One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)
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"One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)" is a hit song written by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer for the movie musical The Sky's the Limit (1943) and first performed in the film by Fred Astaire. It was further popularized by Frank Sinatra.
|"One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)"|
Sheet music cover
|Song by Arlen and Mercer|
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. 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." 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."
Sinatra recorded the song several times during his career: In 1947 with Columbia Records, in 1954 for the film soundtrack album 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. At a Johnny Carson-hosted Rat Pack concert at the Kiel Opera House in St. Louis in 1965, Sammy Davis Jr., backed by Quincy Jones conducting the Count Basie Orchestra, performed the song imitating the styles of successively Fred Astaire, Nat 'King' Cole, Billy Eckstine, Vaughn Monroe, Tony Bennett, Mel Torme, Frankie Laine, Louis Armstrong, an inebriated Dean Martin, and Jerry Lewis.
Countless renditions of "One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)" have been performed. The following is a list of notable/well-known versions which have been recorded thus far:
- Fred Astaire (1943) – 4:59 – Available on Somewhere Over the Rainbow: The Golden Age of Hollywood Musicals and Hollywood's Best: The 40's
- Johnny Mercer (1946) – 3.09 – Available on Capitol Collector's Series
- Frank Sinatra (1947) – 3:07 – Available on The Essential Frank Sinatra: The Columbia Years
- Cab Calloway (1951) – 3:20 – As a single, with Shot Gun Boogie; available on Hi-De-Ho and Other Movies (2004)
- Frankie Laine (1951) – 3:39 – On "One For My Baby" and available on The Legend at His Best
- Harold Arlen (1952) – 4:15 – Available on Too Marvelous For Words: Capitol Sings Johnny Mercer
- Marlene Dietrich (1954) – 4:07 – Available on Love Songs
- Frank Sinatra (1954) – 4:05 – Recorded for the soundtrack to the film Young at Heart; available on Frank Sinatra in Hollywood 1940–1964
- Harry James (1955) - 3:38 – Available on Jazz Session (Columbia CL 669)
- Tony Bennett (1957) – 3:10 – A chart single, recorded live; a later studio version appeared in 1992 on Perfectly Frank
- Billie Holiday (1957) – 5:42 – Available on Songs for Distingué Lovers
- Lena Horne (1957) – 3:24 – Available on Bluebird's Best: The Young Star
- Della Reese (1957) – 4:02 – On Melancholy Baby; available on The Singles Collection 1955-1962
- Harry Belafonte (1958) – 4:34 – Available on Belafonte Sings the Blues
- Frank Sinatra (1958) – 4:23 – Available on Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely; a piano-only rehearsal version is available on The Capitol Years box set
- Fred Astaire (1959) - 3:02 – Available originally on Now [Kapp 1165 / 3049]
- Jula De Palma (1959) – 3:24 – On "Buone Vacanze", available on Jula in Jazz 2
- Julie London (1959) – 4.10 – Available on Your Number Please
- Perry Como (1960) – 3:45 – Available on the long play record So Smooth
- Ella Fitzgerald (1960) – 4:18 – Available on Ella Fitzgerald Sings Songs from Let No Man Write My Epitaph
- Ella Fitzgerald (1961) – 3:58 – Available on Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Harold Arlen Songbook
- Etta James (1961) – 3:26 – Available on The Second Time Around
- Wes Montgomery (1961) – 7:38 - Available on SO Much Guitar!
- Chuck Berry (1965) – 2:44 – Available on Fresh Berry's
- Marvin Gaye (1966) – 4:31 – Available on Moods of Marvin Gaye
- Frank Sinatra (1966) – 4:40 – (live version) – Available on Sinatra at the Sands
- Sammy Davis, Jr. (1967) – 10:20 – On the live album That's All!
- Bing Crosby (1968) - 3.30 - Available on Bing Crosby's Treasury - The Songs I Love (1968 version)
- Lou Rawls (1968) – 4:25 – On You're Good To Me; Later available on Great Gentlemen of Song: Spotlight on Lou Rawls
- Johnny Mercer (1974) – 3:58 – Available on My Huckleberry Friend
- Willie Nelson (1979) – 2:36 – Available on Willie & Leon: One For the Road
- Susannah McCorkle (1981) – 4:12 – On The Songs of Johnny Mercer
- Iggy Pop (1981) – 4:05 – Available on Party
- Rosemary Clooney (1983) – 3:46 – On Rosemary Clooney Sings the Music of Harold Arlen
- Rob Wasserman and Lou Reed (1988) – 4:06 – On Duets
- Lou Reed (1989) – 5:40 – On Live n London; available on New York in L.A.
