Reardon, Jack

Redmond, John

Rene, Leon T.

Rene, Otis

Revel, Harry

Reynolds, Ellis

Reynolds, Herbert

Rhodes, Stan

Robin, Leo

Robin, Sid

Robison, Willard

Rodgers, Richard

Romberg, Sigmund

Rome, Harold

Ronell, Ann
Rose, Billy

Rose, Fred

Rose, Vincent

Ruby, Harry

Ruby, Herman

Ruskin, Harry

Russell, Bob

Sampson, Edgar

Sanicola, Henry

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Savitt, Jay

Secunda, Sholom

Segal Jack
Schertzinger, Victor
Schwandt, Wilbur

Schwartz, Arthur

Scott, Bertha

Shapiro, Ted

Shavers, Charlie

Shay, Larry

Shearing, George

Sherman, Jimmy

Sherwin, Manning

Sigman, Carl

Signorelli, Frank

Silvers, Phil

Simons, Seymour

Sinatra, Frank

Sissle, Noble

Skylar, Sunny

Snyder, Ted

Sondheim, Stephen

Sour, Robert
Spence, Lew

Springer, Philip

Stept, Sam H.

Stock, Larry

Stordahl, Axel

Strachey, Jack

Strayhorn, Billy

Strouse, Charles

Styne, Jule

Suessdorf, Karl

Suesse, Dana

Sullivan, Henry

Swan, Einar Aaron

Swift, Kay

Symes, Marty


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Tauber, Doris

Teagarten, Jack

Thompson, Kay
Tobias, Charles

Tobias, Harry

Tormé, Mel

Tracey, William G.
Trent, Jo

Troop, Bobby

Turk, Roy

Turner, John

Van Heusen, Jimmy (James)

Vimmerstedt, Sadie

Waller, Fats

Warfield, Charles

Warren, Harry

Washington, Ned
Watson, Johnny

Webb, Chick

Webster, Paul Francis

Weill, Kurt

Weiss, George David

Wells, Robert

Weston, Paul

Whiting, Richard A.

Whiting, George A.

Wilder, Alec

Wiley, Lee

Wilkinson, Dudley

Williams, Clarence

Williams, Spencer

Wodehouse, P. G.

Wolf, Donald E.

Wolf, Jack

Wolf, Tommy

Wood, Guy B

Woods, Harry M.

Wright, Lawrence

Wright, Robert

Wrubel, Allie

Yellen, Jack

Youmans, Vincent

Young, Joe

Young, Trummy

Young, Victor

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