I Didn’t Know What Time It Was


1939 Too Many Girls

Rodgers and Hart (1)

I Didn’t Know What Time It Was (Rodgers & Hart) — was written for the musical Too Many Girls (1939) where it was introduced by Richard Kollmar and Marcy Westcott. Trudy Erwin – dubbing for Lucille Ball sang it in the 1940 film version. In 1957 Frank Sinatra performed the song in the film version of Pal Joey into which it was interpolated. Blue-eyes.com lists the recording of 25 September 1957 with arrangement by Nelson Riddle as the only recording of the song by Sinatra and as the track issued on the Pal Joey soundtrack, but I’ve watched a clip available at youtube and it definitely is not the track used in the film, at least not in the scene I saw.

Benny Goodman and his Orchestra with vocal by Louise Tobin, and Jimmy Dorsey and his Orchestra each had hits with their 1939 recordings. Wikipedia indicates that Artie Shaw also had an early hit with his 1939 cover of the song.

Cast members of the original Broadway production of Too Many Girls, Desi Arnaz, Eddie Bracken, and Van Johnson, repeated their roles in the 1940 RKO film adaption. Arnaz and co-star Lucille Ball, his future wife, met during the filming.


Benny Goodman and his Orchestra at the Golden Gate Exposition in SF, 1939 (3)-center-vocalist Louise Tobin

Benny Goodman Orchestra_1939_Golden Gate Expo_1_f10

(above) Two photos of Benny Goodman and his Orchestra performing at the Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco in 193 — Band members include Fletcher Henderson on the piano, Nick Fatool on drums, and vocalist Louise Tobin — sources: (top photo) LouiseTobin.com, (second photo) Shorpy.com

(below) Goodman and Tobin during a performance at the Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco, 1939

Benny Goodman and his Orchestra at the Golden Gate Exposition in SF, 1939 (2)-seated, left-Louise Tobin

Benny Goodman and his Orchestra , vocal: Louise Tobin –recorded on 13 September 1939, and issued on Columbia 35230, c/w “Love Never Went to College”


Artie Shaw-39-vitaphoneshort-feb-1939

Artie Shaw and his Orchestra, vocal: Helen Forrest — 1939


Charlie Parker – from the album Charlie Parker with Strings, recorded 30 November 1949. Personnel for the album, the first of two with the same title released in 1950: Charlie Parker – alto saxophone; Mitch Miller – oboe; Bronislaw Gimpel, Max Hollander, Milton Lomask – violins; Frank Brieff – viola; Frank Miller – cello; Myor Rosen – harp; Stan Freeman – piano; Ray Brown – double bass; Buddy Rich – drums; Jimmy Carroll – arranger and conductor


Peggy Lee – recorded 30 April 1953



Ella Fitzgerald – from Sings the Rodgers and Hart Song Book – the album was recorded 21-31 August 1956 and released that year


Nat King Cole – instrumental recorded 30 August 1955

Presently unavailable

Sonny Clark Trio – from the group’s eponymous1957 album which seems to bear a different title on the front cover: Sonny Clark with Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones. It was recorded 1 September 1957.


Billie Holiday — Session #80 Los Angeles, 4 January 1957 — Billie Holiday & Her Orchestra (Verve) — Harry `Sweets` Edison (tp) Ben Webster (ts) Jimmy Rowles (p) Barney Kessel (g) Red Mitchell (b) Alvin Stoller (d) Billie Holiday (v)


Dorothy Dandridge – From a full length album that Dorothy recorded in 1958 which featured Oscar Peterson with Herb Ellis, Ray Brown, and Alvin Stoller. It remained in the vaults until 1999 when it was released together with two additional tracks from 1961 as Smooth Operator.

The audio quality is not great, but perhaps the most disturbing aspect is that the vocal, the guitar, and the percussion are all out of time with each other, virtually throughout the entire track. Why would anyone release this?


Benny Goodman and his Orchestra – date unknown


Sarah Vaughan – the first track of Sarah’s 1982 album Crazy and Mixed Up — recorded 1 and 2 March 1982 with the following personnel:

  • Sarah Vaughan – (vocals)
  • Sir Roland Hanna – (piano)
  • Joe Pass – (guitar)
  • Andy Simpkins – (double bass)
  • Harold Jones – (drums)


Stéphane Grappelli and McCoy Tyner at the Operetta House Warsaw for Warsaw Jazz Festival in October 1991


Yoko Kanasashi

Yoko Kanasashi — recorded 22 December 2008 – Shibuya JZ Brat -Yoko Kanasashi (Vo), Sachihiro Miyamae (p), Satoshi Ikeda (b), Manabu Hashimoto (ds)


Satoshi Ikeda



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