E Thru I (1900 - 1929 Songs)
- Everybody Loves My Baby (1924)
Was the rhythmic song on everyone's lips in 1924. Introduced by Clarence Williams's Blue Five (which had Louie Armstrong on trumpet), the music was composed by Spencer Williams while Jack Palmer wrote the slangy lyric that sings the praises of a dearie (she's his "sweet pattotie."). The song has been revived as late as 1997 in Slow Drag. Also listed as Everybody Loves My Baby (But My Baby Don't Love Nobody But Me).
- Everybody's Doin' It (Now) (1911)
This ragtime classic was about a new dance craze in which one throws one's shoulders in the air and snaps one's fingers. Irving Berlin authored this number, which raged throughout dance halls but remained unknown elsewhere. In 1938 in the movie Alexander's Ragtime Band Alice Faye, Dixie Dunbar and Wally Vernon revived it. Judy Garland also achieved success with it in 1948 in her movie classic Easter Parade.
- Fascination (1904)
is a slow waltz that was popular on and off again for the first half of the 1900s. French songwriter FD Marchetti, wrote the number as Valse Tzigane and it was picked up by sting orchestras in America. The music was used in the soundtrack to the film Love In The Afternoon (1957). The same year Dick Manning added an English lyric and Jane Morgan recorded it and it sold over one million copies. Morgan's version was also heard on the soundtrack of 1982's Diner
- Five Foot Two, Eyes Of Blue (1925)
Also called Has Anybody Seen My Girl? this number pretty much epitomizes the Roaring Twenties and its carefree dance numbers. Sam Lewis and Joe Young wrote the words asking if anyone knows where his missing sweetheart is. Much of the lyric is description of the missing girl, listing her eyes, height, turned up nose, turned up hose, and her ability to love "Oh what those fight feet could do." Actually a torch song Ray Henderson and wrote the music. Gene Austin was the first to popularize this tune hitting the top of the charts with it, and Al Jolson kept it in his act maintaining its popularity. Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Phil Harris and Mitch Miller had major recording of it.
- For Me And My Gal (1917)
A well known song about wedding day bliss that was a forerunner of the Jazz age. Edgar Leslie and E Ray Goetz rote the snappy lyric about bells ringing and birds singing as two turtle doves go off to their wedding, while George W Meyer composed the tune. Vaudevillians Sophie Tucker, Al Jolson and Eddie Cantor sang it and over three million copies of sheet music was sold. It was still on pianos all over America when Judy Garland and Gene Kelly sand it in the film For Me And My Gal (1942). As an endnote when George W Meyer died, his wife had the title of the song inscribed on his tombstone.
- Glow Worm (1907)
This novelty song is probably best known today as the one piece of music Lucy Ricardo can play on her saxophone. It actually has an unusual history.
Paul Lincke wrote this song for a German operetta in 1902 and it was pick up by dance hall bands and was soon played all across Europe. In America the song's title was changed to The Glow Worm with a lyric by Lilla Cayley Robinson, about two lovers that find their way through the dark with the help of glow worms. It was interpolated into the Broadway musical The Girl Behind The Counter (1907) and sheet music sales took off. The tune makes an excellent musical exercise for beginning piano students and kept in popularity through that alone.
In 1952 the Mills Brothers heard this song on a piano and asked Johnny Mercer to write an updated lyric that swings. The Mercer lyric was even more smooth and colloquial than Robinson's lyric and even added modern references, such as comparing glow worms to neon lights. The Mills Brothers recording of the new lyric was a smash hit. Soon Chet Atkins, Bing Crosby and Dean Martin added their versions of it. Jackie Davis recorded a Latin version of it called Glow Worm Cha Cha Cha.
- A Good Man Is Hard To Find (1917)
It was true then and it's still true today. This torch song just slightly swings. Written by Eddie Green it cautions women to hand on to a faithful man because "you always get the other kind." Sophie Tucker first popularized this song in vaudeville with her own sassy interpretation. Bessie Smith, Rosemary Clooney and Juanita Hall have made memorable versions of this song.
- Hail, Hail The Gang's All Here (1917)
What the heck do we care...The melody is British but they words are all American, it is one of the most easily recognized songs, it achieved enormous popularity among the troops in World War II. The tune is actually Come Friends Who Plough The See from Gilbert and Sullivan's musical The Pirates Of Penzance (1879). Lyricist Theodore Morse (using the pen name DA Estrom) took Arthur Sullivan's music and added a simple sing-a-long lyric. It is best known from New Year's Eve when Guy Lombardo And The Royal Canadians played it.
