I’m a Fool to Want You

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latest edit: 21 July 2014

I’m a Fool to Want You - words and music: Joel S. Herron, Frank Sinatra, and Jack Wolf

Because the song was written during Sinatra’s stormy affair with Ava Gardner as his first marriage as well as his recording and film careers were in tailspin, the song is closely associated with Gardner and the Sinatra-Gardner relationship. They were married on 7 November 1951, ten days after his divorce from Nancy Barbato became final.

Frank Sinatra with the Ray Charles Singers — recorded on 27 March 1951, arranged by Axel Stordahl — This is the first Sinatra recording of the song

(the recording ends at about 2:55 in the video, followed by an instrumental piece titled “Chiron,” according to the provider)

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 Billy Holiday, Lady in Satin Session-1958-02-19 (5)-d15

Billie Holiday – Session #85, New York, 19 February 1958 with Ray Ellis and his Orchestra (Columbia) — Mel Davis Billie Butterfield Bernie Glow (tp) Urbie Green (tb) Gene Quill (as) Hank Jones (p) Barry Galbraith (g) Milt Hinton (b) Osie Johnson (d) Billie Holiday (v) + strings and choir, released on the album Lady in Satin, June 1958.

There are at least four released versions: two issued in June 1958 on separate versions of Lady in Satin (mono and stereo), and two released on the 1997 CD re-issue of the album. Those four:

  • 1.) take #3 mono version, from Lady in Satin, Columbia ‎CL 1157  — released in June 1958
  • 2.) take #3 stereo version, from Lady in Satin, Columbia CS 8048 — released in June 1958
  • 3.) take #3, stereo version made from the original 1958 mono track — released on the 1997 CD re-issue of Lady in Satin
  • 4.) take #2 — released on the 1997 CD re-issue of Lady in Satin

(below) take #3, from Lady in Satin, Columbia ‎CL 1157 (mono)

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(below) Mike Lubbers’ Billie Holiday Discography (billieholiday.be) lists seven takes of the song recorded on 20 February 1958, four of which were complete (the master take and three alternates), but the longest take is 3:28. The track in the following video is at least 3:38 in length, longer than any of the complete takes, according to the billieholiday.be discography. Maybe it was lengthened by reducing the speed.

There is a take identified as take 2 available in video libraries, but it’s different than either this or the one above. The video provider uses the cover of the album Last Recordings (1959, CD 1990), which doesn’t include a recording of this song.

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(below) Chanel No 5 commercial directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, featuring Audrey Tautou. Long version (2’20”), the music beginning at about 1:20. It uses a portion of one the versions of Holiday’s take #3.

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Frank Sinatra – recorded 1 May 1957, arranged and conducted by Gordon Jenkins, released in 1957 on the album Where Are You? — Sinatra’s first recording for Capitol, and his first stereo recording.

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Lee Morgan — recorded 8 February 1960, Bell Sound Studio B, NYC — Lee Morgan(tp) Clifford Jordan (ts) Wynton Kelly (p) Paul Chambers (b) Art Blakey (d) – released on the album Here’s Lee Morgan, 1960.

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(above, left) Bennett’s 1959 studio album Hometown, My Hometown, (right) in studio c.1960

Tony Bennett in recording studio, January 1960 — photo by Don Hunstein

Tony Bennett — from the album To My Wonderful One, released in 1960 – arranged and conducted by Frank De Vol

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Maysa — from Maysa Sings Songs Before Dawn, released in 1961

Wikipedia:

Maysa Figueira Monjardim (June 6, 1936, São Paulo, Brazil – January 22, 1977, Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) [1], better known as Maysa Matarazzo or simply Maysa, daughter of Alcibíades Guaraná Monjardim and wife Inah Figueira and paternal granddaughter of Manuel Silvino Monjardim and wife Ursulina Guaraná, was a singer, composer, and actress from Brazil. She is also associated with Bossa nova music but is widely known as a torch song (fossa) interpreter. [read more]

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Donald Byrd – recorded on 21 September 1961 at Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ
Donald Byrd (tp) Pepper Adams (bars) Herbie Hancock (p) Butch Warren (b) Billy Higgins (d)
– released on the album Royal Flush (Blue Note BLP 4101)

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Elvin Jones — recorded live at The Lighthouse Cafe, Hermosa Beach, CA, 2nd set, 9 September 1972 – Steve Grossman (ts, ss) Dave Liebman (ts, ss, fl) Gene Perla (b) Elvin Jones (ds)

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Dexter Gordon — recorded at Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 27 May 1965
Freddie Hubbard (tp) Dexter Gordon (ts) Barry Harris (p) Billy Higgins (d), no bass, according to Gordon catalog at jazzdisco.org. Release on Clubhouse, 1965

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Shirley Bassey — from 12 of Those Songs, 1968

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Linda Ronstadt — from Lush Life, released in 1984, the second in a trilogy of albums made by Ronstadt in collaboration with bandleader/arranger Nelson Riddle

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Chet Baker — live in Paris, November 1987 - from the documentary short film Chet’s Romance (1988) by Bertrand Fèvre

Chet Baker: trumpet & voice
Alain Jean-Marie: piano
Ricardo Del Fra: bass
George Brown: drums

I’m presently having trouble embedding videos containing this segment of the film. Here are some links to videos:

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Chet Baker — live at “Hitomi Kinen Kodo”, Tokyo, Japan, 14 June 1987 — Chet Baker (tp) Harold Danko (pf) Hein Van De Geijn (b) John Engels (ds)

part 1 of 2

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part 2 of 2

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Frank-Sinatra-and-Ava-Gardner-3

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