Songbook site index

Page index (drop-down) browse demo (1a)

(above) header tab 5 generation browse demonstration: Page Index > Songbook site index > Songwriter > Songwriters to 1954 > Berlin, Irving > 11 Berlin pages



Billie Holiday, capebillie-holiday-pearls-1a


We’ve Only Just Begun

We’ve Only Just Begun (m. Roger Nichols, w. Paul Williams)

From Wikipedia (image added):

Paul Williams and Roger Nichols (2)The song was originally recorded by Smokey Roberds, a friend of [Roger] Nichols, under the name “Freddie Allen”.[1] It debuted in a wedding-themed television commercial for Crocker National Bank in California in the winter of 1970 with [Paul] Williams on vocals. Hal Riney, founder of the San Francisco-based advertising agency Hal Riney & Partners, commissioned the song to help Crocker appeal to young people. The song played over footage of a young couple getting married and just starting out. Direct reference to the bank was left out, in part to make the song more marketable. The commercial was very popular and Crocker National’s business flourished.

Richard Carpenter saw the commercial and guessed correctly that it was Paul Williams (both of them were under contract to A&M records). Carpenter ran into Williams on the record company’s lot and asked if a full-length version was available. Although it had only two verses and no bridge, Williams confirmed that there was a bridge and an additional verse, forming a complete song; he and Nichols went on to write them. Carpenter selected the composition for the duo’s third single and included it on the LP Close to You.

Released in the late summer of 1970, the single featured Karen’s lead vocals and the overdubbed harmonies of both siblings. Following their hit, “(They Long to Be) Close to You” onto the charts, “We’ve Only Just Begun” hit #1 on the Cash Box singles chart and #2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, becoming the pair’s second million-selling Gold single. It was considered by both Karen and Richard to be their signature song.[2]

Selected links:




Crocker National Bank commercial, vocal by Paul Williams — 1970

Portions of the complete song were used in at least two Crocker Bank commercials. The first, “Wedding” (below), uses the same first two verses recorded by the Carpenters (with a slightly different back vocal). A later commercial, “Moving,” uses an alternate first verse, which is a combination of the first two verses as published, plus the third verse. Neither commercial includes the bridge: “Sharing horizons that are new to us…”


 1970 recordings

1970 We've Only Just Begun-Freddie Allen-B-side of White Whale WW-345

Smokey Roberds (as “Freddie Allen”) — B-side of “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me,” White Whale WW-345, issued in March 1970

An incomplete copy of the recording begins the following VBR MP3, 109.4 MB file, provided by Internet Archive (


1970 Close to You (LP) Carpenters, A&M Records SP-4271Carpenters c. 1970 (1)

Carpenters — from the Carpenters’ second album, Close to You, A&M Records SP 4271, released on 19 August 1970; also issued two days later as the single A&M 1217, b/w “All of My Life”



(below) lead vocal with bass and drums; some back vocals can be faintly heard (1:00-1:06, and 1:52-1:57)


Tony Mottola – from the 1970 LP Close To You, Project 3 Total Sound PR 5050SD, PR 5050 SD


1971 It's Impossible (LP) Perry Como, RCA Victor LSP-4473 (d35)

Perry Como – from his 1970 album It’s Impossible, RCA Victor LSP-4473



Do You Know Where You’re Going To (1973) and Theme From Mahogany (1975)

Do You Know Where You’re Going To (m. Michael Masser, w. Gerry Goffin)

Thelma Houston — single Tamla Motown (New Zealand) TMM.872, b/w “Together” (M. Masser, Pam Sawyer), issued in New Zealand in 1973

1973 Do You Know Where You're Going To-Thelma Houston,Tamla Motown (NZ) TMM.872 (with sleeve)-d201973 Do You Know Where You're Going To-Thelma Houston,Tamla Motown (NZ) TMM.872 (label)-d50

Conflicting reports regarding the year the song was recorded by Thelma Houston, and whether it was released by Motown in the US:

  • Labels of the New Zealand single displayed at,, and bear the date 1973. A note in the page on the single says, “Originally scheduled for U.S. release in late 1973 as Motown M-1260, but apparently cancelled. As far as I know, New Zealand is the only country where this single was released.”
  • In its Thelma Houston page, appears to be three years off on the date of the original single:

Thelma’s 1976 version of the song ‘Do You Know Where You’re Going To’ was set to be released, however, the song was given to Diana Ross as part of the movie soundtrack for the film ‘Mahogany’.

