Harold Arlen Sings Arlen: selected recordings, 1932-1954


Harold Arlen portrait, at pianoHarold Arlen sings

Music by Harold Arlen for all songs except “Smoke Rings”


Stepping Into Love (m. Harold Arlen, w. Ted Koehler)

Leo Reisman and his Orchestra, vocal: Harold Arlen — This is an independent song, not associated with any show, and (according to Fadograph’s Weblog) it became the first song recorded by Reisman featuring Arlen as the vocalist. It was recorded on 19 January 1932 and issued on Victor 22913, with flip-side “Tango Americana”, recorded by Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra.

Audio file, from archive.org:



Arlen-Koehler-33-stormyweatherStormy Weather(m. Harold Arlen, w. Ted Koehler)

Leo Reisman and his Orchestra, vocal: Harold Arlen — the recording date of the second Reisman recording to feature Harold Arlen as vocalist is unknown; issued as the B-side of Victor single 24716, “Night and Day” (vocal by Fred Astaire, recorded on 22 November 1932)



Let’s Fall in Love (m. Harold Arlen, w. Ted Keohler) — written for the 1933 film Let’s Fall in Love

Harold Arlen with orchestra conducted by Ray Sinatra — recorded 1 November 1933; issued on Victor 24467, c/w “This Is Only the Beginning” (m. Harold Arlen, w. Ted Koehler), another song from the film


Smoke Rings (m. H. Eugene Gifford, w. Ned Washington)

The Casa Loma Orchestra recorded Gifford’s instrumental composition in 1932, and it soon became their theme song. A 25 January 1933 recording by the Mills Brothers may have been the earliest to incorporate Washington’s lyric, but the copyright date for the vocal version is almost two months later, 31 March 1933.

Harold Arlen-photo-17-1-d30leo-reisman-at-villa-at-cap-martin-1937-1

Leo Reisman and his Orchestra, vocal: Harold Arlen — recorded on 11 July 1933 and issued as Victor (US) 24358, b/w “Heart of Stone” (vocal: Fred Astaire) — According to the video DJ, gramophoneshane, the disc being spun is HMV no.EA1250 (Australian).

audio files from archive.org:

VBR MP3 (1.9 MB)


Ogg Vorbis (933.8 KB)




(above) Leo Reisman and his Orchestra

Happy As the Day Is Long (m. Harold Arlen, w. Ted Koehler)

The Virtual Victrola says,

Harold Arlen and Ted KoehlerArlen and Koehler penned this song for the 22nd Cotton Club Parade in 1933. Other Arlen-Koehler tunes from this show include “Get Yourself A New Broom (And Sweep The Blues Away),” “Raisin’ The Rent,” and the immortal “Stormy Weather.” Originally Cab Calloway’s orchestra was scheduled to accompany the show, but other obligations (due no doubt to Cab’s meteoric rise to fame) kept him away from the Cotton Club. So Duke Ellington accepted the club owners’ offer to rejoin the stage show — the spot that first boosted Ellington to stardom four years earlier.

Leo Reisman and his Orchestra, vocals: Harold Arlen (singer), Reisman and Arlen (spoken) — recorded on 2 May 1933; issued as the B-side of Victor 24315, “The Gold Diggers’ Song” (vocal: Fred Astaire)

MP3 audio file from The Virtual Victrola:


Harold Arlen with Anya Taranda and others-d10hx15Harold Arlen and Anya Taranda


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 > Berlin pages (11) — correction: The page Irving Berlin: selected songs of 1909 and 1910 is now included in the Berlin drop down index.




Billie Holiday, capebillie-holiday-pearls-1a


When Your Lover Has Gone


When Your Lover Has Gone (Einar Aaron Swan)

From the Wikipedia profile of the songwriter:

Einar Swan-1926-with-members-of-Vincent-Lopez-Sax-Section-c1-d40Einar Aaron Swan (born Einar (Eino) William Swan) (March 20, 1903 – August 8, 1940) was an American musician, arranger and composer. Born of Finnish parents who had emigrated to the United States at the turn of the century, he was the second of nine children.

