One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)

One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)

"One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)" is a popular song written by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer for the musical The Sky's the Limit (1943) and first performed in the film by Fred Astaire. It was popularized by the American singer Frank Sinatra. "One for My Baby" is the theme song of the 1957-1958 NBC detective series, Meet McGraw, starring Frank Lovejoy.[1]

Fred Astaire dancing on a bar counter in "One for My Baby" from The Sky's the Limit (RKO Radio Pictures, 1943)

Harold Arlen described the song as "another typical Arlen tapeworm" - a "tapeworm" being the trade slang for any song which went over the conventional 32 bar length[citation needed]. He called it "a wandering song. [Lyricist] Johnny [Mercer] took it and wrote it exactly the way it fell. Not only is it long - forty-eight bars - but it also changes key. Johnny made it work."[2] In the opinion of Arlen's biographer, Edward Jablonski, the song is "musically inevitable, rhythmically insistent, and in that mood of 'metropolitan melancholic beauty' that writer John O'Hara finds in all of Arlen's music."[2]

Sinatra recorded the song several times during his career: In 1947 with Columbia Records, in 1954 for the soundtrack to the film Young At Heart, in 1958 for Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely, in 1962 for Sinatra & Sextet: Live in Paris, in 1966 for Sinatra at the Sands and finally, in 1993, for his Duets album.

Recordings

Countless renditions of "One For My Baby..." have been performed. The following is a list of notable/well-known versions which have been recorded thus far:

In film and television

  • Jane Russell sings it, wearing a metallic evening gown, in the Josef von Sternberg/Nicholas Ray film noir Macao (1952).
  • In the Twilight Zone episode "The Four of Us Are Dying", a woman sings a portion of the tune in a hotel lounge.
  • The song was by sung by Bette Midler to Johnny Carson on the penultimate night of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Both Midler and Carson got caught up in the emotion of the song, and a heretofore unused camera angle on the set framed the two and the performance. It earned Midler that year's Emmy Award (1992) for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program. The lyrics were adapted to suit the occasion - such as "And John I know you're getting anxious to close".[6]
  • Dianne Reeves' rendition of the song is featured throughout the closing credits of George Clooney's Good Night, and Good Luck (2005), and is available on the film's official soundtrack album.
  • A piano rendition of the song is played in the background of a bar scene following the protagonist's wife leaving him in the film Invincible (2006).
  • In the film Road House (1948), starring Richard Widmark, Ida Lupino and Cornel Wilde, Lupino played a saloon piano player and singer. The song she sang, or talked, was "One for my baby and one more for the road."
  • In the Vincent Price film The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971), the song (sung by Scott Peters) was "performed" by "Dr. Phibes' Clockwork Wizards".
  • Mary sings an a cappella version to Lou as a semi-audition for a talent show on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
  • In Stephen King's TV version of The Shining (1997) - song is played in a bar scene near the end of the movie. Song is being played on a jukebox and the artist is unknown.
  • Some of this song was sung solo by "Gramoo Sultenfuss" on "My Girl" when the senile grandmother interrupts a funeral.
  • An upcoming episode of the USA Network tv show White Collar features characters Neal Caffrey and June, played by Matthew Bomer and Diahann Carroll singing a duet. Billy Dee Williams accompanies them on the piano.

References

  1. ^ "’’Meet McGraw’’". Classic TV Archives. http://ctva.biz/US/Crime/MeetMcGraw.htm. Retrieved September 9, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b Billman, Larry (1997). Fred Astaire - A Bio-bibliography. Connecticut: Greenwood Press. p. 115. ISBN 0-313-29010-5. 
  3. ^ "When I Fall in Love overview". Allmusic.com. http://www.allmusic.com/album/r709152. 
  4. ^ "An evening with Chris Botti". Allmusic.com. http://blastmagazine.com/the-magazine/entertainment/music/2010/05/an-evening-with-chris-botti/. 
  5. ^ Allmusic|Allmusic.com
  6. ^ Shaiman, Marc. "Someone in a Tree: My View of Johnny Carson's Last Night." The Film Music Society. 24 January 2005.

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