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Originally composed by Richard Rodgers.
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The first recorded version of the song to make the charts was by Hal McIntyre with vocals by Ruth Gaylor in 1945. It only appeared for one week and hit #16.
The song reemerged in the 1950s and was later performed by most of the jazz musicians and popular vocalists of the time including: Gerry Mulligan, Chet Baker, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Barbra Streisand, Bing Crosby, Miles Davis, Sarah Vaughan, Stan Getz, Paul Desmond, Tony Bennett, Ben Webster, Buddy Rich, Anita O'Day, Mel Tormé, Sammy Davis, Jr., Big Muff and many others.
The song made it to the top of the charts when Chet Baker released a very popular and influential version (released on the album My Funny Valentine / Blue Note Records). His soft, delicate and serene delivery introduced the world to Chet Baker's singing skills (he was previously known only for his trumpeting skills, also displayed on this recording). Baker is still associated more with "My Funny Valentine" than with any other of the long list of songs he recorded.
Baker's version of the song leaves out the introductory verse and begins with the chorus ("My funny Valentine, sweet comic valentine"). As a result, many subsequent version also skip the verse. The most notable exception to this rule are songs recorded from the many performances of the musicals Babes in Arms and (in the film version) Pal Joey. (The verse is clearly a female voice speaking about her man, giving male singers an additional reason to omit it.)
The B-section, or bridge, is a good example of the quirky approach of lyricist Hart. It begins with a series of accusatory, even rude questions that one wouldn't necessarily expect in a romantic tune. It quickly apologizes for the odd questions with assurances, and then ends with the romantic sentiments of the last two verses.
More about the Composer.
Richard Charles Rodgers (June 28, 1902 December 30, 1979) was an American composer of music for more than 900 songs and for 26 Broadway musicals. He also composed music for films and television. He is best known for his songwriting partnerships with the lyricists Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein II. His compositions have had a significant impact on popular music down to the present day, and have an enduring broad appeal.
Rodgers is one of only two persons to have won an Oscar, a Grammy, an Emmy, a Tony Award, and a Pulitzer Prize (Marvin Hamlisch is the other).
Born into a prosperous Jewish family in Arverne, Queens, New York City, Rodgers was the son of Mamie Levy and of Dr. William Abrahams Rodgers, a prominent physician who had changed the family name from Abrahams. Richard began playing the piano at age six. He attended P.S. 10, Townsend Harris Hall and DeWitt Clinton High School. Rodgers spent his early teenage summers in Camp Wigwam (Waterford, ME) where he composed some of his first songs. Rodgers, Lorenz Hart, and Rodgers's later collaborator Oscar Hammerstein II all attended Columbia University. During his time at Columbia he became a member of the Pi Lambda Phi fraternity. In 1921, Rodgers shifted his studies to the Institute of Musical Art (now Juilliard). Rodgers was influenced by composers like Victor Herbert and Jerome Kern, as well as by the operettas his parents took him to see on Broadway when he was a child.