  • In the comments section of an article on the song at, John in Nashville, Tennessee, says,

“Do You Know Where You’re Going To” was originally recorded by Motown artist Thelma Houston in 1973. Her version was released as Motown single #1260.

In a post featuring the Mahogany soundtrack version with the revised lyric, recorded in 1975 by Diana Ross, blogger Abagond says,

“Do You Know Where You’re Going To” had been kicking around at Motown for years. Thelma Houston was about to do it as a single but then it was given to Diana Ross to use as the theme song for her film “Mahogany” (1975). Thus the strange two-part name. It became one of those theme songs that are more famous than the film itself.

Thelma Houston’s recording of the song is included in the Motown Records singles discography at Global Dog Productions (GDP) as Motown 1260, b/w “Together,” dated July 1973. I’ve used GDP’s discographies periodically over the past couple of years, and have not previously noticed it to be their practice to report in their lists, undifferentiated from verifiable releases, scheduled releases that were cancelled. However, being cancelled is what some of the major discography sites such as and Second Hand Songs report happened to Motown 1260.

The existence of a published catalog number, and the fact that I’ve yet to see or hear of any evidence of a Motown 1260 disc or label, together suggest that a U.S. single release was planned, assigned a catalog number, probably announced in notices, but cancelled. A less likely scenario, one which might help explain the inclusion in the GDP discography, is that a limited number of singles were issued before the record was withdrawn from the market.


(below) In 2009, Thelma Houston performs “Do You Know Where You’re Going To” using the original 1973 lyric, with a few minor modifications


Lyric, 1973 version
The Sections I’ve numbered 3 and 4 are heavily rewritten in the 1975 (Diana Ross) version, with only a couple of lines having any resemblance to the the lines they replace. The lines about “Stony Brook” (University, presumably) in section 3 of the 1973 version indicate that the first person, the narrative speaker, is rather down on the institution. While “just hanging out” there, she and the second person (the “you” to whom the monologue is directed) had “had a look,” and having done so the first person concludes that they’d now “seen what nothing’s about.” The original section 4 doesn’t slam any places of higher learning, but its relation to the rest of the lyric is far from clear.


“Do You Know Where You’re Going To?” lyric by Gerry Goffin, 1973 Thelma Houston version — transcribed by doc on 9 June 2014:

Do you know where you’re going to
Do you like the things that life is showing you
Where are you going to
Do you know

Do you get what you’re hoping for
When you look behind you there’s no open doors
What are you hoping for
Do you know

Sometimes while standing still in time
You think you’ll live the thoughts that fill your mind
Now we’ve both been to Stony Brook, just hanging out
We’ve had a look and seen what nothing’s about

repeat 1

Now, what am I to say to you
What kind of prayer am I to pray for you
I can only do my best and tell you what I see
And if you see the rest, please send it to me

repeat 1

repeat 2


Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To?) (m. Michael Masser, w. Gerry Goffin) — 1975 version

1975 Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To) Motown M 1377F (sleeve)Diana Ross-Mahogany 1

From the chapter “Forget Diana,” of the book Diana Ross: A Biography (2014) by J. Randy Taraborelli, page 295:

In September 1975, “Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To?)” was released. Prior to its release Berry Gordy and Michael Mass, who also composed the soundtrack to the film argued over the mix– the actual sound of the recording. Berry wanted one version released, Michael another. As a last resort to get his way, Michael sneaked in to the recording studio and erased a portion of the version Berry preferred, thereby causing his (Masser’s) version to actually be released. It was a clever trick on Michael’ part, and Berry wasn’t pleased about it at the time. Since then, he’s learned to laugh about it, especially since Michael’s version went straight to number one of the pop charts. It remains on of Diana Ross’s most popular songs. Her performance on it was imaginative and compelling and set the stage beautifully for the release of the movie.