- Happy Days Are Here Again (1929)
Is the unofficial theme song of the Great Depression, but remains popular decades later. Milton Ager's music is bright and tuneful and Jack Yellen's words are spirited urging everyone to "sing a song of cheer again." The song was written for the movie Chasing Rainbows (1930) but it was cut before the final release. A few days after the stock market crashed in October of 1929, George Olsen's orchestra played it at the Pennsylvania Hotel Ballroom in Manhattan where it was greeted with much enthusiasm.
When it was played at Hollywood's Roosevelt Hotel movie producer Irving Thalberg wanted to know why the movies aren't getting such great songs. He was appropriately unnerved to discover it had been cut from one of his very own films. Thalberg immediately put it back into the film Chasing Rainbows. The movie was a dismal failure though.
Franklin D Roosevelt used the song as his campaign song in 1932. Later Harry Truman and John Kennedy used it as well. Judy Garland performed a smashing rendition of it as an allegory for her own life. In 1963 an ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) ranked it as one of the sixteen all time Hit Parade songs.
- Hard-Hearted Hanna (1924)
Also known as Hard-Hearted Hanna (The Vamp of Savannah, G-A), was a very popular song on the vaudeville circuit. Jack Yellen, Bob Bigelow and Charles Bates, wrote the slapstick lyric about a coldhearted gal ("she's the polar bear in pajamas") who breaks men's hearts, destroys their lives and even kills them. Hannah even had the nerve to pour water on a drowning man. Milton Ager composed the music that moves at barrelhouse tempo. Frances Williams introduced this to her vaudeville audiences. Soon the song found favour with Cliff Edwards and Belle Baker. In the 50s Peggy Lee revived it and had a hit with it. Ella Fitzgerald sang the song in Pete Kelly's Blues (1955).
- Hinky Dinky Parlay Voo (1924)
Was a novelty hit based on the World War I song Mad'moiselle From Armentiers. This version had many stanzas starting with a flirting French miss who hasn't been kissed in twenty years. The song was a favourite of the comedy Vaudevillians who also sang.
- Home On The Range (1904)
Perhaps this is the most famous of the cowboy songs in America, but its origins have never been authenticated. The ballad about longing for a home on the prairie "where the deer and the antelope play," probably goes back to the early 1800s. By the way there are no antelope in North America. The song probably refers to Pronghorns, which look like they are antelope but are not. They are the second fastest animal on land. It also is the state song of Kansas.
The traditional history of the song (most likely apocryphal) says that a Kansas homesteader Brewster Higley wrote the lyric as a poem in his cabin in 1873 and a local newspaper published it as Oh Give Me A Home Where The Buffalo Roam. Some twenty miles away from Higley a guitar player Daniel Kelly wrote the music. It wasn't till 1919 when someone thought to put the two together. However history shows the song was published in 1904 as Arizona Home with William Goodman the sole author. The situation grows more confusing the next year in which Higley and Kelly are listed as authors in an anthology of cowboy songs. By 1934 Goodman was fed up and sued for royalties but he could not establish his claim to it.
- I Ain't Got Nobody (1915)
This bittersweet number by Roger Graham and Dave Peyton (words) and Spencer Williams (music) is often described as one of the first and best torch songs ever written. Both the music and lyrics are simple and straightforward. Bessie Smith popularized this number in nightclubs while Sophie Tucker made it her own in vaudeville, but the song had its strongest association with African American comic Bert Williams. Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby and Fats Waller and Bobby Darin made notable recordings.
- I Can't Give You Anything But Love (1928)
One of "Tin Pan Alley's" most durable standards achieves perfection blending of words and music. Dorothy Fields wrote the lyric after observing a poor couple looking into the store window at Tiffanys. Jimmy McHugh composed the music and the song was originally called I Can't Give You Anything But Love Lindy as tribute to Charles Lindburgh who just completed a transatlantic flight. The Song was adapted into the all black review Blackbirds Of 1928. Ethel Walters with Duke Ellington, and Cliff Edwards made popular recordings of it, but it was Billie Holliday's recording with Teddy Wilson and Fats Waller that made it a nationwide hit. After Waller had died his son claimed Waller wrote the music and sold it to Jimmy McHugh, but the style of the song is so close to other McHugh works that this story is doubtful.
