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Billie Holiday, probably at Pep's Musical Bar, 25-30 April 1955 (2)About the site
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Posts:

Lady Day: The Many Faces of Billie Holiday – 1990 documentary, directed by Matthew Seig; based on the book of the same name written by Robert O’Meally

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billie-holiday-pearls-1a

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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.

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Diamond in the back, sunroof top

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This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Be Thankful for What You Got (William DeVaughn) William DeVaughn, 1974

Just be thankful for what you’ve got
Though you may not drive a great big Cadillac
Diamond in the back, sunroof top
Diggin’ the scene
With a gangsta lean
Gangsta whitewalls
TV antennas in the back


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It Seems to be Spring

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Howdy folks,

I’d intended to build and publish this feature in January…of 2020, that is. Better late than never. Hope you enjoy it! Like “June in January,” this song is about a love interest that seems to turn January into a warmer month. The introductory verse, included in some versions, goes like this:

It’s a January morning
We two meet without a warning
And I hope my eyes will say for me
That you’ve made the day like May for me

From now on ’twill be my failing
Not to know when it is hailing
Ev’ry storm is unavailing
Now you’re a part, of my heart

It Seems to be Spring (m. Richard A. Whiting, w. George Marion, Jr.) — The song was evidently written for the 1930 musical comedy film Let’s Go Native, which was released on 16 August 1930. It is performed as a rehearsal of a theatrical production within the film by Jeanette MacDonald and James Hall.

Oddly, the first recording that I’m aware of, that by Waring’s Pennsylvanian’s on 27 January 1930, precedes the song’s copyright date, 17 February 1930, by a few weeks. There may be an earlier copyright date that I haven’t discovered yet.

Waring’s Pennsylvanians, vocal: The Three Girl Friends — (Fred Waring, bandleader) — recorded 27 January 1930 in New York, NY; issued 8 August 1930 on the 78 rpm single Victor 22470 as the B-side of “I’ve Got a Yen for You” (A-side recorded by Gus Arnheim and his Orchestra)

audio file (VBR MP3, 2.4 MB) from the page Waring’s Pennsylvanians 1925-1934 (COMPLETE) at archive.org:

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Fred Rich Orchestra, vocal: Harold “Scrappy” Lambert — one of multiple recordings* by Fred Rich Orchestra for OKeh Records, made on 7 June 1930 in New York, NY

audio file (VBR MP3, 2.4 MB) from a Fred Rich 1925-1935 collection at archive.org:

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Meyer Davis’ Hotel Astor Orchestra — recorded in August 1930**, and issued on the 78 rpm single Brunswick 4882, b/w “Why Have You Forgotten Waikiki?” — I haven’t conclusively identified the vocalist yet, but it sounds an awful lot like Scrappy Lambert.

audio file (VBR MP3, 7.3 MB) from the page Meyer Davis Collection 1925-1934 (COMPLETE) at archive.org:

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Sam Lanin’s Troubadours, vocal: Helen Rowland — recorded on 2 September 1930; issued on the following 78 rpm singles

  • Banner 802, c/w “The Recipe Song”
  • Romeo 1418, c/w “The Recipe Song”
  • Domino 4625, c/w “I Got a Yen for You” — under the pseudonym Broadway Broadcasters
  • Perfect 15347, c/w “I Got a Yen for You” — under the pseudonym Broadway Broadcasters

audio file (VBR MP3, 2.3 MB) from the page Sam Lanin Orchestra 78rpm Collection at archive.org:

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The Sunshine Boys (Joe and Dan Mooney) — recorded on 12 September 1930 (Columbia matrix W150731), according to the DAHR; issued on the 78 rpm single (US) Columbia 2303-D, and on (UK) Columbia DB 345, c/w “I Like a Little Girl Like That” in each case — The DAHR also indicates that two different takes were mastered under the same matrix number, W150731, and that each of these takes was issued on records with the same catalog number, 2303-D.

(US) Columbia 2303-D — audio file (VBR MP3, 5.7 MB) from the page IT SEEMS TO BE SPRING (Parece Primavera) at archive.org:

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(UK) Columbia DB 345

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Jack Coakley’s Orchestra, vocal: Paul Slobody — recorded in San Francisco, 1931; issued on the Flexo label, matrix 428 (no catalogue number), as the B-side of “Golden Sands

other info from the YouTube provider:

Jack Coakley (piano) directing Harry Fish – Bill Starkey (saxophones), Bob Logan (guitar), Fred Gaffney (brass bass, string bass), Bill Snow (mellophone), Paul Slobody (drums, vocal) – other personnel unknown

10″ inside-start flexible plastic 78rpm disc recorded at the Pacific Coast Record Corporation Ltd. studios, 1040 Geary Street, San Francisco. Coakley’s orchestra played at Tait’s at the Beach from c. 1930 until 1933.