Born in Massachusetts, his father was a keen amateur musician and before Einar Swan had entered his teens, he played violin, clarinet, saxophone and piano. At the age of 16 he was already playing in his own dance band, Swanie’s Serenaders, and travelling around Massachusetts for three years. Swan’s main instrument had been the violin but during this period he switched to alto saxophone.

Around 1924, the bandleader Sam Lanin invited Swan to join his orchestra at New York’s famed Roseland Ballroom, and Swan played with leading musicians such as cornettist Red Nichols, and members of The Charleston Chasers Vic Berton (drums) and Joe Tarto (tuba), with whom he soon started composing and arranging material for the orchestra. He also started arranging for the other resident band at the Roseland Ballroom, Fletcher Henderson’s orchestra.

After five months with Lanin, Swan joined Vincent Lopez’s band in 1925 and went on tour to England. The band at that time also featured Mike Mosiello, Xavier Cugat and his old bandmate Joe Tarto.1931-When-Your-Lover-Has-Gone-(Swan)-1 Shortly thereafter, the Bar Harbor Society Orchestra released “Trail of Dreams” credited to Swan and Klage.

Around 1930 Swan stopped working as a musician and concentrated on arrangements, starting to work for radio programmes and bandleaders such as Eddie Cantor collaborator Dave Rubinoff and Raymond Paige.

In 1931 he wrote “When Your Lover Has Gone” which was featured in the James Cagney film Blonde Crazy (1931). The song became a hit and has since been covered by many other performers such as Lee Wiley, Louis Armstrong, Ethel Waters, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan and Frank Sinatra.


Gene Austin – 78 rpm single Victor 22635, c/w Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone, recorded 5 February 1931


The Charleston Chasers  —  recorded in New York on  9 February 1931; issued as Columbia 2404-D, b/w Walkin’ My Baby Back Home (m. Fred Ahlert, w. Roy Turk)


louis armstrong 02

Louis Armstrong and his Orchestra — recorded in Chicago on 29 April 1931 (source: The Louis Armstrong Discography at michaelminn.net); released as Okeh 41498, c/w Blue Again (m. Jimmy McHugh, w. Dorothy Fields)

Armstrong, Louis (Trumpet, Vocal)
Randolph, Zilner (Trumpet)
Jackson, Preston (Trombone)
Boone, Lester (Clarinet, Alto Saxophone)
James, George (Reeds)
Washington, Albert (Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone)
Alexander, Charlie (Piano)
McKendrick, Mike (Banjo, Guitar)
Lindsay, John (Bass)
Hall, Tubby (Drums)




Under a Blanket of Blue



Under a Blanket of Blue (m. Jerry Livingston*, w. Al J. Neiburg and Marty Symes) — 1933 standard


(above) The Casa Loma Orchestra, Atlantic City, 1933

Glen Gray and the Casa Loma Orchestra, vocal: Kenny Sargent — 1933



Carroll Gibbons and the Savoy Hotel Orpheans, vocal: Harry Bentley –  recorded in London, 9 October 1933 — Columbia Records (British) CB 666

Carroll Gibbons: (p, dir) Bill Shakespeare, Billy Higgs: (t) Arthur Fenoulhet: (t, tb) Paul Fenoulhet: (tb, arranger) Sam Acres: (tb) George Melanchrinc: (cl, as, vn) Laurie Payne: (cl, as, bar) George Smith: (ts) Ben Frankel: (vn) Harry Sherman: (g) Jack Evetts: (string bass) Rudy Starita: (d) Harry Bentley: (v)


layton& johnstone-1

Layton & Johnstone — 1933



Roy Fox and his Band, vocal: Sid Buckman1933


Joe Loss & the Harlem Band-at the Kit-Cat Restaurant in London-1932-33


Joe Loss and his Band, vocal: Jimmy Mesene – 1933

The label in the video below credits the recording to “Joe Loss and his Band at the Kit-Cat Restaurant, London.” I presume that is a description of the band, not necessarily an indication of where it was recorded. In the group photo above, taken (I gather) at the Kit-Cat Restaurant, the band being led by Joe Loss is referred to at my source as the Harlem Band. The same source says that Joe Loss & the Harlem Band was “the back up band for R0y Fox and his Kit Kat Orchestra.”