Diana RossMotown M 1377F, issued on 24 September 1975, b/w “No One’s Gonna Be A Fool Forever” (Michael Masser, Pam Sawyer) — chart peaks: #1 Hot 100 (1 week, 24 January 1976), and #1 Easy Listening (1 week, 6 December 1975)


The following video includes a nice montage of clips from the film, but the sound quality is lower.



Touch Me In the Morning

Touch Me In the Morning (Michael Masser, Ronald Miller)

The song was first recorded by Diana Ross, featuring an arrangement by Tom Baird and Gene Page, produced by Michael Masser and Tom Baird. Issued on 3 May 1973, the single Motown 1239F, b/w “I Won’t Last a Day Without You,” climbed to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart (1 week, 18 August), and remained on the chart for 21 weeks. It also topped the Adult Contemporary chart, and became a #5 R&B hit. A somewhat shorter version appeared as the first track of the 1973 Diana Ross album Touch Me in the Morning, Motown MKK 1008, released on 22 June 1973.

Diana Ross, feathers (1a)1973 Touch Me in the Morning (LP)-Diana Ross-1977 reissue, Kory Records KK 1008

From Wikipedia:

Diana Ross-Touch Me in the Morning (fr)It was conceived by then-unproven songwriter and producer Michael Masser. He had been recruited by Motown CEO Berry Gordy and A&R chief Suzanne de Passe. Masser teamed up with the proven ballad lyricist Ron Miller to write it.

According to Masser, in a video documentary about Ross, she “always tried to push hard to get the vocals right for this particular song”, calling it a “draining experience” that resulted in several near-emotional breakdowns when she wasn’t up to her abilities. It was recorded in the early morning hours, as was her custom after she began raising her children. In a Barbara Walters Mother’s Day interview special, her second-oldest daughter, Tracee Ellis Ross, said Diana would put them to bed and record all night, in order to wake her children and send them to school the next morning.

1973 Touch Me in the Morning-Diana Ross-single Tamla Motown (France)Tamla Motown 2 C 006-945081973 Touch Me in the Morning-Diana Ross-single Tamla Motown (Italy) Tamla Motown TSM-NP 64161, Tamla Motown TSM NP 641611973 Touch Me in the Morning-Diana Ross-single Tamla Motown (Germany) C 006-94 508, EMI Electrola C 006-94 508

Diana Ross

single Motown 1239F, b/w “I Won’t Last a Day Without You,” issued on 3 May 1973 — At 3:51, the single is 25 seconds longer than the album track


MFSB — from the 1973 LP Love Is the Message, Philadelphia International Records KZ 32707; also issued as the B-side of the 1974 single TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia) in some countries, including Germany, Italy, and Portugal


Billy Green and the Love Machine — instrumental from the 1974 LP Satin Soul, EMI (Brazil) EMI Records EMCB 7007


John O’Banion — from the John O’Banion Show (TV), May 1974


“Le Cake-Walk au Nouveau Cirque” (1903) Louis Lumière: featuring Rudy and Fredy Walker

From the abstract of the article “Debussy’s Cakewalk: Race, Modernism and Music in Early Twentieth-Century Paris,” by James Deaville, volume 2, n° 1, janvier 2014 of La Revue musicale OICRM*:

Between November, 1902 and January, 1903, Paris experienced its first tastes of the danced cakewalk through the performances of two American touring ensembles: “Les Elks” and their troupe of black and white dancers appeared in the revue Les Joyeux Nègres at the Nouveau Cirque, while the “Florida Creole Girls [link added]—seven African-American women—performed the cakewalk at the Casino de Paris. Within a matter of weeks the dance became the latest sensation of the capital, as reported in Paris qui chante of January, 1903, although not without serious dissension. It was upon this field of social and cultural contestation that Debussy entered into the world of syncopated Americanism with Golliwogg’s Cake-walk from the Children’s Corner (1908).

Rudy and Fredy Walker, c. 1903 postcard # 142/5Rudy and Fredy Walker, c. 1903 postcard # 142/8Rudy and Fredy Walker, c. 1903 postcard # 142/7

(above) n°s 142/5, 142/8, and 142/7 from the set of ten c. 1903 French S.I.P. ** postcards, series n°142: “Le Cake-Walk, Dansé au Nouveau Cirque, Les Enfants Nègres,” featuring juvenile brother and sister dance team Rudy and Fredy Walker. The complete set of ten postcards can be found on my page Rudy and Fredy Walker, c.1903 postcard series “Le Cake-Walk. On that page you will also find excerpts from a biographical sketch of the Walkers by Dr. Rainer E. Lotz.

