Won't You Play A Simple Melody

Album: Great American Composers (1914)
  • songfacts ®
  • Artistfacts ®
  • The title of this song has no question mark, and its punchline is that it is anything but a simple melody. When Barry Manilow presented a programme about Irving Berlin for BBC Radio in 2011 - part of a series on American songwriters - he said this piece, which Berlin wrote in 1914, was the first of his famous double songs, ie it is in counterpoint like "You're Just In Love" which he wrote three and a half decades later.
  • Also known as "Play A Simple Melody," it is written in 4/4 time, was published by Berlin himself, and appeared in Watch Your Step, Berlin's first musical. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 2
  • Walter Van Brunt and Mary Carson recorded a popular version in 1915, followed by Elsie Baker (aka Edna Brown) and Billy Murray the following year.
  • This was resurrected in 1950 with a string of hit covers. Gary Crosby peaked at #2 when he recorded a version with his dad, Bing. Jo Stafford landed at #18, followed by Georgia Gibbs & Bob Crosby at #25, and Phil Harris at #30.
  • Ethel Merman and Dan Dailey sang this in the 1954 tribute film to Irving Berlin, There's No Business Like Show Business.
Please sign in or register to post comments.


Be the first to comment...

The Real Nick DrakeSong Writing

The head of Drake's estate shares his insights on the late folk singer's life and music.

Lajon Witherspoon of SevendustSongwriter Interviews

The Sevendust frontman talks about the group's songwriting process, and how trips to the Murder Bar helped forge their latest album.

Ian Anderson: "The delight in making music is that you don't have a formula"Songwriter Interviews

Ian talks about his 3 or 4 blatant attempts to write a pop song, and also the ones he most connected with, including "Locomotive Breath."

Guy ClarkSongwriter Interviews

Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris and Lyle Lovett are just a few of the artists who have looked to Clark for insightful, intelligent songs.

Lou Gramm - "Waiting For A Girl Like You"They're Playing My Song

Gramm co-wrote this gorgeous ballad and delivered an inspired vocal, but the song was the beginning of the end of his time with Foreigner.

Yoko OnoSongwriter Interviews

At 80 years old, Yoko has 10 #1 Dance hits. She discusses some of her songs and explains what inspired John Lennon's return to music in 1980.