Introducing The Revelers and The Comedian Harmonists


From the Wikipedia profile:

Revelers-2The Revelers were an American quintet (four close harmony singers and a pianist) popular in the late 1920s and early 1930s. The Revelers’ recordings of “Dinah”, “Old Man River”, “Valencia”, “Baby Face”, “Blue Room”, “The Birth of the Blues”, “When Yuba Plays the Rumba on the Tuba”, and many more, became popular in the United States and then Europe in the late 1920s. In August 1929, they appeared in Holland with Richard Tauber at the Kursaal, Scheveningen and the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam.

All of the members had recorded individually or in various combinations, and formed a group in 1925. The original Revelers were tenors Franklyn Baur and Lewis James, baritone Elliot Shaw, bass Wilfred Glenn, and pianist Ed Smalle. Smalle was replaced by Frank Black in 1926. The group (with Black at the piano) appeared in a short movie musical, The Revelers (1927), filmed in the sound-on-disc Vitaphone process. This one-reel short film, recently restored by “The Vitaphone Project,” shows the group performing “Mine”, “Dinah”, and “No Foolin'”. A second short, filmed the same day with another three songs, awaits restoration. [read more]


The above bio is negligent in failing to mention that the same group of vocalists had previously recorded, in a more traditional quartet style than that of The Revelers, as The Shannon Quartet, a name adopted c. 1922 by the group that had evolved from The Shannon Four, which had begun recording for Victor in 1917. By 1918, only Elliot Shaw (baritone) and Wilfred Glenn (bass) remained of the originally four members. They began, in 1925, to record songs in a more modern, jazzy style as The Revelers, but the quartet also continued to record sides for Victor as The Shannon Quartet until 1928.

Around the time they began recording as The Revelers in 1925, the quartet, consisting of James, Baur (tenors), Shaw (baritone), and Glenn (bass), were expanded to a quintet by the addition of vocalist, pianist, and arranger Ed Smalle (who sometimes recorded with the Shannon Quartet as well) as an official member. Source #4, below, identifies Smalle as a baritone, though he recorded numerous sides for Victor as a tenor, often as a vocal duet partner with Billy Murray (source #5). In claiming that Smalle joined the group in 1924, source #4 complicates the matter of connecting his arrival to the birth of Revelers.

According to the Encyclopedia of Recorded Sound (See source #3), in their Shannon mode, the quartet recorded under at least seven other names for various labels. The Revelers also moonlighted under pseudonyms, becoming The Merrymakers when recording for the Brunswick label, and transforming into The Singing Sophomores for their Columbia sides, according to source #4, and the Wikipedia profile.



Selected recordings by The Revelers:

Bam Bam Bammy Shore (m. Ray Henderson, w. Mort Dixon) — recorded 5 November 1925

The Revelers:
Lewis James — tenor
Franklyn Baur — tenor
Elliot Shaw — baritone
Wildfred Glenn — bass
Ed Smalle — piano



a date which will live in infamy

Pearl Harbor attack, 7 December 1941 (1a)

Pearl Harbor Attack-7 Dec 1941-2

Pearl Harbor attack, 7 December 1941 (4)

From the National Archives: Teachers’ Resources (archives.gov/education/lessons/day-of-infamy):

[The full transcribed speech as delivered is available in documents of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, here: http://docs.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/tmirhdee.html.]

