This jazz standard was written by Walter Donaldson (music) and Gus Kahn (lyrics) for the 1930 film adaptation of the musical comedy Whoopee!
, where it was first performed by Eddie Cantor. Along with the film's "Makin' Whoopie
," it would become a signature tune for Cantor.
Peaking at #82 on the UK chart, this would be a minor hit for Nina Simone when it was included on her debut album, but it would later revitalize her career and introduce her to a new generation of fans when it was borrowed for a Chanel No. 5 ad in 1987. The re-released track, through Charly Records, would peak at #5 on the UK Singles Chart.
Simone, who always had a tenuous relationship with record labels, was too busy being outraged to enjoy her newfound popularity, claiming she didn't receive any royalties from the popular TV commercial. According to NME, she said of the negotiations in 1987: "They went behind my back and stole from each other like I was a slave. They took me and sold me from one record company to another because they couldn't deal with me openly!"
Aardman Animations produced a claymation music video to accompany the 1987 re-release, with Simone portrayed as a cat performing at a nightclub.
The entire Little Girl Blue album was recorded in one 14-hour session, with this song as the last to be recorded.
Edward Norton and Natasha Lyonne performed this in Woody Allen's 1996 musical comedy film Everyone Says I Love You.
This has also been recorded by Nat King Cole, Mel Torme, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Mary Wells, Amanda Lear, Dick Van Dyke, George Michael, and Cyndi Lauper.
Florence Welch, of Florence + the Machine, performed this with Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra for the New Year's Eve show Hootenanny in 2009.
Danny Thomas performed this on his TV series Make Room for Daddy with Marjorie Lord in the 1961 episode "Keeping Up with the Joneses."