30/9/16 – Frank Sinatra – I Get Along Without You Very Well (Except Sometimes) – 1939/1971

Song Of The Day

franks-sinatra-i-get-along-without-you-very-well-1955As I sit in the archive listening to the soft rain fall outside, the autumn approaching, a chill in the air, I have been playing Frank Sinatra’s beautiful 1955 album, In The Wee Small Hours. Here Sinatra sings a song from the album, I Get Along Without You Very Well (Except Sometimes), to perfection at a live concert in 1971.

The song was written by songwriting legend Hoagy Carmichael in 1939 and was based on a poem by Jane Brown Thompson who died the night before it was aired on the radio. It has been recorded many times, three times in the year of release by Dick Todd and Charlie Barnett’s orchestras as well as most successfully by marimba star Red Norvo’s orchestra with vocals by Terry Allen and and most notably by Chet Baker in 1954, although it was released after Sinatra’s version in 1956. Nina Simone, Tony Bennet, Linda Ronstadt, Billie Holiday, Matt Monro, Peggy Lee, Dinah Shore, Mel Tormé, Frankie Lane, Carly Simon, Diana Krall, June Christy and even The Durutti Column have recorded the song.

Here, Sinatra calls it a “song for losers” perfectly capturing the despair in the lyrics in this effortless performance of a Nelson Riddle arrangement. He was 56 years old here and about to retire before returning to the spotlight two years later. One is reminded not only of his talent but also by the strength of his material.




I get along without you very well
Of course I do
Except when soft rains fall
And drip from leaves, then I recall
The thrill of being sheltered in your arms
Of course I do
But I get along without you very well

I’ve forgotten you just like I should
Of course I have
Except to hear your name or someone’s laugh
That is the same
But I’ve forgotten you just like I should

What a guy, what a fool am I
To think my breaking heart could kid the moon
What’s in store, should I phone once more?
No, it’s best that I stick to my tune

I get along without you very well
Of course I do
Except perhaps in spring, but I should
Never think of spring
For that would surely break my heart in two

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2 Responses to “30/9/16 – Frank Sinatra – I Get Along Without You Very Well (Except Sometimes) – 1939/1971”

  1. simone October 1, 2016 at 5:48 am #

    Except Sometimes

    I get along without you very well,
    Of course I do.
    Except sometimes when soft rain falls,
    And dripping off the trees recalls
    How you and I stood deep in mist
    One day far in the woods, and kissed.
    But now I get along without you – well,
    Of course I do,
    I really have forgotten you, I boast,
    Of course I have.
    Except when somone sings a strain
    Of song, then you are here again;
    Or laughs a way which is the same
    As yours; or when I hear your name.
    I really have forgotten you — almost.
    Of course I have.
    —Jane Brown-Thompson

    This is the poem that inspired Hoagy Carmichael. The story goes that a friend of Hoagy’s slipped him a page of Life Magazine (original magazine and not the better known version) where this poem had been published in 1924. He found it again some years later and felt inspired to write a song, but there was a problem: the author had only signed J. B.
    In 1938, in order to have the song released, Hoagy needed JB’s authorisation, but he had no idea where to find this person. Life Magazine had already been sold and they couldn’t help him. Instead, he launched a radio campaign, and two editors of the old magazine heard it and tracked J.B. down, who turned out to be a 72 year old widow called Jane Brown.
    Jane signed some documents and Hoagy was able to release the song to radio.

    • Marty Willson-Piper October 1, 2016 at 6:34 am #

      Thanks Simone, what a lovely story and sad she never heard it on the radio.

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