Early in the afternoon of December 7, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his chief foreign policy aide, Harry Hopkins, were interrupted by a telephone call from Secretary of War Henry Stimson and told that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor. At about 5:00 p.m., following meetings with his military advisers, the President calmly and decisively dictated to his secretary, Grace Tully, a request to Congress for a declaration of war. He had composed the speech in his head after deciding on a brief, uncomplicated appeal to the people of the United States rather than a thorough recitation of Japanese perfidies, as Secretary of State Cordell Hull had urged.

President Roosevelt then revised the typed draft—marking it up, updating military information, and selecting alternative wordings that strengthened the tone of the speech. He made the most significant change in the critical first line, which originally read, “a date which will live in world history.” Grace Tully then prepared the final reading copy, which Roosevelt subsequently altered in three more places.

On December 8, at 12:30 p.m., Roosevelt addressed a joint session of Congress and the Nation via radio. The Senate responded with a unanimous vote in support of war; only Montana pacifist Jeanette Rankin dissented in the House. At 4:00 p.m. that same afternoon, President Roosevelt signed the declaration of war.


Pearl Harbor attack, 7 December 1941 (2a)__________________

Te quiero dijiste / Magic is the Moonlight


Te quiero dijiste (María Grever) — aka Muñequita linda (cute little doll)

IMDb dates the composition 1929. In 1944, the song was used with the original Spanish lyric in the Esther Williams film Bathing Beauty, performed by Carlos Ramírez with The Xavier Cugat Orchestra. With an English lyric written by Charles Pasquale, the song acquired the second title, Magic is the Moonlight. According to IMDb, in addition to the Cugat and Ramírez performance, the song was played during the opening credits, whistled by Red Skelton, and appeared often in the score. It’s not clear to me whether the English lyric was used in the film at all, though the sheet music cover below suggests that the English lyric was published or republished around the time the film was released.


Selected Te quiero dijiste / Magic is the Moonlight recordings and live performances:

Alfonso Ortiz Tirado — 1930


Rosita Serrano — The “Chilean Nightingale” — 1938

Excepts from the Wikipedia profile,

Rosita Serrano…was a Chilean singer who had her biggest success in Nazi Germany between the 1930s and the early 1940s. Because of her bell-like voice and pitch-perfect whistling she received the nickname Chilenische Nachtigall (Chilean Nightingale).[1]

Her voice style was mainly operatic coloratura soprano with a deep, fast vibrato. She added frequent embellishments such as soaring arpeggiation and melisma. Some songs were recorded with a few words whispered or spoken, and she occasionally emphasized words with a gritty, growling jazz style reminiscent of African-American blues singer Ethel Waters. She was a pitch-perfect whistler in the manner of Bing Crosby.[1] The songs she recorded in German and Spanish varied from folk to pop, including flamenco, rumba, tango and mambo.[1]  [read more]


Carlos Ramírez with The Xavier Cugat Orchestra — in the film Bathing Beauty (1944)


Jane Powell —  “Magic is the Moonlight” (m. María Grever, w. Charles Pasquale) — from the musical comedy film Nancy Goes to Rio (1950)


Los Panchos with Raúl Shaw Moreno — c. 1951

Adapted from the Wikipedia article on Los Panchos (aka Trío Los Panchos):

Los Panchos first met in 1944 in New York City. The three original members were Alfredo Gil and Chucho Navarro, both from Mexico, and Hernándo Avilés from Puerto Rico. All three played guitar and contributed vocally. Los Panchos reached fame with their romantic songs, especially in Latin America where they are still regarded as one of the top trios of all time. They also appeared in around fifty movies mostly during the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema.

Julito Rodríguez  joined the group in 1952. [read more]

From the Wikipedia (Spanish) profile of Raúl Shaw Moreno, poorly translated:

In 1951, in Santiago de Chile, Hernando Aviles, first voice of Trio Los Panchos left the band in full continental tour due to his frequent disputes with Alfredo Gil.In these circumstances, Alfredo Gil and Chucho Navarro travel to Bolivia, with the urgency of finding a replacement for Avilés, in order to continue the tour. It is in these circumstances that, in the month of November 1952, Raúl Shaw Moreno auditioned for the two remaining members of Los Panchos , Chucho Navarro and Alfredo Gil . In a room of Sucre Palace Hotel, Magaly singing for them, being accepted to [immediately] replace Hernando Aviles . His debut as lead vocalist of Los Panchos comes at a recital A broadcast, as used in those years, in the Auditorium of Radio Minería in Santiago de Chile.




Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise


Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise (m. Sigmund Romberg, w. Oscar Hammerstein II) was written for and introduced in the 1928 operetta The New Moon.

Wikipedia says,

One of the best-known numbers from the show, it is a song of bitterness and yearning for a lost love, sung in the show by Philippe (tenor), the best friend of the hero, Robert Mission (baritone).

The original song was composed as a tango, and features a dance as accompaniment to the choral reprise, but many versions of the song have changed the tempo completely….What some may consider the most ludicrous version is the one featured in the 1940 film version of the operetta, in which it is actually sung as a cheerful ditty by Nelson Eddy while he shines his shoes, despite the melancholy nature of the song’s lyric.


Artie Shaw 1938

Jazzstandards.com says, “Ten years after this tune was written, Shaw had Jerry Gray arrange the tune. (Within a few years Gray would be arranger for Glenn Miller). Shaw’s version was one of his best selling records.”


Milt Jackson Quartet — recorded in NYC, April 1952 — Milt Jackson (vib) John Lewis (p) Percy Heath (b) Kenny Clarke (d) — released on The Quartette (Savoy MG 12046)

Presently unavailable


Modern Jazz Quartet — recorded at Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, 2 July 1955 — Milt Jackson (vib) John Lewis (p) Percy Heath (b) Connie Kay (d); released on the 1955 album Concorde (Prestige PRLP 7005)


Bing Crosby with Buddy Cole and his Trio — recorded 14 March 1957; released on the LP New Tricks



Everydays — 1967

Everydays (Stephen Stills)

Buffalo Springfield – Recorded 15 March 1967, Gold Star Studios, Los Angeles, California — Stephen Stills: lead vocal, Jim Fielder: bass (replacing absent Bruce Palmer). Released 30 October 1967 on the LP Buffalo Springfield Again. In December 1967, it was also issued as the B-side of the single “Expecting to Fly” (Neil Young), Atco 45-4565.

Buffalo Springfield band member credits for the album:


Everydays (Stephen Stills) lyric

Look at the sad goodbyes
Everydays a-killin’ time
Sun comin’ up outside
No men are born this tide
Saturday’s child stays home
Nothing to say, so wrong

Well, well, another day
Well, well, well, another day

Grocery store, ten clerks *
Just making change, plastic jerks
Up in a tree, a jaybird
Yellin’ at me, no words
Everyone looks, can’t see
Can be ignored easily

Well, well, another day
Well, well, well, another day

Softenin’ the way with things
Of ecstasy
The sound of trees
Most any breeze
What a baby sees

Beautiful face, alright
Many a place, uptight
Old woman there with red shoes
A million balloons, all hues
Drivin’ the hills, forget fears
Gettin’ it on in second gear

Well, well, another day
Well, well, another day

Softenin’ the way with things
Of ecstasy
The sound of trees
Most any breeze
What a baby sees

Lyric transcribed by doc on 21 March 2014, with help from a slightly different transcription by David Redd at davidredd.com/buffalo/.



Kenny Burrell with Don Sebesky Orchestra — recorded on 12 February 1968 in NYC, and released as the first track on the 1968 album Blues – The Common Ground, Verve Records ‎V6-8746

1968 Blues,The Common Ground-Kenny Burrell, Verve Records V6-8746 (1)session personnel (jazzdisco.org):
Kenny Burrell – guitar
Herbie Hancock – piano
Ron Carter – bass
Donald McDonald – drums
Johnny Pacheco – percussion
Bernie Glow, Snookie Young, Jimmy Owens – trumpet
Bill Watrous, Jimmy Cleveland, Paul Faulise, Wayne Andre – trombone
Don Butterfield – tuba
Jerome Richardson – reeds
Don Sebesky – arranger, conductor



The YES version of “Everydays” was released as the third track on side one of their 1970 LP Time and a Word, released in the UK on 24 July 1970 (November 1970 in the US). However, 45cat.com indicates that the recording had previously been paired with “Looking Around” as the B-side of the unreleased single Atlantic (UK) 584298, which it dates October 1969. The date presumably refers to a scheduled release date.

