Saturday, September 7, 1985

50 years ago: ”I’m in the Mood for Love” hit #1

I’m in the Mood for Love

Little Jack Little

Writer(s): Jimmy McHugh (music), Dorothy Fields (words) (see lyrics here)

First Charted: August 17, 1935

Peak: 13 US, 11 HP, 2 GA, 11 SM, 6 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 3.0 US

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 0.02 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Frances Langford introduced the song in the 1935 film Every Night at Eight and had a #15 hit with it. However, three other versions charted that year as well – Little Jack Little (#1), Louis Armstrong (#3), and Leo Reisman (#18). Eleven years later, Billy Eckstine brought the song back to the charts with his #12 version. PM It returned again in 1961 when the Chimes took it to #38.

The song has been recorded more than 500 times by a wide variety of artists, including Fats Domino, doo-wop group the Flamingos, Joni James, Liberace, Julie London, the McQuire Sisters, Charlie Parker, Les Paul, Oscar Peterson, and Roger Williams. MM The song may be best known for its use in the Little Rascals’ short “The Pinch Singer” (1936) in which Alfalfa and Darla each perform the song. It has come to be known as his signature song. WK The song was amusingly parodied in 1954 by Spike Jones and the City Slickers as “I’m in the Nude for Love.” DJ

The song also inspired the jazz standard “Moody’s Mood for Love.” Saxophonist James Moody recorded a jazz solo using the chords from “I’m in the Mood for Love” as the base for a new melody, which was also given new lyrics by Eddie Jefferson. Music critic Will Friedwald has said the record launched the new jazz movement of vocalese. SB

The song has also been sampled by rap artists Slick Rick (“Indian Girl (An Adult Story)”, 1988) and Prince Paul (“Mood for Love,” 1999). The song was also used in the Michael J. Fox film The Secret of My Success (1987) and the remake of Lolita (1997). WK It was also used in a 1980 episode of TV soap opera General Hospital in which characters Luke and Laura dance to an instrumental version of the song. WK


First posted 9/7/2016; last updated 2/26/2023.

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