My melancholy baby

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My Melancholy Baby (also Melancholy Baby ) is a pop song that Ernie Burnett (1884-1959, music) Maybelle Watson and George A. Norton (1880-1923, lyrics) wrote and published in 1912. The song became a popular jazz standard from the 1930s . Representative for the year 1912, the music magazine Variety included the song in their lists Golden 100 Tin Pan Alley Song and Hit Parade of a Half Century .


Music sheet from My Melancholy Baby (1912)

The song My Melancholy Baby , written in E flat major , first appeared under the title Melancholy in 1911; the following year, George Norton revised the lyrics with the original lyrics by Maybelle E. Watson, Burnett's wife. The song first became popular in American vaudeville theaters, finally in 1915 with a first recording by Walter Van Brunt (Edison 3387). Alec Wilder praised the quality of the “well-formulated melody, highly unusual for the time, which is by no means routine work”. In 1940 Maybelle Watson won a lawsuit for her lyrics to copyright.

Comeback and further successes

In 1928 Gene Austin (Victor, with the orchestra of Nat Shilkret ) ensured a successful comeback of the number (# 3), followed by Al Bowlly (1935, # 20), Teddy Wilson / Ella Fitzgerald (1936, # 6), Bing Crosby (1939, # 14) and Sam Donahue (1947, # 5), who also hit the US charts with My Melancholy Baby in the 1930s and 40s .

Cover versions of the song

The musicians who covered the song from 1927 onwards included the Original Indiana Five (Banner), the Charleston Chasers (Columbia), the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra (Okeh), Paul Whiteman (Columbia), Jimmie Noone (Brunswick), the Levee Loungers ( Willard Robison , Pathé Actuelle) and Bix Beiderbecke . In Paris in 1939 the Quintette du Hot Club de France recorded him for Decca , in Zurich in 1943 Ernst Höllerhagen .

The discographer Tom Lord lists a total of 421 (as of 2015) cover versions in the field of jazz , among which the recordings by Dave Brubeck / Jimmy Rushing (1957), Lou Donaldson , Benny Goodman , Rebecca Kilgore and Charlie Parker ( Bird and Diz ) are to be highlighted, also the versions by Steve Allen , Ray Charles , Bill Evans , Burl Ives , John Serry senior for RCA Records (RCA Thesaurus, 1954), Thelonious Monk and Jerry Vale .

The song was used in numerous Hollywood film musicals such as East Side of Heaven (1939, directed by David Butler ), Swing It Soldier (1941, directed by Harold Young ), Birth of the Blues (1942, directed by Victor Schertzinger ), Follow the Band (1943 , Directed by Jean Yarbrough ), Minstrel Man (1944, directed by Joseph H. Lewis ), Billy Rose's Diamond Horseshoe (1945, directed by George Seaton ) and in A Star Is Born (1954). The song is sung by Patricia Lane in the gangster classic The Roaring Twenties (1939).

Web links

  • Inclusion in the catalog of the German National Library: DNB 35941544X

Individual evidence

  1. Short biography in the Internet Movie Database
  2. Biographical information in the IMDb
  3. a b c d Don Tyler: Hit Songs, 1900–1955: American Popular Music of the Pre-Rock Era . 2007, p. 157.
  4. a b c Tom Lord: Jazz discography (online)
  5. a b Information at
  6. A studio band with Red Nichols , Leo McConville (tp), Miff Mole (tb), Fud Livingston (cl, ts), Lennie Hayton (p, celeste), Carl Kress (git), Vic Berton (dr), Scrappy Lambert ( vcl).
  7. Recordings under the titles My Melancholy Baby and Melancholy Baby
  8. ^ Who Is Who in Music International 1958 . Publisher: Who Is Who in Music International, Chicago, Il, USA. Biographical File # B11719 for John Serry. Current publisher: International Biographical Center, Cambridgeshire, UK.
  9. Recorded April 30, 1941 at Minton's Playhouse ; see. Jan Bäumer: The Sound of a City ?: New York and Bebop 1941–1949 . 2014, page 125