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Jack Harris and his Orchestra (At Grosvenor House) — Decca F.1932; matrix GB.1872 — recording date not identified

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Barbara Lea with Wes McAfee — recorded 21 October 1997; released on the album The Melody Lingers On, BL CD 6613, in 2002

personnel:
Barbara Lea – leader, vocal
Wes McAfee – piano
Boots Maleson – bass
Dave Ratajczak – drums

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* It’s not clear which of the following three recordings of “It Seems to be Spring” by Fred Rich Orchestra (v. Harold “Scrappy” Lambert) is found in the archive.org audio file provided above:

  • OKeh matrix 404212, take B — recorded on 7 June 1930, New York, NY
    • issued on OKeh 41434, b/w “Beware of Love,” credited to Fred Rich Orchestra (FRO)
    • issued on Odeon ONY 36110, b/w “Beware of Love,” FRO under the pseudonym The New York Syncopators
    • issued on Publix 2025-P, as the B-side of “I Remember You from Somewhere,” FRO under the pseudonym The Paramounteers; master renumbered as Col W100408 (A-side by Sam Lanin Orchestra)
    • issued on (UK) Parlophone R 757, FRO under the pseudonym Roof Garden Orchestra — c/w either “Beware of Love” by FRO as Roof Garden Orchestra, “My Mad Moment” by Paul Specht Orchestra, the latter also credited under the pseudonym Roof Garden Orchestra*, or both — It’s not clear whether there are three recordings on the record, or two, with one of the three listed by the Discography of American Historical Recordings (DAHR) being omitted on any of multiple versions of Parlophone R 757.
      • On the other hand, here’s a page in a huge discography by Brian Rust that documents a recording of “It Seems to Be Spring” issued on (UK) Parlophone R 757 that was recorded by Paul Albin’s Hotel Pennsylvania Music. Perhaps this is simply evidence of yet another version of R 757.
  • OKeh matrix 404212, take C — recorded on 7 June 1930, New York, NY
    • issued on different versions of each of the records listed for Okeh matrix 404212, take B, above
  • OKeh matrix 490083 (take unknown) — recorded on 7 June 1930, New York, NY
    • issued on Odeon ONY 36111, b/w “Beware of Love,” FRO under the pseudonym The New York Syncopators
    • issued on Parlophone PNY 34101, as the B-side of “Old New England Moon,” FRO under the pseudonym The Deauville Syncopators (A-side by Ray Seeley Orchestra)

On (UK) Parlophone R 757 — It’s quite confusing, but the notes provided by the DAHR at its Okeh matrix 404212 page and its R 757 page collectively seem to suggest that each of the recordings included on the two sides of various versions of (UK) Parlophone R 757 are credited to Roof Garden Orchestra, although on those versions of the record that have “My Mad Moment” on the A-side, this “Roof Garden Orchestra” is actually Paul Specht Orchestra, while the “Roof Garden Orchestra” credited on the B-side is Fred Rich Orchestra.

OKeh matrix 404212, takes B and C, were also each released on various other Parlophone and/or Odeon catalog numbers in Japan and Australia.

If you’re not overwhelmed by the above, then you might be amused by the list of 90-odd pseudonyms used by Fred Rich and his Orchestra provided by Discogs.com. The list of aliases for Sam Lanin and his Orchestra is even longer.

** On the Meyer Davis’ Hotel Astor Orchestra recording date for Brunswick 4882: The DAHR dates it August 1930, without a specific day or date range specified. Others date the recording 8 August 1930, including the following:

ZOOM’s 50th Anniversary

ZOOM was an educational TV series produced by WGBH-TV in Boston and aired on PBS. I’ve published several pages and posts on the series, which you can find links to in this index page. ZOOM premiered on January 9, 1972, which means that today marks 50 years since the initial broadcast. In celebration of ZOOM’s 50th anniversary, there will be a special broadcast of the very first episode today (Sunday), January 9, at 7pm EST on GBH 2. The episode may also be watched at that time at the WGBH.org ZOOM 50th Anniversary page, where additional information may be found, or at YouTube, here. [Update: On January 10th, several hours after the special broadcast, I embedded the video into this post, directly below.]

