One for My Baby
One for My Baby (and One More for the Road) (m. Harold Arlen, w. Johnny Mercer) – 1943
“One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)” is a hit song written by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer for the movie musical The Sky’s the Limit (1943) and first performed in the film by Fred Astaire. It was popularized by Frank Sinatra.
Harold Arlen described the song as “another typical Arlen tapeworm” – a “tapeworm” being the trade slang for any song which went over the conventional 32 bar length. He called it “a wandering song. [Lyricist] Johnny [Mercer] took it and wrote it exactly the way it fell. Not only is it long – forty-eight bars – but it also changes key. Johnny made it work.” In the opinion of Arlen’s biographer, Edward Jablonski, the song is “musically inevitable, rhythmically insistent, and in that mood of ‘metropolitan melancholic beauty’ that writer John O’Hara finds in all of Arlen’s music.”
Sinatra recorded the song several times during his career: In 1947 with Columbia Records, in 1954 for the film soundtrack album Young at Heart, in 1958 for Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely, in 1962 for Sinatra & Sextet: Live in Paris, in 1966 for Sinatra at the Sands and finally, in 1993, for his Duets album.
Fred Astaire — in The Sky’s the Limit (1943)
Johnny Mercer — recorded on 25 July 1946, according to the video provider; issued in October 1946 on Capitol 10064, as the B-side of “Alexander’s Ragtime Band”
Frank Sinatra – live television performance c. late 50s. Sinatra had a 1957 special, The Edsel Show, and a television series running from 1957 to ’58, but IMDb doesn’t list this song among the dozens of songs performed for and broadcast on these shows. Blue-eyes.com lists a live recording on 9 June 1957, arranged by Nelson Riddle and backed by an “LA Studio Orchestra” (released 1999) among nine recordings of the song between 1947 and 1966. Another, dated 24 June 1958 (released 1990), has an arrangement by Bill Miller, who accompanies the singer on piano.
Frank Sinatra — from the 1958 album Only the Lonely
Billie Holiday – Session #82, Los Angeles, 8 January 1957 — Billie Holiday & Her Orchestra: Harry “Sweets” Edison (tp) Ben Webster (ts) Jimmy Rowles (p) Barney Kessel (g) Red Mitchell (b) Alvin Stoller (d) Billie Holiday (v)