YES used a heavily modified version of the original Stephen Stills lyric, having made it kinder, gentler, safe as milk. Nevertheless, aided by orchestral arrangement by Tony Cox, the band created an extraordinarily adventurous interpretation. The following clip is from a 1970 Belgian television production also titled Time and a Word.


* ten (or “tin”) clerks – The usual phrase given here at lyrics websites is “ten bucks,” which is what Jon Anderson of YES sings on their 1970 recording. Stills evidently sings either “ten clerks,” or “tin clerks.”

** plastic jerks — On the YES version, Anderson sings “Just making change for plastic cherries.” Unlike Anderson, Stills does not use the preposition “for” between the two phrases in this line, the second of which appears to be “plastic jerks.”

Several websites have “Templex” and “plastic checks” in the lyric where I’ve got “ten clerks” and “plastic jerks,” respectively, including Buffalo Springfield Lyrics (die-augenweide.de/buffalo), and Neilwiki (neilwiki.wikispaces.com), but neither of these terms have any common meaning, or history of slang usage, that I’m aware of. Templex is a plastics manufacturer based in North Carolina. The phrase “rubber check” might be understood anywhere in the U.S. — “plastic check,” no.

The phrase “Just making change” is ambiguous, but in the original Stills lyric is likely a knock on the clerks for agreeing to work for such small wages, probably not much more than a dollar an hour, the 1967 federal minimum wage. They consent to labor for a pittance because they are “plastic,” and therefore easily molded, manipulated, to suit the purposes of those who pull (or jerk) the strings. The phrases “sad goodbyes” and “Everydays a-killin’ time” in the first two lines might also refer contemptuously to such people. The latter phrase is ordinarily transcribed as “Everyday’s a killin’ time” (i.e. “Everyday is a killing time”), but read in context it becomes evident that the subject is the collective “Everydays.” The adjective “everyday” serves as a noun, referring to a particular type of person (or class of persons), and is made plural to refer to more than one such person. This explains the choice of title.

Stills uses the present participle form of the idiom to “kill time,” meaning to spend time idly or engaged in insignificant, meaningless, unproductive activity while waiting for something else to happen. The songwriter directs our attention to the phenomenon of “Everydays” spending their time in this manner: wastefully, unprofitably, aimlessly.

Among other changes from the original found in the YES version are the following:

  • Instead of the jaybird “yelling at me,” YES has it merely “looking at me.”
  • The original, subjectless line “Can be ignored easily,” which evidently refers ambiguously to things that “Everyone looks” at, but “can’t see,” is modified to the more specific and self-referring “We can be ignored easily.”
  • “Most any breeze” dwindles into “Most anything.”
  • “A million balloons” is inflated to “One million balloons.”
  • “Gettin’ it on in second gear,” is refitted as “Gettin’ it out of second gear.”
  • The Stills line “Many a place, uptight” seems to have been rehabilitated as the upbeat “Many a place, outta sight,” but in this case the change made by YES may have been dictated by a late 1960s shift in the hip slang usage of the word “uptight.” Ordinarily, the word “uptight” has had negative connotations, meaning “tense” (1934) or “straight-laced” (first recorded in 1969) according to the Online Etymology Dictionary. However, it was briefly adopted (from c. 1962) in jazz slang to mean “excellent.” Though by 1969 “uptight” was definitely an uncool state to be in, the “excellent” meaning still had currency in 1965 when Stevie Wonder recorded his song “Uptight (Everything’s Alright)” which featured the lines

    Baby, everything is alright
    Uptight, clean out of sight


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