From the biography of the Walkers by Dr. Lotz:

Ruth “Rudy” and Frederick “Fredy” Walker (31 Aug. 1891–after 1928) and (9 Nov. 1893–May 1977) [respectively], known as The Walkers, song and dance entertainers and actors, were both born in Chicago. It appears that at some time in 1902 the two juvenile dancers, brother and sister, traveled to Europe in the company of their mother, Ella Walker, herself an artist, born in Chicago in 1960 or 1964, according to her own conflicting statements.

That they traveled with their own mother is mentioned in June 1903 and again in the winter 1904/1904 in Vienna, December 1906 in Stockholm, in November 1907 in Berlin, and again in February 1908 in Copenhagen. Billed as “Les Enfants Nègres,” their presentations of the cakewalk dance attracted a lot of attention at the Nouveau Cirque at Paris and paved the way for a long career in Europe. They became so popular that they inspired a composer, a sculptor, and a movie film director, as well as cartoonists.

In his brief biography of the Walkers, Dr. Lotz indicates that there was a short film produced featuring Rudy and Fredy Walker (as “Les enfants nègres”), and several other cakewalk artists, performing on the stage of the Nouveau Cirque:

It was presumably the French Pathé company that produced a short film featuring the cake walk performances by both black and white artists on the stage of the Nouveau Cirque. All the artists that can be seen in the film also had a series of postcards devoted to them. They are “Les enfants nègres,” with ten postcards in series 142 (by early 1904 motifs of the original French series 142 were marketed in the United States by Franz Huld, Publisher, New York, in their series III “Cake Walk—Negro Dance”), “Les Soeurs Pérès” from Spain (postcard series 143), “Les Nègres” from the United States (series 144), and “The Elks”, also from the United States (postcard series 145). Charles Gregory also had his own series of postcards, but he is not identified by name and the cards simply state “Nègre Joyeux.”

Le Cake-Wak au Nouveau Cirque, Lumière films 1350-1354  index, old film catalog

Clips from the “short film” described by Dr. Lotz above are combined in the following video. Except that the clips come from a series of five short films, not one, and they were made by Louis Lumière, not the French Pathé company as suggested by Dr. Lotz.

The index from a page of the book Catalogue des vues pour cinématographe, by la Société A. Lumière et ses Fils (Lyon, 1907) shown in the image above indicates that the title “Le Cake-Walk au Nouveau Cirque” used by the video provider refers not to a single film but to a series of five Louis Lumière short films, numbered sequentially 1350 through 1354. Most, if not all, of the performers in the films were evidently — see the quote from Deaville’s abstract above, and the postcards above and below — members of a troupe of dancers performing at the Nouveau Cirque in the revue Les Joyeux Nègres at about the same time the films were made. The description under the index confirms that, as Dr. Lotz says, the films were shot on the stage of the Nouveau Cirque: “Ces vues ont été prises au Nouveau Cirque à Paris.” Of the five dance teams, only the Elks are mentioned by name in the index, but four of the dance teams in the film series can be readily named by matching each with a corresponding postcard series, while the fifth dance pair (Lumière n°1352) is not so easily identified.***

Dating the Lumière “Le Cake-Walk” film series:

  • Though the video provider dates the “film” 1902, each of the five short films is dated 1903 in a comprehensive chronological catalog of restored and digitized Lumière films at the website of les Archives françaises du film.
  • A page on the series at Catalogue Lumière dates each film 15 March 1903 (though each is also dated “hiver 1902-1903). The description of the series provided by Catalogue Lumière is adapted from that in the 1907 Catalogue des vues pour cinématographe.

Internet Movie Database gives the length of one of the films (“Les Elkes champions du Cake-Walk,” dated 1903) as 1 minute. This is the only one of the five films listed in the Louis Lumière filmography at IMDb. Note, however, the description under the index which says, “La longeur de ces vues varie entre 21 et 25 m. (The length of these short films vary between 21 and 25 m.).” Various sites note that first film screenings of Auguste and Louis Lumière in 1895 consisted of films which were each 17 meters long. Each ran for approximately 50 seconds when hand cranked through the projector (though the duration of content varied between 38 and 48 seconds). If we use 50 seconds per 17 meters as the standard, then the five short films of “Le Cake-Walk au Nouveau Cirque” would each be between 61.8 and 73.5 seconds in duration. This agrees pretty well with the overall length of the five clips combined in the video, though since it is apparent in places that some frames might be missing.

The dance pairs in the film series “Le Cake-Walk au Nouveau Cirque” include:

  • n°1350…….“Les Nègres,” a team which consists of two men, the taller one in drag
  • n°1351……. “Les enfants nègres,” siblings Rudy and Fredy Walker — The title of the film “Négrillon,” means “black children”
  • n°1352……. Unidentified; the male dancer doesn’t look like the images of Charles Gregory found in the aforementioned “Nègre Joyeux” postcard series***
  • n°1353……. “Les Elks” (spelled “Les Elkes” in the 1907 Lumière catalog, but “Les Elks” in their postcard series)
  • n°1354…….“Les Soeurs Pérès” — sisters Jeanne and Nina Pérès, from Spain; they are eventually joined by the other eight dancers in a finale

In the video, Rudy and Fredy Walker are the second cakewalk team to appear. Their extraordinary performance begins at about 57 sec. During the routine by the fourth team, the Elks, while the three teams who have already performed are grouped at the rear of the stage (upstage), Rudy Walker is seen lifting her arms defensively and flinching a couple of times as the wildly flailing cane of the male member of the Elks appears to come dangerously close to her head. Evidently anticipating further threat, she quickly changes her position, and then immediately begins blowing two-handed finger whistles (wolf whistles) toward the Elks. Moments after she begins whistling, the dancer in the top hat on the far left and she briefly engage in what seems to be a serious shoving match.


Carl Kauba bronze sculpture depicting cakewalk dancers Rudy and Fredy Walker, from c. 1903 French postcard

Carl Kauba bronze from c.1903 French postcard Le Cake-Walk series (Rudy and Fredy Walker) #142-1 (f-12)Rudy and Fredy Walker, billed as Les Enfants Nègres at Le Nouveau Cirque in 1903, postcard # 142/1

(above, left) Carl Kauba bronze sculpture, depicting cakewalk dancer siblings Rudy and Fredy Walker, with the figures in a pose virtually identical to that of the same pair in postcard #142/1 (above, right) of the c. 1903 French S.I.P.* postcard series #142: Le Cake-Walk, Dansé au Nouveau Cirque, Les Enfants Nègres

See my page on the #142 series, containing images of the complete set of ten postcards:

And two other Carl Kauba bronze sculptures, depicting Rudy and Fredy Walker separately, featuring poses found in different postcards in the same series:

Rudy and Fredy Walker, two c.1903 postcards (#142/2 and #142/6) compared to Carl Kauba bronze sculptures


* S.I.P. — Societe Industrielle de Photographie, the publisher

Unsung lyrics, transcribed by doc

Below is a list of links to pages containing lyrics I’ve transcribed during the past four years, with assistance in couple of cases. The transcription of the 1928 version of “Hello Bluebird” by Blossom Seeley and Benny Fields reveals the intricacies of a unique and extraordinary duet version of a standard by this prominent vaudeville team, filmed live for a Vitaphone short. The remainder of the transcribed songs are less well-known, but each one drew and captured my interest for a variety of reasons, eventually compelling me to do my part in not allowing it be forgotten. For these others, in many cases I decided to transcribe the words because I was unable to find the lyric in online searches. In other cases (“Blue Butterfly,” “Love Thy Neighbor,” “You Broke Our Hearts,” “Our Winter Love,” “Everydays”*) I had found at least one transcription or copy of the lyric online before I took on the task of transcribing, but none with a degree of accuracy that I considered satisfactory.

“Unsung” in the title, means uncelebrated, unacclaimed, neglected, forgotten.

1926 — Hello Bluebird (Cliff Friend) — Blossom Seeley and Benny Fields Vitaphone short film version of 1928
1929 – Blue Butterfly (Johnny Tucker, Joe Schuster)
1929 — In the Land of Let’s Pretend (m. Harry Akst, w. Grant Clarke)
1929 – Does My Baby Love? (m. Milton Ager, w. Jack Yellen)
1930 — I’m in Training for You (m. Abel Baer, w. L. Wolfe Gilbert)
1934 — Love Thy Neighbor (m. Harry Revel, w. Mack Gordon)
1934 — Shoein’ the Mare (m. Harold Arlen, w. Ira Gershwin and E.Y. Harburg)
1941 — Jig in the Jungle (Jungle Jig) — songwriters unknown
1958 — You Broke Our Hearts (Johnnie Richardson)
c.1958-1961 — Early in the Morning (Quinton Claunch, Charles Feathers)
1961 — Come Home Soon (Intruders)
1962 — Our Winter Love (m. Johnny Cowell, w. Bob Tubert)
1962? — Who’s Got the Action (m. Burt Bacharach, w. Bob Hilliard)
1966 – The Reason Why (Dale Hawkins, Jerry Strickland, Don Griffin)
1967 — Everydays (Stephen Stills)
1973 — Do You Know Where You’re Going To (m. Michael Masser, w. Gerry Goffin) — original lyric recorded by Thelma Houston in 1973


* “Our Winter Love” is a special case in which two of the three vocal versions that I am aware of appear to use partly garbled and incoherent versions of the original lyric, a fact which I’ve addressed and attempted to remedy. Transcriptions or copies available elsewhere online compound the problem by providing, for a couple of central lines, incorrect renderings of the (wrong) words actually sung by the artists.

“Everydays” is another case in which problems with getting the lyric straight may have been a factor in its remaining in relative obscurity. As far as I know, there are only two released vocal recordings in existence, and one instrumental:

  • 15 March 1967 recording by Buffalo Springfield, featuring a barbed social-commentary lyric; issued on 1967 LP Buffalo Springfield Again
  • 1968 instrumental by Kenny Burrell
  • 1969 vocal version by the band YES, which is spoiled by a sanitizing adulteration of the original lyric


P.S. I Love You – 1934


P. S. I Love You (m. Gordon Jenkins, w. Johnny Mercer) – Rudy Vallée’s popular recording, released in December 1934, introduced the song. A recording by the Hilltoppers peaked at #4 in June 1953 (charting for 21 weeks), and the Vogues charted with their version in 1960. Others to record the song include Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, Mel Tormé, Rosemary Clooney, Kay Starr, the Starlets (#106), and Diana Krall. Film soundtrack recordings include Bette Midler: For the Boys (1991), and Nellie McKay: P.S. I Love You (2007).

Suggested song links:

Rudy Vallée and his Connecticut Yankees, with vocal by Rudy Vallée — recorded on 9 September 1934; issued on Victor Victor 24723 as the B-side of “Strange”


Eddie Stone and his Orchestra, vocal: Eddie Stone — recorded 9 October 1934, New York; issued on Bluebird 5678, b/w “If I Had a Million Dollars” (m. Matty Malneck, w. Johnny Mercer)


Gerald Bright 2Gerald Bright 1

Geraldo and his Sweet Music, vocal: Cyril Grantham — recorded on 26 October 1934, issued on Columbia CB-802, c/w “Just A-Wearyin’ For You” (Geraldo was a stage name for Gerald Bright)


Lew-Stone-11934 P.S. I Love You-Lew Stone and His Band-Decca (UK) F.5241

Lew Stone and his Band — recorded in 1934, issued on Decca (UK) F.5241, b/w “Two Cigarettes in the Dark” (m. Lew Pollack, w. Paul Francis Webster)


Four Vagabonds-( r.) Robert O'Neal (first tenor), John Jordan (lead tenor), Ray Grant (bass & guitarist), Norval Taborn (baritone)

The Four Vagabonds , with lead vocal by John Jordan — recorded on 26 March 1947; issued on Apollo 1057, c/w “The Freckle Song”

The Four Vagabonds profiles:


