“If I Had You”: a classic jazz standard which has had more covers than manholes in Brooklyn

TOM Lord’s Jazz Discography lists 553 recordings of that romantic love song “If I Had You”, and I’m sure Tom’s missed a few.

My favourite Irish singer who lives in Boronia, Tony Feehan, does a lovely version. Here Tony sings it at the Caulfield RSL with the Moonee Valley Jazz Band on Friday 4 November 2011, the last night of jazz at that establishment.

Wondering about the song’s origins, I find that it was written in 1928 by “Irving King” (James Campbell and Reginald Connelly) with Ted Shapiro. It has become a mainstream jazz standard, and continues to be performed and used in movie soundtracks into the 21st century.

The first recording listed in the Lord Discography was by the Ray Miller Orchestra in Chicago, September 1928. The next year Sam Lanin’s Dance Orchestra recorded it with that hopeful young crooner, Bing Crosby on vocals. The Dorsey brothers were sidemen.

While we’re on a 1920s kick, here’s Rudy Vallee in 1929.

Practically every other artist of note has had a go at it, including Al Bowlly. Nat King Cole, Bob Crosby, Jimmy Durante, Roy Eldridge, Judy Garland, Georgia Gibbs, Benny Goodman, Earl Hines, Diana Krall, Peggy Lee, Dean Martin, Carmen McRae, Les Paul, Oscar Peterson, Johnnie Ray, Pee Wee Russell, Artie Shaw, George Shearing, Dinah Shore, Frank Sinatra (he’s done it four or five times!), Teddy Wilson, Dinah Washington, and Sarah Vaughan.

Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli were early recorders of it.

Benny Goodman in Yokohama in 1980.

Another gypsy version, this time the Wawau Adler Trio with Wawau Adler (solo guitar), Holzmanno Winterstein (guitar), and Panscheli Lehmann (bass) filmed in Karlsruhe in 2010.

And finally here’s a banjo trio of Juergen Kulus (in the middle, Germany), Dick Martin (left, USA) and Tom Stuip (right, the Netherlands). More about Tom Stuip in another post to come soon.

One response to ““If I Had You”: a classic jazz standard which has had more covers than manholes in Brooklyn

  1. Great playing especially from the wonderful Tom Stuip on the right of the screen, check out Tom’s rendition of Love song of the Nile on youtube

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *