The End of a Love Affair


The End of a Love Affair (Edward C. Redding) — published in 1950

recording history:


  • International Lyrics Playground — chorus only
  • Reading Lyrics — book, eds. Robert Gottlieb, Robert Kimball, 2000 —  complete lyric, including the “interlude,” which, when used, has sometimes been sung as an opening verse

Standard of the Day says,

This somber and smokey tune of love and loss was practically written for the saloon. Jimmy Dorsey’s orchestra introduced it, but it was quickly snatched up by a number of different artists during the 1950s.

In a 10 April 2014 comment, visitor Daniel Fitzgerald suggests that a 1951 recording by Margaret Whiting might have been the first recording of the song, and notes that it contains the full verse, about which he comments, “I’ve never heard or seen any reference to the verse before.” Second Hand Songs recognizes the Whiting recording as the first released recording of the song, and it does in fact include a verse section in the beginning, but there are at least a couple of other 1950s recordings in which the same introductory verse is used. However, in the book Reading Lyrics (see link above) by eds. Robert Gottlieb, Robert Kimball, published in 2000, this section of the lyric is placed after the refrain, or chorus, and is labelled an “interlude.”

Of the recordings featured below, the complete introductory verse is sung in the following instances, while in his 1961 version Nat King Cole sings a modified portion of it.

  • 1951 — Margaret Whiting
  • 1953 — Mabel Mercer
  • 1959 — Chris Connor


Margaret Whiting

The following is probably the recording that the discography at indicates was made in Los Angeles on 9 May 1951, at “Session #2164,” with an orchestra directed by Lou Busch; that recording was released on the following singles:

  • 78 rpm (US) Capitol 1585, b/w “Everlasting” — issued in 1951
  • 45 rpm (US) Capitol F1585, as the B-side of “Everlasting” — issued in June 1951
  • 78 rpm (UK) Capitol CL.13581, as the B-side of “Good Morning Mister Echo” — issued in September 1951


(below) unidentified, undated recording; the cheering and applause at the end suggest that it might be radio or television broadcast transcription


Dinah Shore with Henri René and his Orchestra — B-side of “Getting to Know You,” RCA Victor ‎47-4286, according to, issued in October 1951, although has “The End of a Love Affair” as the A-side


Jimmy Dorsey and his Orchestra, with unidentified female vocalist — date unknown

I’ve been unable to properly identify the following Jimmy Dorsey recording, which sounds like it might be a live radio broadcast transcription. I don’t know who the female vocalist is, though I feel that I ought to recognize this voice.


Mabel Mercer — from her 1953 album Songs by Mabel Mercer, Atlantic ALS 402 — Mercer’s recording includes the verse


Helen Merrill — from the 1955 LP Helen Merrill With Strings, EmArcy ‎MG-36057 — orchestration by Richard Hayman

  • Barry Galbraith – guitar
  • Hank Jones – piano
  • Milt Hinton – bass
  • Sol Gubin –  drums


 Frank Sinatra with The Hollywood String Quartet —  recorded on 5 April 1956, with arrangement by Nelson Riddle; released on the 1956 album Close to You


Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers — recorded in NY on 5 April 1956, the same day as the Sinatra recording with Riddle; released on the 1956 album The Jazz Messengers, (US) Columbia CL 897

Donald Byrd: trumpet
Hank Mobley: tenor Sax
Horace Silver: piano
Doug Watkins: bass
Art Blakey: drums



In a comment, dated Feb 06, 2016 @ 02:01:46, Geoffrey Jacques said:

I am so happy to see this post. I’ve always loved this song since first hearing the Blakey and Holiday versions. Here’s my question, though: Where’s the Johnny Hartman version? It’s on The Debonair Mr. Hartman, Bethlehem 6014, rec. 1956.

Johnny Hartman with the Ernie Wilkins Orchestra — recorded in November 1956, during sessions which produced the 1956 album All of Me: The Debonair Johnny Hartman, Bethlehem Records BCP 6014; this track is one of several on the album that were arranged and conducted by Frank Hunter


Cyril Stapleton and his Orchestra — from the 1956 LP Dim Lights and Blue Music, MGM Records E3351



Billie Holiday – Session #86 New York, 20 February 1958, Ray Ellis and his Orchestra (Columbia) — Urbie Green, Tom Mitchell & J. J. Johnson (tb) Ed Powell, Tom Pashley, Romeo Penque, Phil Bodner (sax) Mal Waldron (p) Barry Galbraith (g) Milt Hinton (b) Don Lamond (d) Billie Holiday (v) Brad Spinney(xyl) J. Putman (harp) + strings and choir, released on the album Lady in Satin, June 1958


1959 Chris Connor Sings Ballads of the Sad Cafe, Atlantic SD 1307

Chris Connor — from the 1959 LP Sings Ballads of the Sad Cafe, Atlantic SD 1307, Atlantic 1307


Wes Montgomery Trio — recorded 6 October 1959 at Reeves Sound Studios in NYC; released on the 1959 LP The Wes Montgomery Trio, Riverside Records RLP 12-310,

Wes Montgomery: guitar
Mel Rhyne: organ
Paul Parker: drums


Dexter Gordon — recorded on 9 May 1961 — Dexter Gordon (tenor saxophone); Kenny Drew (piano); Paul Chambers (bass); Philly Joe Jones (drums) – album: Dexter Calling…, 1961


Maysa — from Maysa Sings Songs Before Dawn, released in 1961


Nat King Cole with orchestra conducted by Gordon Jenkins — from the 1963 album Where Did Everyone Go?, Capitol W 1859* (Mono), Capitol SW 1859 (Stereo); album recorded on 13-14 August 1962; arrangements by Gordon Jenkins — Cole sings a small portion of the verse, with the words modified.

For some reason this recording evidently appeared as one of three bonus tracks on the CD reissue of the 1957 Cole album Love Is the Thing, which led me to mistakenly believe that it had been recorded in 1956 during the sessions for that album.** This why I had previously placed it ahead of the Billie Holiday recording in the page.


Julie London-63-Love on the Rocks-t90

Julie London — from her 1963 LP Love On the Rocks, Liberty ‎LST 7249


Gloria Lynne – from I Wish You Love, 1967


Jimmy Raney – recorded on 2 September 1975According to the video provider the track was added to the original material when the CD of Raney’s 1976 album Solo was issue, in 1991.  But this track and another on the 1991 reissue, Suzanne, originally appeared on Raney’s debut record for Xanadu, The Influence, released in 1975.

Presently unavailable


The Real Deal Big Band — date unknown

The provider says, “…arranged by Willy Dalton–solos by Willy on guitar and Mike DiLorenzo on organ–band members included Vince Cherico, drums, and Irio O’Farrill, bass.”

Version #1


Version #2


* indicates that the catalog number of the Mono version has been variously issued as Capitol W1859, Capitol W 1859, and Capitol W-1859.

** Typically bonus tracks in reissues stem from the same sessions as the original tracks, but that wasn’t the case here. I hadn’t recognized that a. it wasn’t on the original album, Love Is the Thing, b. it wasn’t recorded during the two December 1956 sessions with Jenkins from which Love Is the Thing tracks were drawn, and c. it was, rather, a bonus track on a 1996 CD reissue of the album.


13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Pag
    Dec 05, 2013 @ 23:20:58

    Hi. Julie London also sang it in 1963.

    Thanks for the investigation.


  2. Daniel Fitzgerald
    Apr 10, 2014 @ 02:22:08

    Hello, I LOVE this song too & there is a SUPERB unique early version that you may still be unaware of? Margaret Whiting with Lou Busch Orchestra c1950-51 issued over here in the UK on a Capitol 78 number CL-13581 in the summer of 1951, so this could be the first recording.

    It has a superb full arrangement AND includes the full verse – a lot of letters to various agony aunts starting ‘Dear Emily Post etc’ & spilling her heart out kind-a-thing, – & I’ve never heard or seen any reference to the verse before.

    Its not on youtube yet so I’ll record it & stick it on youtube later today for you.

    PS: Theres a great also a 1955 orchestral version by Cyril Stapleton & his Orchestra, very pretty. But that is on youtube.


    • doc
      Apr 10, 2014 @ 11:58:49

      Thanks much. I appreciate your assistance. Have added the Cyril Stapleton recording and look forward to your Margaret Whiting video, especially with the verse (unknown to me as well) included. I discovered today that International Lyrics Playground has a long list of artists who have recorded the song. May use this if I decide to expand the page.

      Warm regards, doc


      • doc
        Jun 12, 2014 @ 21:11:54

        Today, I found that, contrary to what I had earlier reported, Second Hand Songs does indeed have a list of recordings of “The End of a Love Affair.” Might have missed it, or it might have been added after I published my page on the song in March 2011. That’s a while ago. Anyway, they presently have 36 recordings documented, with videos included for several of them.


  3. Daniel Fitzgerald
    Jun 10, 2014 @ 08:35:02

    Hello, sorry its been a while, I recorded the song on my phone ages ago BUT can’t bloody download it to my MacBook, any suggestions?


    • doc
      Jun 12, 2014 @ 21:07:38

      Hi. I’ve never used MacBook. I’m sure there’s a lot of free software available for converting file formats, if that is the issue, but I’m not informed in that realm. Will let you know if I find an audio file of a Margaret Whiting c. 1951 recording, Capitol 1585, c/w “Everlasting.”


  4. doc
    Aug 04, 2014 @ 21:20:49

    @ Daniel,
    I’ve recently added recordings by Margaret Whiting (1951), Dinah Shore (1951), Mabel Mercer (1953), Helen Merrill (1955), and Maysa (1961) to the page, and corrected the date of the Nat King Cole recording.


    • doc
      Sep 14, 2015 @ 22:13:04


      Special thanks for the tip regarding the Margaret Whiting version with the introductory verse. I’ve mentioned your initial comment above the video. I don’t know if the video is your creation, but thanks if it is.


  5. Geoffrey Jacques
    Feb 06, 2016 @ 02:01:46

    I am so happy to see this post. I’ve always loved this song since first hearing the Blakey and Holiday versions. Here’s my question, though: Where’s the Johnny Hartman version? It’s on The Debonair Mr. Hartman, Bethlehem 6014, rec. 1956.


    • doc
      Feb 06, 2016 @ 11:20:00


      Hi. Glad you enjoyed the page.
      Q: Where’s the Johnny Hartman version?
      A: It was only awaiting your introduction. Thanks to your comment, it is now in the feature among the other 1956 recordings.
      Thanks for the assist!

      Regards, doc


  6. Charles B. Davis
    May 10, 2017 @ 11:35:06

    This song has a weird form. I think you would call it AABAC. But it has an uneven number of bars. When you get to the last bar it feels like there should be another bar. The C part has only 7 bars!


    • doc
      May 13, 2017 @ 23:49:17

      Hi Charles,

      Yeah, it’s a little unusual. I count about a 39 or 40 bar chorus in the Frank Sinatra version. It’s difficult to tell how many bars the C section has because the tempo slows down twice, almost coming to a stop, and then speeds up again.

      doc (-̮̮̃-̃)


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