My mother has this old(wish) book of sheet music, which has, to my mind, an exciting trove of songs that were unknown to me, but popular hits in the early 20th century. Rather than just sightread the music, attempting to suss out each song’s character, I decided I’d try and look up their recordings (oldest available and any notable covers). Because the book has 70 songs in it, I will probably do this as a series of posts.
First, up is “Deep Purple” by Peter de Rose with lyrics later added by Mitchell Parish. The original copyright date is 1934 by Robbins Music Corporation (for the publisher nerds). The earliest recording I could find on the internet (including the Library of Congress, IMSLP, and the public library’s Freegal), was a 1939 hit recording by Larry Clinton and His Orchestra with vocalist Bea Wain.
That recording was number one on the U.S. popular music charts for nine consecutive weeks in 1939. FN: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_Purple_(song)
I’m in the Mood for Love
This song, copyright 1935, has many, many recordings (including one karaoke version by yours truly….). The sheet music credits both Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields as composers and lyricists (yay a woman!); however other, less authoritative sources, say that Dorothy Fields was only the lyricist. The song was introduced by Frances Langford in the movie Every Night at Eight released that year. FN “Evernight At Eight Soundtrack” https://www.imdb.com, retrieved 2020/04/25. IMDB also shows a Greg Oppenheimer as receiving co-credit.
Frances Langford performed it at least twice in the movie:
Louis Armstrong supplied another popular recording in 1935:
Composed and popularized by Glenn Miller, this instrumental recording from 1939 is included in the Grammy Hall of Fame (another playlist to explore!). FN: Grammy Hall of Fame “M”, https://www.grammy.com/grammys/awards/hall-of-fame, retrieved 2020/4/25. The song peaked at no. 3 on the Billboard pop charts, where it remained for fifteen weeks (and suddenly I feel like Kaycee Caysum).
Lyrics were later added by Mitchell Parish.
On the Sunny Side of the Street
This song is copyrighted 1930 with Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields credited as composer and lyricist, respectively.
And because I’m getting tired….
“On the Sunny Side of the Street” is a 1930 song composed by Jimmy McHugh with lyrics by Dorothy Fields. Some authors say that Fats Waller was the composer, but he sold the rights to the song. It was introduced in the Broadway musical Lew Leslie‘s International Revue starring Harry Richman and Gertrude Lawrence.
Having become a jazz standard, it was played by Louis Armstrong, Dave Brubeck, Earl Hines, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Erroll Garner, Dizzy Gillespie, Art Tatum, James Booker, Count Basie, and Lester Young.On the Sunny Side of the Street, http://www.wikipedia.com, retrieved 2020/4/25.
As this song is still well-known, I won’t dwell on it. Here’s the earliest recording:
And here is one of my favorite recordings, perhaps more obscure to my readers – the embattled and brilliant pianist James Booker.