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Another special event to celebrate ZOOM’s 50th anniversary will take place on January 26. This virtual event is described as follows in the WGBH.org page cited above:

Celebrate ZOOM’s 50th anniversary and a nostalgic look back at the iconic 1970s GBH kids show. Join us as David Kamp, journalist, and author of Sunny Days: The Children’s Television Revolution That Changed America and ZOOM creator and producer Christopher Sarson discuss the groundbreaking series. Then hear from original cast members as they share their favorite memories and relive some of your own favorite moments as we feature short clips from the original season.

Additional information on the January 26th event is provided in the page Come on and ZOOM (Virtual) @WGBH.org, which also includes a link to this page where you can obtain tickets with free registration.

See also:

‘Tis Autumn…again

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Here are some additional recordings of the 1941 standard “Tis Autumn,” including a few early ones. I plan to incorporate these recordings into my page on the song, which was published in October 2011.

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‘Tis Autumn (words and music: Henry Nemo)

Jan Savitt and his Top Hatters, vocal: Allan DeWitt — recorded in New York, New York on 25 September 1941; issued 24 October 1941 on the 78 rpm single Victor 27643, as the B-side of “Who Calls?”

audio file, VBR MP3 (5.9 MB), from the page TIS AUTUMN (El Otoño), at archive.org (especially poor sound quality on this one):

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Tony Martin — recorded, with Orchestra under the direction of Harry Sosnik, on 18 November 1941; issued in 1941 on the 78 rpm single Decca 4101, b/w “Cancel the Flowers”

audio file, VBR MP3 (4.5 MB), from the page Tony Martin By a Wishing Well, at archive.org:

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Dick Todd — recorded on 26 November 1941; issued on the 78 rpm single Bluebird B-11387, b/w “Tropical Magic” (m. Harry Warren, w. Mack Gordon)

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Freddy Martin and his Orchestra, vocal: Clyde Rogers – recorded on 3 December 1941; issued on the 78 rpm single Bluebird B-11393, as the B-side of “Until the Stars Fall Down” (Walter Donaldson)

audio file, VBR MP3 (5.6 MB), from a page titled ‘Tis Autumn, at archive.org:

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Geraldo and his Orchestra, vocal: George Evans — issued in April 1942 on the 78 rpm single (UK) Parlophone F 1901, c/w “Soft Shoe Shuffle” (m. Maurice Burman, w. Spencer Williams)

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Red Garland Trio – from the 1958 Red Garland album All Kinds of Weather, Prestige 7148 (aka PRLP 7148); all tracks recorded on 27 November 1958 at Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ

personnel, from jazzdisco.org:

  • Red Garland – piano
  • Paul Chambers – bass
  • Arthur Taylor – drums

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Eydie Gormé – from her 1959 album Love is a Season, ABC-Paramount ABC-273 (Mono), ABCS-273 (Stereo)

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Patti Page – from her 1959 LP Indiscretion, Mercury Records MG 20405 (Mono), SR 60059 (Stereo)

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More

What is a “Songbook standard”?

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Songbook champagne header 1a

Sometime this year I evidently accidentally deleted the page “What do you mean by “Songbook standard”?, originally published in March 2017. However, I hadn’t noticed that it was missing until yesterday. I was able to recover most of the content of the page from Wayback Machine, but some repair was necessary. The images needed to be replaced, and all of the many links in the content, and in the comments on the old page, were broken and needed to be restored. I’ve included the comments within the new version of the page that I created today, below the main content. Here’s a link to the page:

What do you mean by “Songbook standard”?

The 50 best songs about…anything

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Other than in this post, the phrases “best song,” “greatest song,” and their plural forms (“best songs,” “greatest songs”) do not appear in the pages and posts of this site. I don’t believe in lists of the “best” or “greatest” anything. I’ve done my best to keep such expressions out, but I noticed recently that a few had crept in by way of copied quotes that reference Academy Awards nominations or wins for Best Song. These have been hastily expunged, and I think it might be the greatest thing I’ve ever done, or at least among the top 50 all-time best things.

Autumn in Rome

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Autumn in Rome (m. Alessandro Cicognini, Paul Weston, w. Sammy Cahn) — The copyright entry, dated 25 January 1954, gives the songwriting credits as follows: “by Sammy Cahn and Paul Weston from an original score by Alessandro Cicognini.”

A performance of the song by Patti Page is featured in the 1954 short film Autumn in Rome, in which Page also sings another song, “Indiscretion,” written by Paul Weston and Sammy Cahn. This filmed performance of “Autumn in Rome” by Page does not, as suggested by SecondHandSongs, appear in the film Stazione Termini (1953), directed and produced by Vittorio De Sica and starring Montgomery Clift and Jennifer Jones. Nor does it appear in the US version of the film, Indiscretion of an American Wife (1954), and the song is not part of the soundtrack of any version of the De Sica film. Instead the 8-minute short was shown in US theaters before the title sequence of Indiscretion of an American Wife as a kind of prologue to the film. The complete 63-minute US version of ‘Indiscretion‘ may presently be seen at YouTube, here.