- I Didn't Raise My Boy To Be A Soldier (1915)
Expressing the antiwar sentiment of World War I that was quite popular when the war first broke out. Written by Alfred Bryan (lyric) and Al Piantadosi(music), the song warned of a million soldiers dying a million mothers crying with broken hearts. The sheet music further drove this message home by featuring an older gray hair mother embracing her son while bombs exploded all around them. The song was a big seller till the United States entered the war in 1917 then it was pretty much discarded. However a few pro-war writers changed the lyric to read "I didn't raise my son to be a coward,' or "I didn't raise my son to be a slacker." As an unusual footnote a composer named Cohalin brought a plagiarism suit against the writers and while the credit was never changed Cohalin won a large settlement.
- I Don't Care (1903)
A sassy and breezy number this was Eva Tanguay's signature song. Harry O Sutton composed the bouncy music and Jean Lenox wrote the sparkling lyric about a girl who comes right out and admits she has no sense of decorum and is to independent and happy-go-lucky to care. The song contains eight different verses, a very large amount for a song of the time, and even today. The number was first heard in Broadway's The Blonde In Black, but it didn't hit popularity till Tanguay added it to her vaudeville act. The song was so successful she became known as the "I Don't Care Girl," she was later also nicknamed the "Miss Tabasco" for other similar "spicy" songs she added to her act. All together Ms Tanguay is known as "The girl who made vaudeville famous." Judy Garland revived the song in her movie In The Good Old Summer-time (1949). Mitzy Gaynor also sang it in the 1953 biography of Eva Tanguay title The I-Don't-Care-Girl. You can also hear Mary Tyler Moore, as Laura Petrie perform it in a dream sequence on The Dick Van Dyke Show.
- I Faw Down And Go Boom (1928)
This song isn't remembered at all today being a novelty song that uses baby talk. I included it here because it is often a catchphrase on the old Carol Burnett Show, and this is where she gets it from. Eddie Cantor added it to his act and performed it often.
- I Love You Truly (1901)
Has been a wedding favourite almost since the day it was written. It is the most famous song by Carrie Jacobs Bond, who is one of the most prosperous women in the history of Tin Pan Alley. This is a brief simple ballad about mutual love that was written as a concert piece. Almost from the time it was first performed it was picked up by the public for performances at weddings. Literally thousands of recordings of this song have been made, with Bing Crosby, Guy Lombardo and Perry Como having success with it.
- I Wanna Be Loved By You (1928)
Is a baby talk standard that embraced the spirit of the Roaring Twenties. Bert Kalmer (lyric) and Harry Ruby and Herbert Shothard (music) wrote the coy number for the squeaky voiced Helen Kane, better known as the "Boop-A-Doop Girl." She sang this song with Dan Healy in the Broadway musical Good Boy. Part of the popularity lies with the innocent childlike way it's song yet in another way is sly and sexy. Marilyn Monroe sang it in Some Like It Hot (1959) and Tina Louise sang it on an episode of Gilligan's Island.
- I Want A Girl (1914)
Sometimes titled I Want A Girl Just Like The Girl That Married Dear Old Dad. This is one of Tin Pan Alley's most successful "mother songs," and a popular barbershop quartet number. Will Dillon wrote the lyrics and Harry Von Tilzer wrote the words about a sentimental ballad that yearns for an old fashioned girl with a true heart. Al Jolson who made a habit of singing "mother songs," took this one to heart and sang it on the soundtrack of The Jolson Story.
- I Wish That I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate (1919)
This Roaring Twenties dance song managed to survive long after the "shimmy" disappeared from the dance floor. Armand Piron wrote the number about a younger sister that envies an older sister because she shimmies and gyrates like a-jello on the plate when she dances. The song actually goes back to 1910 but did not hit it's apex till 1922 when Gilda Gray, Ann Pennington, and Bee Palmer started featuring it prominently in their vaudeville shows. In 1952 the song was revived by the Mary Kay Trio, who took the song to the top of the charts. It's also known to younger fans of All In The Family as the song Danielle Brisebois, as Stephanie, sings while Edith plays the piano.
