Click on a book to learn more about it.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

“They Didn’t Believe Me” hit #1: November 20, 1915

image from Wikimedia.org


Harry MacDonough & Olive Kline “They Didn’t Believe Me”


Writer(s): Herbert Reynolds/ Jerome Kern (see lyrics here)

First charted: 11/13/1915

Peak: 17 US, -- UK (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 2.0 (sheet music) US, -- UK, 2.0 world (includes US and UK)

Radio Airplay (in millions): -- Video Airplay (in millions): --


Review: Jerome Kern, best known for the landmark musical Show Boat, was “one of the most important pioneering composers of American Popular Song.” PS Born in New York City in 1885, Kern was the son of an upper-middle class family. He got a Master of Music degree at Germany’s Heidleberg University and started writing for Broadway shows by the time he was 19. PS

Over the next eight years, he wrote about 100 songs for roughly thirty Broadway musicals and wrote three full, unsuccessful musical scores. SS-353 He hit paydirt in 1914 with The Girl from Utah after several failed stage productions. He wrote eight songs for the adaptation of an English opera, one of which was “They Didn’t Believe Me.” It was Kern’s first hit song and “may well be his best,” PS marking his “graduation to the status of major composer from that of a ‘mere’ pop tunesmith.” SS-353

David Ewen said this song “stands out with beacon-like brilliance. Kern no longer submitted meekly to the song conventions of the day, but bent them to his own creative needs.” SS-353 The song is “a model for the “thirty-two bar Tin Pan Alley ballad that became standard for the time. While not exactly slangy it is written in a conversational tone, [such as] ‘And I’m cert’nly goin’ to tell them;’ it is almost spoken yet remains sung.” RCG

The song became a #1 song in 1915 in the hands of Harry MacDonough and Olive Kline. In 1916, Grace Kerns & Reed Miller took it to #8 and Walter Van Brunt & Gladys Rice reached #9. Morton Downey had a #15 hit with it in 1934. PM-594 Dinah Shore sang it in the 1946 Kern biopic Till the Clouds Roll By and Mario Lanza and Kathryn Grayson tackled it in the 1949 movie, That Midnight Kiss. PS Bing Crosby, Tommy Dorsey, Johnny Mercer, and Barbra Streisand were among the others who recorded the song. RCG


Resources and Related Links:

Note: Footnotes (raised letter codes) refer to sources frequently cited on the blog. Numbers following the letter code indicate page numbers. If the raised letter code is a link, it will go directly to the correct page instead of the home page of a website. You can find the sources and corresponding footnotes on the “Lists” page in the “Song Resources” section.


Award(s):


No comments:

Post a Comment