Sonny Stitt Quartet — recorded in NYC on 1 February 1951; issued on the 78 rpm 10″ shellac single Prestige 757, c/w “Liza,” and on various albums

Sonny Stitt – Baritone Sax
Charlie Bateman – Piano
Gene Wright – Bass
Teddy Stewart – Drums


Billie Holiday-3 September 1954 (1)-gx-rt1Billie Holiday-3 September 1954 (2)-t50d40

Billie Holliday and her Orchestra — recorded on 3 September 1954 at Capitol Studios in Los Angeles (Verve) — Harry ‘Sweets’ Edison (tp) Willie Smith (as) Bobby Tucker (p) Barney Kessel (g) Red Callender (b) Chico Hamilton (d) Billie Holiday (v)


Let’s Face the Music and Dance

Let’s Face the Music and Dance (Irving Berlin) was originally registered for copyright as an unpublished song on 14 June 1935.* It was introduced in the musical film Follow the Fleet (1936) in a production number in which the song is sung by Fred Astaire (Bake Baker) to Ginger Rogers (Sherry Martin), followed by a dance sequence by the pair.

selected links:

Astaire and Rogers-Follow the Fleet-Let's Face the Music-2a

Astaire and Rogers-Follow the Fleet-Let's Face the Music-1a

Astaire and Rogers-Follow the Fleet-Let's Face the Music-4a

Let’s Face The Music And Dance

Astaire and Rogers-Follow the Fleet-Let's Face the Music-3aThere may be trouble ahead
But while there’s moonlight and music and love and romance
Let’s face the music and dance

Before the fiddlers have fled
Before they ask us to pay the bill
And while we still have the chance
Let’s face the music and dance

We’ll be without the moon
Humming a diff’rent tune
And then

There may be teardrops to shed
So while there’s moonlight and music and love and romance
Let’s face the music and dance, dance
Let’s face the music and dance

From Wikipedia’s page on Follow the Fleet:

Let’s Face the Music and Dance“: Astaire sings this to Rogers after which the dance begins slowly and culminates in a static exit pose. The dance is filmed in one continuous shot lasting two minutes and fifty seconds. During the first take, Ginger’s dress, which was heavily weighted so as to achieve a controlled swirling action, hit Astaire in the face[7] midway through the routine, though the effect is barely discernible. He nonetheless selected[8] this take out of twenty overall for the final picture.

The set – designed by Carroll Clark under the direction of Van Nest Polglase – is frequently cited as a leading example of Art Deco-influenced art direction known as Hollywood Moderne. Film clips of this routine were featured in the 1981 film Pennies from Heaven – detested by Astaire,[9] – where it was also reinterpreted by Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters with revised choreography by Danny Daniels.

full number (almost)


from the beginning of the vocal sequence — mirror image (to be replaced)


Astaire and Rogers-Follow the Fleet-Let's Face the Music-8'Follow the Fleet' Movie Stills

Astaire and Rogers-Follow the Fleet-Let's Face the Music-7-t25-sh15

Al Bowlly-NBC-signed 1Ray Noble, inscribed-1-t40-cr1-d20-hx8

Ray Noble and his Orchestra, vocal by Al Bowlly — recorded on 23 January 1936 (matrix 98672-1); issued as Victor 25241A, b/w “Let Yourself Go” (also issued on HMV BD-5047, and HMV EA-1670)


Johnny Green and Fred Astaire-Packard Hour, 1936 (1)

Fred Astaire with Johnny Green and his Orchestra — recorded on 30 January 1936 (matrix LA 1088); issued on Brunswick 7608, Columbia (US) 3116D, and on Columbia (UK) DB 1633, c/w “Let Yourself Go” in each case



Always (Irving Berlin) – selected early recordings, 1926-1927

newlyweds Irving Berlin and Ellin (Mackay) Berlin arrive in Southampton, UK on 15 January 1926

(above) Newlyweds Irving and Ellin Berlin arrive in Southampton, UK on 15 January 1926. The two were married in a civil ceremony at City Hall, New York, on 4 January 1926, followed by a honeymoon at the Ritz-Carlton in Atlantic City.

On the romance of Irving Berlin and Ellin Mackay:

From Wikipedia (photos added):

Irving Berlin and Ellin (Mackay) Berlin, dated 1-5-26, day after marriage (2a)[I]n the 1920s, [Berlin] fell in love with a young heiress, Ellin Mackay, the daughter of Clarence Mackay, the socially prominent head of the Postal Telegraph Cable Company. Because Berlin was Jewish and she was Catholic, their life was followed in every possible detail by the press, which found the romance of an immigrant from the Lower East Side and a young heiress a good story.[3]

They met in 1925, and her father opposed the match from the start. He went so far as to send her off to Europe to find other suitors and forget Mr. Berlin. However, Berlin wooed her over the airwaves with his songs “Remember” and “Always.” His biographer, Philip Furia, writes that “even before Ellin returned from Europe, newspapers rumored they were engaged, and Broadway shows featured skits of the lovelorn songwriter….” During the week after her return, both she and Berlin were “besieged by reporters, sometimes fifty at a time.” Variety reported that her father had vowed their marriage “would only happen ‘over my dead body.’”[42] As a result they decided to elope and were married in a simple civil ceremony at the Municipal Building away from media attention.

Irving Berlin and Ellin (Mackay) Berlin run toward Atlantic City train station to return to NYC post-honeymoonA front-page story in the New York Times about the wedding stated, “Although Broadway for months had expected the one-time newsboy and Bowery singer of songs to wed the prominent young society girl…the marriage took Clarence H. Mackay, father of the bride, completely by surprise. He was reported to have been stunned when he learned from a third person of the Municipal Building ceremony.” However, the bride’s mother, who was divorced from Mr. Mackay, was apparently not of the same mind according to the story: “in fact, some quarters pictured her as desirous of seeing her daughter follow the dictates of her own heart. It was reported that the couple motored to the home of Mrs. Blake [her mother], early in the evening and obtained her blessing.”[44]


Always (Irving Berlin)

Excerpts from The Complete Lyrics of Irving Berlin, eds. Robert Kimball and Linda Emmet (2001), p.228:

Published. Copyrighted September 16, 1925. Previously registered for copyright as an unpublished song July 2, 1925. Given as a wedding present by Berlin to his bride Ellin Mackay.

According to a notation by Berlin on the earliest known piano-vocal manuscript of the song — found among his papers“Always” was written in Atlantic City in July 1925.

Irving Berlin and Ellin (Mackay) Berlin, 1930, by Cecil Beaton for Vanity Fair-1-d15Complete Lyrics (p. 228) notes that the original “dummy” lyric written by Berlin was entirely rewritten except for the final four lines of the chorus:

Not for just an hour
Not for just a day
Not for just a year
But always

Regarding these lines, Berlin told an unnamed newspaper (undated quote),

I really thought at the time that they weren’t good enough. Now I believe that without those lines the song would never have been half as popular as it was. Now I think they’re just right — but I didn’t know at the time. (p. 228)

Complete Lyrics refutes the frequent claim that “Always” was written for the 1925 Broadway musical The Cocoanuts, quoting a letter written by Berlin to Groucho Marx in which he clearly states that the song was not written for The Cocoanuts, though it was written during the period he was working on the score for that show (p. 228).

Irving Kaufman (2)-d20-c1

Irving Kaufman — recorded on 30 January 1926; issued on Harmony 110-H, c/w “Always” (instrumental), recorded by Ernie Golden and his Hotel McAlpin Orchestra


Ernie Golden and his Hotel McAlpin Orchestra — instrumental version recorded on 2 February 1926; issued on Harmony 110-H, c/w “Always,” by Irving Kaufman


Paul Ash and His Orchestra (1a)

Paul Ash and His Orchestra, vocal refrain: Milton Watson — recorded in Chicago on 9 February 1926; issued on Columbia 571-D, c/w “But I Do – You Know I Do,” recorded by Paul Ash and His Orchestra, with vocal by Harry Maxfield


Bob Haring and the Regent Club Orchestra, vocal: Frank Munn– recorded on 9 February 1926; issued on Brunswick 3090, c/w “Sympathy Waltz” (m. Irving Bibo, w. Tom Ford)


Previous Older Entries

wordpress stats plugin

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 239 other followers