- I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now (1909)
One of the most popular songs in the history of Tin Pan Alley, this song sold over three million copies of sheet music. Considered cliche today the number's flowing music, and heartbreaking lyric made it one of the first conversational and down-to-earth torch songs. Songwriter Joe E Howard said he got the idea when he was in Chicago and heard a college student say the title phrase. Howard wrote the music and got Frank R Adams to write the words. No one received bigger success with the song than Howard did. In 1947 Harold Orlob, a musical arranger, sued Howard and won but in an odd court decision, he was awarded credit on the song, but no money.
- If You Knew Susie (Like I Knew Susie) (1925)
This song is identified closely with Eddie Cantor, although it was written for Al Jolson. Joseph Meyer (music) and BG DeSylva (lyric) wrote the song as a slangy salute to the girl with "what a chassie." The repeated "oh, oh," in the music was added to give it a "bouncy feeling." Al Jolson introduced the number in his vaudeville act but it didn't go over. Eddie Cantor picked it up and sang it for the rest of his career.
- I'll Be With You In Apple Blossom Time (1920)
The nostalgic ballad found favour in 1920 and was quickly revived and was an enormous hit for many artists during World War II. Neville Fleeson (lyric) and Albert Von Tilzer (music) wrote the number when a couple looks forward to a reunion. The Andrew Sisters made it a massive hit in 1941 and Jo Stafford did quite well with it as well. Nat King Cole and Tab Hunter had hits in the 50s with it and Wayne Newton went high on the charts with it in 1965.
- I'll Get By (As Long As I Have You) (1928)
Is a potent depression song that states the lack of money is no problem as long as he has love. The music is unusual in the way it seems to awkwardly stop and not resolve itself, then picks up again, gains strength. Roy Turk (lyric) and Fred Ahlert (music) wrote the expert ballad and thanks to Ruth Etting it became popular immediately. Irene Dunne sang the song in A Guy Named Joe and revived the song, and Doris Day also had a hit with it.
- I'll See You In My Dreams (1924)
Is a popular farewell song. For this thirtieth birthday Isham Jone's wife bought him a piano, he sat down and wrote three tunes and this one was among those three. The music is a bit odd in that it makes minimal use of notes. Gus Kahn wrote the lyric in which a heartsick lover knows his beloved is gone but imagines her anyway. An act called Jones And His Orchestra took the song all the way to the top of the charts. Doris Day had a minor hit with it in the 50s and Pat Boone had a hit with it in the 60s. It was most recently heard in 1999's Sweet And Lowdown.
- I'm Always Chasing Rainbows (1918)
This was one of the first songs from Tin Pan Alley that was adapted from a classical piece of music. Harry Carroll adapted the music from Chopin's Fantaisie Impromptu, to this he added a lyric by Joseph McCarthy. It was introduced in the Broadway show Oh Look! and it stopped the show each night, and sheet music sales quickly went over the million mark. In the 40s Perry Como revived the number and the old song stayed on Your Hit Parade for twelve weeks. Tony Martin, Judy Garland and Barbara Cook also recorded popular versions of this song.
As a note of trivia Charles Schulz creater of Peanuts used this song and the phrase to describe Snoopy but the gang would get it wrong and say "That dog is always changing rainbows." Of course this would leave Charlie Brown perplexed.
- I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles (1918)
This song is a waltz with a rather banal lyric but the music has continued for decades. Written for the Vaudevillian team of Henry Burr and Albert Campbell, this song is about a man who is forever blowing bubbles and watching them burst, like his dream also seem to do. Ben Selvin recorded this song first and the sheet music sold over two million copies. Artie Shaw gave new life to the song in 1950. It was most recently heard in Sweet And Lowdown in 1999.
- I'm Just Wild About Harry (1921)
One of Tin Pan Alley's most durable numbers comes from the legendary Broadway show Shuffle Along (1921). Noble Sissle (lyric) and Eubie Blake (music) wrote this number as a waltz, but they found that white audiences would not accept a "European sound" in an all-black review. So they revised this number into a cakewalk. Lottie Gee introduced the number in the musical and it became the hit of the show, being picked up by Vaudevillians, dance bands, night club singers, and recording artists.
- I'm Looking Over A Four Leaf Clover (1927)
One of the most recognizable number in all of Tin Pan Alley history this carefree number by Mort Dixon (lyric) and Harry MacGregor Woods (music) celebrates a wondering happy-go-lucky philosophy of life. This merry march encourages one to enjoy life and look at the things that you've over looked before.
