My Gal Sal

Album: The Jazz Singer (1905)


  • Also known as "They Call Her Frivolous Sal," this 1905 song by Paul Dresser has the distinction of being the first song ever performed in a motion picture film. This was of course The Jazz Singer which was released October 6, 1927.

    Dresser died in 1906 so had no idea his work would be so honored. In the film it is sung briefly (and ostensibly) by the teenage Robert Gordon, although it is dubbed by an unknown singer.
  • Since its first publication at New York in 1905, "My Gal Sal" has been republished a number of times including around 1960, and has also been fairly widely recorded. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 2
  • In 1942, a musical film based on Paul Dresser's life called My Gal Sal was released. Victor Mature played Dresser.
  • This an upbeat song about a guy who is looking forward to seeing his girl again. He sings her praises, calling her a "wild sort of devil, but dead on the level."

    The song is usually performed with one verse sandwiched between two repetitions of the chorus, but Dresser wrote a second, rarely heard verse, which reveals that Sal is dead:

    Brought her little dainties just afore she died
    Promised she would meet me on the other side
    Told her how I love her, she said,
    "I know Jim, just do your best, leave the rest to Him"

    Gently I pressed her to my breast
    Soon she would take her last, long rest
    She looked at me and murmured, "Pal"
    And softly I whispered "Goodbye, Sal"
  • Bobby Darin covered this song on his 1960 album This Is Darin. Benny Goodman did a popular instrumental version of the song.


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss): A History Of Abuse PopSong Writing

Songs that seem to glorify violence against women are often misinterpreted - but not always.

John Lee HookerSongwriter Interviews

Into the vaults for Bruce Pollock's 1984 conversation with the esteemed bluesman. Hooker talks about transforming a Tony Bennett classic and why you don't have to be sad and lonely to write the blues.

Deconstructing Doors Songs With The Author Of The Doors ExaminedSong Writing

Doors expert Jim Cherry, author of The Doors Examined, talks about some of their defining songs and exposes some Jim Morrison myths.

Janis Ian: Married in London, but not in New YorkSong Writing

Can you be married in one country but not another? Only if you're part of a gay couple. One of the first famous singers to come out as a lesbian, Janis wrote a song about it.

Motley CrueFact or Fiction

Was Dr. Feelgood a dentist? Did the "Crüecifixion" really happen?

Top American Idol Moments: Songs And ScandalsSong Writing

Surprise exits, a catfight and some very memorable performances make our list of the most memorable Idol moments.