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Al Jolson “You Made Me Love You (I Didn’t Want to Do It)”
Writer(s): Joseph McCarthy/ James Monaco (see lyrics here)
First charted: 9/20/1913
Peak: 17 US, -- UK (Click for codes to singles charts.)
Sales (in millions): 1.0 (sheet music) US, -- UK, 1.0 world (includes US and UK)
Radio Airplay (in millions): -- Video Airplay (in millions): --
Review: James Monaco, one of the songwriters, emigrated from Italy to the United States in the 1890s. He started out in Chicago as a self-taught ragtime pianist, billing himself as “Ragtime Jimmie.” LW-26 He then went to New York where he became a Tin Pan Alley songwriter. For this song, Monaco collaborated with lyricist Joe McCarthy (“I’m Always Chasing Rainbows,”) who wrote for Broadway shows in the 1920s and ‘30s. LW-26
The song is remembered for its chorus marked by its familiar melody. It is a “skillfully crafted lyric that perfectly matches its bluesy melody, and suited Jolson’s…capacity for melodrama.” LW-26 It was the first of two songs Monaco composed for Al Jolson. He also wrote “Dirty Hands, Dirty Face” which was featured in 1927’s The Jazz Singer.” LW-26
As “the world’s first talking picture” LW-26 The Jazz Singer, was a defining moment in cinematic history and Jolson’s career, but he made a name for himself beyond that movie. Born Asa Yoelson in St. Petersburg, Russia, Jolson grew up in Washington, D.C. and found success as a vaudeville performer. He first charted in 1912, but got off to a fast start. “You Made Me Love You” was only his fifth hit, but fourth #1. Over 35 years of chart success, he topped the chart 23 times. PM-233 However, it was this song which “was identified with him for the rest of his career.” JA-222
William J. Halley had a #6 hit with his 1913 recording of the song. It also charted in 1940 (Bing Crosby, #25) and again in 1941 (Harry James, #5). Judy Garland covered it for the film The Broadway Melody of 1938 (1937) and Jolson tackled it again in his biopic The Jolson Story (1946). Doris Day sang it in 1955 for the Ruth Etting biopic Love Me or Leave Me. Jeanette MacDonald recorded the song in 1948, Patsy Cline gave it her touches in the 1950s, and Harry Nilsson put his spin on it in 1973.
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.