Avant de mourir / My Prayer

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My Prayer (m. Georges Boulanger, w. Jimmy Kennedy)

The song was originally written as an instrumental piece with the title “Avant de mourir” by Boulanger and first recorded by Orchester Georges Boulanger in 1924. English lyrics were added by Irish songwriter and lyricist Jimmy Kennedy* in 1939. Glenn Miller and the Ink Spots had large hits with their 1939 recordings, but the most commercially successful cover was that by The Platters, recorded in 1956.

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Avant de mourir

Georges Boulanger SecondHandSongs.com refers to an April 1924 recording by Orchester Georges Boulanger as the first known recording, though some sources give 1926 as the date of composition. SHS attempts to explain the discrepancy as follows:

Many sources state that it was composed in 1926, probably because in that period Boulanger re-arranged “Avant de mourir” in form of “Serenade”.

The 1924 Boulanger recording was released on the single (Germany) Vox 01530 as the B-side of “Natascha (Russische Weise).”

(below) This may be a copy of the 1924 recording, but that’s uncertain since the Youtube provider calls it “the original,” yet gives no recording date, performer credits, etc.

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(below) The image used by the video creator suggests that the recording is on an undated Telefunken disc. However, the recording is not precisely identified by the provider, who leaves it undated. It’s significantly different from, though similar to, the recording in the video above.

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Tanz-Orchester Géza Komor – 1929

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Eddie Tower et Sa Grande Formation – 1942

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(below) The provider of the following video says:

In France “Avant de mourir” was featured in the Casino de Paris spectacle “Amours de Paris” [1938] starring Maurice Chevalier. The title was changed to “Tout nous parle d’amour” (lit. Everything speaks to us of love) although another set of lyrics with the title “Ma prière” was written as well….

According to the provider, the following version of “Tout nous parle d’amour” was recorded in 1939 by Orchestre A.J. Pesenti, a popular French tango orchestra during the late 1930s.

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Tudor Pană – date unknown

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My Prayer / Ma prière

The Ink Spots – 1939

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Glenn Miller and his Orchestra, vocal: Ray Eberle — recorded on 18 August 1939; issued on the 78 rpm single Bluebird B-10404, as the B-side of “Blue Moonlight” (Dana Suesse); same two sides issued on Montgomery Ward 8359

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Joe Loss and his Band, vocal: Chick Henderson — issued in August 1939 on the 78 rpm single (UK) Regal Zonophone MR 3098, as the B-side of “Begin the Beguine”

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Ambrose and his Orchestra — undated recording (probably c.1939), with unidentified vocalist; issued in 1939 on (US) Decca 2732, b/w “South of the Border”

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André Dassary-disques pathe-poster-1André Dassary-1-f12

André Dassary – “Ma prière” – 1941

Gerda Neumann with Jens Dennow’s Soft-Band (according to the label) – 1942

1944 My Prayer-featured by Vera Lynn in One Exciting Night-sheet music-1aOne Exciting Night (1944) Vera Lynn film collection

Vera Lynn – in the film One Exciting Night (1944)

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Platters 1a

The Platters – 1956

Roy Orbison – from the album In Dreams – 1963

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* The words are incorrectly credited to “Jerry Kennedy” at poparchives.com.au.

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