Two Sleepy People

"Two Sleepy People" is a song written on September 10, 1938 by Hoagy Carmichael with lyrics by Frank Loesser.


The song "Thanks for the Memory", written for the February 1938 film The Big Broadcast of 1938 by Leo Robin and Ralph Rainger and performed by Bob Hope and Shirley Ross had proved very popular. Carmichael and Loesser were asked to write a new song for a follow-up film titled Thanks for the Memory. They came up with "Two Sleepy People" which was again sung by Hope and Ross.[1]

The song tells of a young couple in love, who, despite being sleepy, sit up together until dawn because they don't want to say good night and part. That sounds like a courting couple, but then the song goes on to assure us that they're married. Assuming that they don't have separate bedrooms, why would being in love keep them from just going to bed? Of course, it's not impossible that they just really enjoy sitting up and being in love, and it got to be a habit. Be that as it may, this looks suspiciously like a censorship issue, and as a song that debuted in a movie, it would be subject to the restrictions of the Production Code. One can conceive that, as conveyed in the first verse, the concept was originally to portray a courting couple who innocently sat up and couldn't bear to part, but this would be a red flag to the censors. Technically, they spent the night together, which would be too racy for the public's tender ears. Later on, in 1957, the Everly Brothers' "Wake Up, Little Susie" was banned in Boston, because it told of a dating couple who fell asleep at the movies and would be scandalously late coming home. Never mind that they were just sitting in a theater, they were together there, and they were asleep, so technically they slept together. In 1938 the Two Sleepy People couldn't decently sit up all night together if single, so they had to be married, and the story adjusted accordingly, even if it didn't make quite as much sense. Despite this it had great appeal and certainly caught on.[2]

The song was an immediate hit with the version by Fats Waller being the most popular. Other hit versions in 1938 were by Sammy Kaye & His Orchestra (vocal by Charlie Wilson), Kay Kyser & His Orchestra (vocals by Ginny Simms and Harry Babbitt), Bob Crosby & His Orchestra (vocals by Bob Crosby and Marian Mann), Hoagy Carmichael & Ella Logan, and by Lawrence Welk & His Orchestra (vocal by Walter Bloom). The version by Bob Hope and Shirley Ross was also popular in 1939. [3]

Other notable coversEdit

The song has been performed and recorded by a number of artists including Al Bowlly, Bing Crosby & Marilyn Maxwell, Sammy Davis Jr. & Carmen McRae, Art Garfunkel, Vince Jones, Julie London, Dean Martin & Line Renaud, Silje Nergaard, Jack Pleis, Carly Simon & John Travolta, Peter Skellern, Hank Jones, Helen Forrest (with Artie Shaw) and a duet with Alice Babs and Ulrik Neumann and Carsie Blanton, and another duet by Seth MacFarlane and Norah Jones.

It was also performed on the short-lived variety show with Twiggy, the former model, and Jeremy Brett, renowned for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes.

The song was performed by Dorothy Lamour on the October 30, 1938 broadcast of the Chase and Sanborn Hour radio program.[citation needed]

It was recorded by Philip and Vanessa in 1974 and was included in their album Two Sleepy People.


  1. ^ Furia, Philip (2006). America's Songs: The Stories Behind the Songs of Broadway, Hollywood, and Tin Pan Alley. Abingdon, UK: Taylor & Francis. p. 155. ISBN 0415990521.
  2. ^ "". Retrieved February 17, 2019.
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1986). Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890-1954. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 500. ISBN 0-89820-083-0.