From the Production section of the Wikipedia page on Terminal Station:

The original 1953 Italian release of the film ran 89 minutes, but it was later re-edited by Selznick down to 64 [sic] minutes. This was too short to qualify it as a feature film, so Selznick hired singer Patti Page, and filmed her singing two Italian-themed songs on a soundstage with James Wong Howe and attached this unrelated “overture” footage to the beginning of the film, before the credits, giving it a technical running time of 72 minutes.[9]Selznick released this version in the United States as Indiscretion of an American Wife[10] (and as Indiscretion in the UK).

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Paul Weston and his Orchestra — This may be the earliest recording of the song. Despite the copyright date of 25 January 1954 cited above, this recording seems to have been released on a single weeks earlier, although exactly when is in question (see “disagreement” below).

disagreement in reported release dates:

  • January 4, 1954……45 rpm single Columbia 4-40152, b/w “Indiscretion,” according to 45cat.com
  • December 1953…..45 rpm single Columbia 4-40152, b/w “Indiscretion,” according to Discogs.com

The Online Discographical Project, 78discography.com, indicates that the 78 rpm single Columbia 40152, c/w “Indiscretion,” was recorded sometime in December 1953, which might have been misinterpreted by Discogs.com as the release date. The single was reviewed in the January 30 issue of Billboard magazine, on page 44. The same two sides were also issued on the Philips label in New Zealand (1954) and the Netherlands (date unknown).

The 1954 Paul Weston album Music for Jennifer, a compilation of songs from films starring Jennifer Jones, features “Autumn in Rome” as the initial track on side one. I presume that this is the same recording found on the singles. While the Weston recording is an instrumental, lyricist Sammy Cahn is credited on the labels of both the album and the singles, indicating that the song was in its completed form when the recording was made.

from the album Music for Jennifer, Columbia CL 6281, released in 1954

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Patti Page — from the 1954 short film Autumn in Rome, released on 10 May 1954, according to IMDb*

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Peggy Lee — recorded on 1 March 1954 at Decca Studios in Los Angeles, with Victor Young and His Singing Strings; issued in March 1954 on the 45 rpm single (US) Decca 9-29076, b/w “Johnny Guitar,” and on the 78 rpm single (US) Decca 29076**, as the B-side of “Johnny Guitar.”

It’s not clear to me whether this recording preceded the Patti Page soundtrack recording, but I think it’s likely since the latter wasn’t released until 10 May 1954. The arrangements on the early Peggy Lee and Patti Page recordings of the song always remind me of the 1946 standard “Angel Eyes,” which I think they are heavily indebted to. My page on “Angel Eyes” is presently closed for repairs.

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audio file, VBR MP3 (4.2 MB), from the page Autumn in Rome at archive.org:

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The Ray Charles Singers — from the LP Autumn Nocturne, MGM Records E-3145, E3145, released in November 1954; reissued in 1963 as Autumn Moods, MGM Records SE-4163

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audio file, VBR MP3 (3.4 MB), from the page Autumn Nocturne at archive.org:

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Nilla Pizzi — Italian-lyric version “Autunno in Roma,” with words by Giacomo Mario Gili — issued in 1954 on the 45 rpm EP RCA Italiana A72V 0018; with Orchestra directed by Armando Trovajoli

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More

October Twilight

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October Twilight (m. Henry Hadley, w. Guy Wood) – Henry Kimball Hadley’s composition “October Twilight” is, according to a Princeton University Library catalog entry, the second of three parts of a group of compositions, identified as “Three characteristic numbers,” that was published in 1922. In its “October Twilight” page, the website HenryHadley.com suggests that the 1922 version was a piano solo, while admitting no knowledge of recordings in that form, and indicates that words were added by Guy Wood in 1947.

Victor Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Philip James — recorded on 24 June 1938 (Victor matrix CS-023731) in New York City, NY, and released in February 1940 on “Album M-634,” which is evidently a two-record set consisting of Victor 12599 and Victor 12600. Three of the four sides of the album contain parts of “Concertino for Piano and Orchestra,” and the B-side of Victor 12600 is “October Twilight.”

