It Could Happen to You


page originally published on 10 January 2011; latest edit 10 January 2021


It Could Happen to You (m. Jimmy Van Heusen, w. Johnny Burke) was introduced by Fred MacMurray and Dorothy Lamour in the Paramount film And the Angels Sing (1944).

Jo Stafford with Paul Weston and His Orchestra, and  Bing Crosby with John Scott Trotter and His Orchestra had 1944 hits.

Dorothy Lamour — in the 1944 film And the Angels Sing


Jo Stafford with Paul Weston and his Orchestra — recorded on 13 December 1943; issued in May 1944 on the 78 rpm single Capitol 158, b/w  “Someone to Love” (Bob Warren)


Bing Crosby with John Scott Trotter and his Orchestra — recorded on 29 December 1943; issued in 1944 on the single Decca 18580, as the B-side of “The Day After Forever” (m. Jimmy Van Heusen, w. Johnny Burke)


Nat King Cole – 1950


Miles Davis 1952 –  from Miles Davis Live At Birdland 1951-53 — Miles Davis (Trumpet), Jackie McLean (Alto Saxophone), Don Elliot (Vibrophone), Gil Collins (Piano), Connie Henry (Bass) and Connie Kay (Drums)


Miles Davis Quintet – recorded at Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, 11 May 1956; released on the 1958 album Relaxin’ with the Miles Davis Quintet, Prestige PRLP 7129, Prestige 7129

Miles Davis (Trumpet) John Coltrane (Tenor Saxophone) Paul Chambers (Bass) Red Garland (Piano) Philly Joe Jones (Drums)

Thomas Cunniffe, in a review published at*, said:

“It Could Happen To You” was released on Relaxin’ and the mood of the song certainly fits the album title. This is one of several standards in Miles  book and the treatment is basically the same as on “Bye Bye, Blackbird”  recorded for Columbia in the previous year. Miles takes the opening chorus in harmon mute over a bouncy two-beat from the rhythm section. John Coltrane enters next with a slashing sheets of sound tenor solo over a wide-open rhythm section in straight 4/4. Red Garland lightens the mood with his delicate piano stylings and Miles comes back to take it out. What makes this recording unique is what happens in each of these episodes: Miles’ solo includes several odd-length phrases which only make sense when they’re all put together, Trane balances his normally rough-hewn style with long and tender melodic phrases, and Garland finds the middle ground between Miles and Trane with a tasty mixture of short and long phrases. And how well the band communicates the spirit of the light-hearted warnings of the unheard lyrics! This was the best jazz group of its day and even a minor toss-off recording by them stands up very well 50-odd years later.



Sonny Rollins – solo, from The Sound of Sonny, recorded Reeves Sound Studios New York, NY 11 June 1957



Sonny Clark Dial S for Sonny, 1958

A review by Barry Gibbons at says:

Dial “S” for Sonny was Sonny Clark’s first recording date for Blue Note Records and his first as band leader and is a remarkably accomplished session. Recorded in 1957 (the same year as Coltrane’s debut for Prestige) the record contains two standards with four of Clark’s own compositions that demonstrate the great promise and potential he possessed and anticipates what are generally considered his two masterpieces Sonny Clark Trio and Cool Struttin (1958).


Chet Baker – from the album (Chet Baker Sings) It Could Happen to You, 1958


Jimmy Smith – track three from the album, Softly As A Summer Breeze, recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey 14 October 1958 — Jimmy Smith (organ); Kenny Burrell (guitar); Philly Joe Jones (drums)

(1998 digital remaster)


Dinah Washington – from her 1960 Smoke Gets In Your Eyes album


Kenny Dorham featuring Jackie McLeanInta Somethin’ – recorded live at “The Jazz Workshop”, San Francisco, CA, 13 Nov 1961

Kenny Dorham – trumpet
Jackie McLean – alto saxophone
Walter Bishop Jr. – piano
Leroy Vinnegar – bass
Art Taylor – drums


Jimmy Raney – from the LP The Influence, Xanadu 116; recorded, according to, on 2 September 1975; and indicate that the album was released in 1976


Sue Raney and The Four Freshmen – Four Freshmen Convention in Pittsburgh, PA, 2006(?)


* The cited Cunniffe review was found and quoted from January 2011. The review was not found in June 2018.


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