- Bette Midler (1992) – 4:06 – Available on Experience The Divine: Greatest Hits (1993)
- Kenny G featuring Frank Sinatra (1997) - 6:08 – On Kenny G – Greatest Hits; paired with an instrument intro of Sinatra's "All the Way"
- Iggy Pop (1997) – 6:04 (live version) – Available on Heroin Hates You
- Linda Eder (1999) – 4:27 – On It's No Secret Anymore
- Laura Fygi (1999) – 5:59 (live version) – On Laura Fygi's Tunes of Passion
- Frank Stallone (1999) – 4:31 – Available on Soft And Low
- Robbie Williams (2001) – 4:15 – Available on Swing When You're Winning
- Danny Aiello (2004) -- On I Just Wanted to Hear the Words
- Chris Botti (2004) – 4:53 – On When I Fall in Love
- Joe Longthorne (2005) – 4:26 – On Perfect Love
- Mina (2005) – Available on L'allieva
- Nana Mouskouri (2005) – 3:15 – Available on I'll remember you
- Dianne Reeves (2005) – 3:50 – On Good Night, and Good Luck (Original Soundtrack)
- Toots Thielemans with Jamie Cullum (2006) - - Available on One More for the Road 2006. Verve
- Sylvia Brooks (2009) – Available on Dangerous Liaisons
- Tony Bennett & John Mayer (2011) – 2:58 – on Duets II
- Hugh Laurie (2013) – Available on Didn't It Rain
- Laura Dickinson (2014) – 4:29 – Available on One For My Baby - To Frank Sinatra With Love)
- Trisha Yearwood (2018) - Available on her Frank Sinatra tribute album Let's Be Frank
- Willie Nelson (2018) - Available on his Frank Sinatra tribute album My Way
In film and televisionEdit
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- Ida Lupino sings it as the new talent from Chicago at Jefty's Road House in Jean Negulesco's Road House (1948), prompting a character to remark: "She does more without a voice than anybody I've ever heard." 
- A piano version of the song can be heard in the background in the Rocky's scene toward the end of Youth Runs Wild (1944). Arlen and Mercer are not credited.
- Jane Russell sings it, wearing a metallic evening gown, in the Josef von Sternberg/Nicholas Ray film noir Macao (1952).
- The song plays prominently in the 1954 adventure-mystery film Dangerous Mission, in which it is played on a piano by a gangster who is killed. The only people who know what song he was playing at the time of the murder are his assailant and a witness (Piper Laurie), whom the killer is after.
- "One for My Baby" is the theme song of the 1957–1958 NBC detective series, Meet McGraw, starring Frank Lovejoy.
- The song was by sung by Bette Midler to Johnny Carson on the penultimate night of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (May 21, 1992). 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 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".
- 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.
- Frank Sinatra's cover of the song recently appeared in Blade Runner 2049.
- In November 2017, Bono and Chris Martin performed the song on a Jimmy Kimmel Live! fundraiser special for World AIDS Day.
- Frank Sinatra's cover of the song is used in a sequence in the 10th episode of the 2nd season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
- Gilliland, John (1994). Pop Chronicles the 40s: The Lively Story of Pop Music in the 40s (audiobook). ISBN 978-1-55935-147-8. OCLC 31611854. Tape 1, side A.
- Alcorn, Josh (1997). walked on highway and died. Connecticut: Greenwood Press. p. 115. ISBN 0-313-29010-5.
- One for My Baby at AllMusic
- "One for My Baby - To Frank Sinatra with Love by Laura Dickinson on Apple Music". Itunes.apple.com. 2014-12-12. Retrieved 2016-07-26.
- "Ida Lupino". IMDb.
- "Meet McGraw". Classic TV Archives. Retrieved September 9, 2009.
- Shaiman, Marc. "Someone in a Tree: My View of Johnny Carson's Last Night." The Film Music Society. 24 January 2005.
- Zoller Seitz, Matthew. "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Isn't Just a Feel-Good Show". Vulture. Retrieved January 3, 2018.