Video created by Eric Anderson; published 24 December 2011 at YouTube

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Frankie Carle and his Orchestra, vocal: Nan Wright — recorded on 15 December 1947, according to Henry König’s Musiktiteldatenbank (@http://musiktiteldb.de); issued 30 August 1948 on the 78 rpm single Columbia 38291, b/w “A New Kind of Song” — This is the first recording I know of that features the lyric by Guy Wood.

The 28 August 1948 issue of Billboard magazine includes the Frankie Carle recording of “October Twilight” in its Advanced Record Releases, on page 35. Billboard’s September 25, 1948 issue includes the Carle recording as the ninth in a group of ten titles in The Disk Jockey’s Pick, found on page 33, prefacing the list with the comment “Based on a weekly survey among 1200 of them, the disk jockeys think tomorrow’s hits will be…”

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audio file, VBR MP3 (5.5 MB), from the page October Twilight at archive.org:

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Steve Conway with Orchestra conducted by Peter Yorke — issued in August 1948 on the 78 rpm single Columbia F.B. 3416, b/w “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime”

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Geraldo and his Orchestra, vocal: Archie Lewis — recorded on 7 September 1948; issued on the 78 rpm single (UK) Parlophone F. 2306, as the B-side of “When You’re in Love”

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Ralph Sharon — from the 1953 album Autumn Leaves, (UK) Decca LF 1138, (US) London Records LB 842Discogs.com incorrectly credits the composition of not only “October Twilight” but also “Shine On Harvest Moon” to Ralph Sharon. Both numbers were published before he was born.

audio file, VBR MP3 (3.4 MB), from the page History American Pop 007 at archive.org:

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Ralph Flanagan and his Orchestra — from the 1961 LP Dance To The “New Live” Sound Of Ralph Flanagan, Coral CRL 57363 (Mono), CRL 757363 (Stereo)

audio file, VBR MP3 (2.9 MB), from a page featuring the album at archive.org:

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Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra — from their 2017 album Entreaty, CD Baby B072LMWH2C

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Theodore Buchholz (cello), Paula Fan (piano)– from the album Afterglow: The Forgotten Works for Cello & Piano by Henry Hadley, Centaur CRC3780, released on 5 June 2020

Could It Be I’m Falling in Love … The Spinners

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Could It Be I’m Falling in Love (Mystro & Lyric)

Wikipedia says:

The song was co-written by Melvin and Mervin Steals, two songwriter brothers working for Atlantic, who were sometimes credited as “Mystro and Lyric.”[1] It was produced by Thom Bell, recorded at Philly’s Sigma Sound Studios and the house band MFSB provided the backing. Bobby Smith sings lead through most of the song while Philippé Wynne handles vocal duties on the song’s outro.

Released as the follow-up single to the group’s first hit for Atlantic Records, “I’ll Be Around,” “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love” would equal the success of its predecessor, peaking at number one on the R&B chart and number four on the Billboard Pop Singles chart[2] and selling over one million copies. The song also found success in the UK, peaking at number 11 on the UK Singles Chart.

The Spinners — originally issued 12 December 1972 on the 45 rpm single Atlantic 45-2927, b/w “Just You and Me Baby” — arranged, conducted, and produced by Thom Bell; included on the 1973 album Spinners*, Atlantic SD 7256

lyric: Genius, AZLyrics, STLyrics — Note: Each of these lyric sites get lines 2 and 6 of the outro wrong. I was unable to find the correct words to the entire outro online, so I transcribed them (see below).

rap by Philippé Wynne in the outro (transcribed by doc, 10/16/2021; edit, 10/17):

I walk around with my heart in my hands, hey
I want this feeling long as I can, baby
I used to sing fa fa fa fa
But right now I feel so good, I sing la la la la
Once you get me up, won’t let me down
Just let this feeling carry all about town
Skip the beats with my heart, girl

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on Soul Train, Season 2, Episode 21, airdate: Saturday, 24 February 1973

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live on The Midnight Special, 1973

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* About the 1973 album Spinners, Discogs.com says:

Spinners is the third studio album recorded by American R&B group The Spinners, produced by Thom Bell and released in April 1973 on the Atlantic label. The album was the group’s first for Atlantic after leaving Motown.
Spinners includes their first American top-ten and R&B number-one hit “I’ll Be Around”, along with the successful songs “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love”, “One of a Kind (Love Affair)”, “Ghetto Child”, and “How Could I Let You Get Away”.

The album was also the second of fourteen straight studio albums to make the Billboard 200, and their first in the Top-twenty, as it reached #14 on the charts. Additionally, it was their first of three consecutive R&B albums chart-toppers – and the second to hit those charts overall.

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