Friday, May 19, 2017

How many times did you leave heaven?

A friend has been singing the song "When Did You Leave Heaven?" at a local jam session off and on for a year or so, and while he is on vacation another friend gave it a try last week, so I decided to let Google and YouTube show me who has recorded it over the years. Amazing.

One of the YouTube comment threads claims it was the first song ever broadcast on television, from a 1937 recording by Lilly Fryer, which I did not find on YouTube. From various web posts, it looks like the song was introduced by Tony Martin in the movie "Sing Baby Sing" in 1936.

I composed this blog post on my phone with the latest version of the Blogger app, a rather clumsy editing process that I belatedly discovered did not make links automatically. I finally came back with a  computer to make YouTube addresses actual links.  (I did make a few of significant names direct links until I started going cross-eyed from doing it on the phone.) Stauffer & Toffel's 1936 German-accented version on Telefunken is culturally and historically fascinating. The song certainly has a way of jumping back and forth across cultural lines.

The dates are according to whoever posted the item at YouTube, or from a search, but may not be the first -- or last -- time the person recorded the song. 

Tony Martin -- 1936
Guy (& Carmen, vocal) Lombardo -- 1936

Red Allen -- 1936

Frances Langford -- 1936

Teddy Stauffer (Billy Toffel, vocal) -- 1936

Mel Powell orch. (w. Benny Goodman) -- 1942

Louis Armstrong -- 1957

Hank Crawford -- 1967

Eric Clapton -- 1978