Nick Lucas first popularized this song but Art Mooney and his Orchestra made the biggest recording in 1948. A disc jockey in Salt Lake City was so taken with Mooney's disc that he played it straight for 24 hours. Though the complaints were numerous the gimmick worked and the song shot to the top of the Hit Parade and staying in it for fourteen weeks, and in the process selling over one million. Al Jolson picked it up for his shows and it was a standard part of his act for decades. Danny Thomas in the first remake of The Jazz Singer in 1953 sang this number.
This song is also noted a song that is well suited for beginning tap dance students.
- I'm Nobody's Baby (1921)
Recalls how one was loved as a baby but now grown up is alone and lonely. Lester Santley, Benny Davis, and Milton Ager wrote this number and Ruth Etting popularized it on her stage act. Female vaudeville singers took to the number and it sold over a million copies of sheet music. In 1940 Judy Garland brought the number back to life when she sang it in the film Andy Hardy Meets Debutante (1940)
- I'm Sitting On Top Of The World (1925)
This song is so identified with Al Jolson, it's difficult to hear when he is not the one singing it. Roy Henderson wrote the music and Joe Yong and Sam M Lewis wrote the words, about having no money or nice clothes but he feels like he's "sitting on top of the world." The song was sung by Jolson in The Singing Fool (1928) and in 1946 in the film The Jolson Story.
- I'm The Lonesomest Gal In Town (1912)
This sly ballad written by Lew Brown (lyric) and Albert Von Tilzer (music) is about a lover-less lady who proclaims "everybody's thrown me down." So she thinks of "stealing another woman's man," and she "won't ever give her back." The somewhat cynical was a favourite in vaudeville, was a big hit in the 50s for Kay Starr. Ella Fitzgerald also made a notable recording of it.
- In My Merry Oldsmobile (1905)
Virtually unremembered to day I included it here because it was the first successful Tin Pan Alley song written about an automobile. It commemorates two Oldsmobiles that won a cross-country race from Detroit to Portland, Oregon. Gus Edwards composed the rock-like waltz music and Vincent P Bryan penned the lyrics, which takes the form of a marriage proposal. Edwards, himself, popularized the number in his own vaudeville show, and later on Bing Crosby, Les Brown and Jo Stafford made well known recordings of it. This happy travel tune was most recently heard in the Broadway revue Tintypes (1980).
- In The Good Old Summertime (1902)
This happy standard about the summer, was the first hit song about one of the four seasons. George Evans was reminiscing one day with a friend and referred to the "good old summer" of his youth. He came up with the music but was unable to think of a decent lyric to go with it. Ren Shields later provided the words to go with it. JW Meyers put the song in his vaudeville act and it was heard in the Broadway musical The Defender (1902). But the song had a hard time getting published as publishers feared a song about summer would not be popular during the other seasons. But they were proved wrong and the song once published, sold over a million copies of sheet music. It has been in many Broadway shows and Hollywood films whenever a "summer song," has been needed. In 1952 Les Paul And Mary Ford recorded the song and had a big hit with it.
- It Ain't Gonna Rain No Mo' (1923)
This simple little novelty song has roots that go back to the middle of the 1800s in the South. With verses like "How in the heck, can I wash my neck if it ain't gonna rain no mo'." In 1923 Wendall Hall adapted the song into the Tin Pan Alley format, he accompanied himself on the ukulele and sold over two million records. The song has many variations with the lyric, some substituting "heck" for the real cuss word and some rewriting the verses completely. It has become a common sing-a-long song at campfires.
- It Had To Be You (1924)
This is one of the high points in Tin Pan Alley era songwriting. This effortless classic easily captivates all the romance, and humanity in a simple straightforward love song. Isham Jones composed the music, and Gus Kahn contributed his finest lyric. Kahn uses simple masculine rhymes and short but potent phrases throughout the song.
Jones and his Orchestra introduced the song and by the next years six major recording of the song came out. All of them were successful. Though it never really fell out of favour Artie Shaw had another very successful recording of it in 1941. There have literally been hundreds of recordings of this song made including Vera Lynn, Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra, Andy Williams, Tony Bennett, and Nat King Cole. The song can be heard in at least 40 films over the years, including Casablanca (1942), Incendiary Blonde (1945), Annie Hall (1977) and on the soundtrack of When Harry Met Sally (1989) sung by Harry Connick Jr.