Friday, May 30, 2003

50 years ago: Jackie Gleason hit #1 for 1st of 23 weeks

First posted 4/6/2008; updated 9/29/2020.

Music for Lovers Only

Jackie Gleason

Charted: January 17, 1953

Peak: 123 US, -- UK, -- CN, -- AU

Sales (in millions): 0.5 US, -- UK, 0.5 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: orchestral pop


Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Alone Together (Arthur Schwartz, Howard Dietz) [3:05]
  2. My Funny Valentine (Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart) [3:22]
  3. But Not for Me (George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin) [2:49]
  4. Love (Your Spell Is Everywhere) (Edmund Goulding, Elsie Janis) [2:41]
  5. I’m in the Mood for Love (Jimmy McHugh, Dorothy Fields) [3:30]
  6. Love Is Here to Stay (George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin) [3:22]
  7. I Only Have Eyes for You (Al Dubin, Harry Warren) [3:19]
  8. Body and Soul (Johnny Green, Ed Heyman, Robert Sau, Frank Eyton) [3:16]

    Added to the 1953 12” LP:

  9. Little Girl [3:22]
  10. I Cover the Waterfront [3:42]
  11. Some Day [3:26]
  12. If I Had You [3:30]
  13. When a Man Loves a Woman [2:26]
  14. A Stranger in Town [2:44]
  15. There Ought to Be a Moonlight Saving Time [2:27]
  16. My Love for Carmen [3:20]

Total Running Time: 50 minutes


4.154 out of 5.00 (average of 10 ratings)

Quotable: One can practically “smell cigarette smoke mingled with perfume and champagne.” –


About the Album:

While known mostly as a comedic actor, Jackie Gleason also released a series of orchestral “mood music” albums (i.e. “background music for making out on the couch” SA) in the ‘50s and ‘60s. He couldn’t read or write music SA and was neither a composer nor conductor in the traditional sense, but had a deep music appreciation and took an active hand in the music that appeared in his television shows. PD He often sat at the piano “painstakingly working on melodies one note at a time while a musical director took notes and translated.” PD

His first album was Music for Lovers Only, originally released as a 10”, eight-song LP in 1952. It was expanded to a 12” in 1953 and eight more tracks were added. JG “Listeners liked how Gleason smoothed down the tunes.” SA It was a massively successful collection which spent three years on the Billboard album chart, including more than five months at #1.

Gleason’s work is now “viewed more often as collective kitsch than as music to be enjoyed on its own merits,” PD but it “is perfectly enjoyable. It’s vintage orchestral pop, neatly arranged and played with professionalism.” PD When listening to it, one can practically “smell cigarette smoke mingled with perfume and champagne.” PD The liner notes, if not the album cover itself, make it clear that was exactly Gleason’s intent in describing the “entrancing setting” for his music as “a wisp of cigarette smoke in the soft lamplight, the tinkle of a glass, a hushed whisper.” JG Gleason said, “The only thing better than one of my songs is one of my songs with a glass of scotch.” SA

The album features jazz cornetist Bobby Hackett, who worked with Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman in the ‘30s and ‘40s. PD “Highlights include My Funny Valentine, I’m in the Mood for Love, and I Only Have Eyes for You,” JG the latter of which became a huge doo-wop hit later in the decade. Earlier versions of “I’m in the Mood for Love” and Body and Soul are featured in the DMDB book The Top 100 Songs of the Pre-Rock Era, 1890-1953.

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