My Funny Valentine
"My Funny Valentine" is a show tune from the 1937 Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart musical Babes in Arms in which it was introduced by former child star Mitzi Green. The song became a popular jazz standard, appearing on over 1300 albums performed by over 600 artists. In 2015 it was announced that the Gerry Mulligan quartet featuring Chet Baker's version of the song was inducted into the Library of Congress's National Recording Registry for the song's "cultural, artistic and/or historical significance to American society and the nation’s audio legacy". Gerry also recorded the song with his Concert Jazz Band in 1960.
|"My Funny Valentine"|
The song is usually performed in C Minor, although for vocalists the key of B Minor is fairly common. Frank Sinatra recorded the song in B Minor, and the theatrical version was also in B Minor. Ella Fitzgerald recorded the song in G Minor.
The song follows the following chord progression (in the key of C Minor):
- C-, C-maj7, C-7, C-6, A♭maj7, F-7, D-7(♭5), G7(♭9)
- ditto through to the F-7, then D♭9, B♭7(♭9)
- (bridge) E♭maj7, F-7, G-7, F-7, E♭maj7, F-7, G-7, F-7, E♭maj7, G7(♯5),C-,(B♭7,A7) A♭maj7, D-7(♭5) G7,
- C-, C-maj7, C-7, C-6, A♭maj7, D-7(♭5) G7(♭9), C-, B♭-7 A7, A♭maj7, F-7, B♭7(♭9), C-7 (preferred, or E♭maj7)
This simple and classic structure makes it easy to adapt to other genres and for jazz musicians to improvise over the established chords.
Babes in Arms opened at the Shubert Theatre on Broadway, in New York City on April 14, 1937 and ran for 289 performances. In the original play, a character named Billie Smith (played by Mitzi Green) sings the song to Valentine "Val" LaMar (played by Ray Heatherton). In the song, Billie pokes fun at some of Valentine's characteristics, but ultimately affirms that he makes her smile and that she doesn't want him to change (the song is often sung by a man to a woman, though to say that a woman's looks are "laughable" is anomalous).
Bing Crosby recorded the song in 1956 for use on his radio show and it was subsequently included in the box set The Bing Crosby CBS Radio Recordings (1954-56) issued by Mosaic Records (catalog MD7-245) in 2009.
- "National Recording Registry To "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive"". The Library of Congress. 25 March 2015. Archived from the original on 23 June 2016. Retrieved 25 March 2015.
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- Playbill from 1937 Babes in Arms theatrical performance.
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- Whitburn, Joel (1992). Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890-1954: The History of American Popular Music. Record Research, Inc. ISBN 0-89820-083-0. As cited in My Funny Valentine (1937), written, compiled, and published by jazzstandards.com.
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- Holbrook, Morris B. (2005). "The Ambi-Diegesis of "My Funny Valentine"". In Steve Lannin and Matthew Caley. Pop fiction: The Song in Cinema. Portland, OR: Intellect Books. pp. 48–62. ISBN 1-84150-078-X.
- Steyn, Mark (2014). "My Funny Valentine: Steyn's Song of the Week Extra". Adapted from A Song For The Season. Archived from the original on 2014-02-15.
- Studwell, William Emmett (1994). The Popular Song Reader: A Sampler of Well-Known Twentieth Century-Songs. Routledge. p. 127. ISBN 1-56024-369-4.