Let’s Face the Music and Dance (Irving Berlin) was originally registered for copyright as an unpublished song on 14 June 1935.* It was introduced in the musical film Follow the Fleet (1936) in a production number in which the song is sung by Fred Astaire (Bake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.
- International Lyrics Playground
- Follow the Fleet (Wikipedia)
- Follow the Fleet (IMDb)
- Vintage Film Festival review
- Let’s Face the Music and Dance (Wikipedia)
- Second Hand Songs
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
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 midway through the routine, though the effect is barely discernible. He nonetheless selected 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, – 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)
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)
- Al Bowlly discography at Memory Lane
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
Ted Fio Rito & his Orchestra, vocal by Stanley Hickman — recorded in NYC on 30 January 1936; issued as Decca 697A, b/w “It’s Been So Long”
Bob Crosby and his Orchestra, with unknown vocalist — recorded between 26 February and 19 March 1936 by the Muzak Transcription Service
Harry Roy and his Orchestra, vocal: Harry Roy? — recorded on 23 March 1936; issued on Parlophone F-433, c/w “We Saw the Sea”
Frank Milne, Duo-Art Roll #01048, 1936 — The provider says, “Although the pianists given credit are the Sherry Brothers, in actuality it is Frank Milne playing [both parts of a duet arrangement].”
Mel Tormé and the Marty Paich Dek-Tette — from the 1956 LP Mel Tormé Sings Fred Astaire, Bethlehem Records BCP-6013; recorded in Los Angeles in November 1956, arranged and conducted by Marty Paich
Anita O’Day — recorded in Los Angeles on 18 December 1956 — Harry Edison (trumpet) Larry Bunker (vibraphone) Paul Smith (piano) Barney Kessel (guitar) Joe Mondragon (bass) Alvin Stoller (drums) Anita O’Day (vocal) — issued on Pick Yourself Up With Anita O’Day, Verve MGV 2043
Of the album, Wikipedia says,
For this Columbia album Tony Bennett had started working with English jazz pianist Ralph Sharon and together they devised this percussion influenced treatment and invited percussionists Chico Hamilton, Jo Jones, Billy Exiner, Art Blakey, Candido & Sabu to take part; Ralph Sharon was arranger & conductor.
Frank Sinatra — recorded on 20 December 1960 at United Recorders, Hollywood — leader: Frank Sinatra, arranger/conductor: Johnny Mandel – released on the 1961 album Ring-a-Ding-Ding!
Frank Sinatra — recorded on either 18 July or 19 September 1979 (Reprise) — arranger: Billy May
Susannah McCorkle — from the 1997 LP Let’s Face the Music: The Songs of Irving Berlin, released on 27 May 1997 — album recorded at Sound on Sound Studios, NYC, NY, 28-30 October 1996
* From The Complete Lyrics of Irving Berlin, edited by Robert Kimball and Linda Emmet (2001), p. 307:
Copyrighted January 10, 1936. Previously registered for copyright as an unpublished song June 14, 1935.