I Can't Give You Anything but Love, Baby

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This article is about the song. For the film, see I Can't Give You Anything but Love, Baby (film).
"I Can't Give You Anything but Love, Baby"
Jazz standard by Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields
Released 1928
Recorded 1928
Genre Jazz
Writer Dorothy Fields
Composer Jimmy McHugh
Producer Jimmy McHugh

"I Can't Give You Anything but Love" is an American popular song and jazz standard by Jimmy McHugh (music) and Dorothy Fields (lyrics). The song was introduced by Adelaide Hall at Les Ambassadeurs Club in New York in January 1928 in Lew Leslie's Blackbird Revue, which opened on Broadway later that year as the highly successful Blackbirds of 1928 (518 performances), wherein it was performed by Adelaide Hall, Aida Ward, and Willard McLean.

Background[edit]

Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields had already completed the score for their Broadway revue Blackbirds of 1928. However, they still missed one song and it could not be an ordinary production, since the set list where it would be included needed a "smash" tune. The team pondered for a long time but could not come up with anything. One evening, while walking down Fifth Avenue, they saw an young couple window-shopping at Tiffany's. McHugh and Fields understood that the couple did not have the resources to buy jewelry from Tiffany's, but nevertheless they drew closer to them. It was then they heard the man say, "Gee, honey I'd like to get you a sparkler like that, but right now, i can't give you nothin' but love!" Hearing this, McHugh and Fields rushed to a nearby Steinway Tunnel, and within an hour they came up with "I Can't Give You Anything but Love, Baby".[1]

Some controversy surrounds the song's authorship. Andy Razaf biographer Harry Singer offers circumstantial evidence that suggests Fats Waller might have sold the melody to McHugh in 1926 and that the lyrics were by Andy Razaf.[2] Alternatively, Philip Furia has pointed out that Fields' verse is almost identical to the end of the second verse of Lorenz Hart's and Richard Rodgers' song "Where's That Rainbow?" from Peggy-Ann, the 1926 musical comedy with book by Fields' brother Herbert and produced by their father Lew:[3]

Use in the Media[edit]

Notable recorded versions[edit]

The song has been covered by many artists, including:

Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga version[edit]

"I Can't Give You Anything but Love"
Single by Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga
from the album Cheek to Cheek
Released August 19, 2014
Format Digital download
Genre Jazz
Length 3:13
Label
Writer(s) Dorothy Fields
Tony Bennett singles chronology
  • "I Can't Give You Anything but Love"
  • (2014)
Lady Gaga singles chronology
  • "I Can't Give You Anything but Love"
  • (2014)

Background and composition[edit]

Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga first met backstage in 2011 after she had performed a rendition of Nat King Cole's "Orange Colored Sky", at the Robin Hood Foundation gala in New York City.[44] Thereafter Bennett asked Gaga to sing a duet with him on his upcoming album. They finally recorded "The Lady Is a Tramp" for his Grammy Award-winning album, Duets II, and subsequently confirmed the release of a collaborative jazz album, titled Cheek to Cheek, in 2014.[45] Although the project was in development and discussions were taking place as early as September 2012, the recording did not start until the Spring of 2013, being delayed by Gaga's hip surgery and cancellation of her Born This Way Ball tour.[44]

The recording took place over a year in New York City, and featured jazz musicians associated with both artists. Bennett's quartet was present, including Mike Renzi, Gray Sargent, Harold Jones and Marshall Wood as well as pianist Tom Lanier. Along with Evans, jazz trumpeter Brian Newman, a long-time friend and colleague of Gaga, played on the album with his New York City based jazz quintet. Tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano and flautist Paul Horn were also enlisted as musicians. The songs were handpicked by Bennett and Gaga; they selected tracks from the Great American Songbook including "I Can't Give You Anything but Love", "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)", "Sophisticated Lady", "Lush Life", and the title track, "Cheek to Cheek".[45] The version of "I Can't Give You Anything but Love" on Cheek to Cheek has Gaga and Bennett alternating verses alongside piano, a brass section and drums.[46] She also altered the lyrics to sing "Gee, I'd like to say you're looking swell, Tony", who later rejoins with the line "Diamond bracelets won't work, doesn't sell, Gaga".[47]

Release and reception[edit]

"I Can't Give You Anything but Love" was released as the second single from the album on August 19, 2014. Gaga announced the release on Twitter, accompanied by the single's cover art.[48] A reviewer from The Honesty Hour said that "I Can't Give You Anything but Love" was a stronger release as a single than its predecessor from the album, "Anything Goes".[49] Jeff Benjamin from Fuse was positive in his review, saying that "[t]here's a walking bassline, gospel organs and brassy horn blasts to back the pair's soulful crooning. And while we love listening to Gaga and Tony, we really get into the throwback vibe when the trumpet solo kicks in.[50] Jesse David Fox from New York also gave a positive review, stating that "lot has been written about the creative and commercial shortcomings of Gaga's last record, [Artpop], but I, for one, am glad about its failure — because anything that frees her up to record more music with Tony Bennett is a win in my book. 'I Can't Give You Anything but Love' is a great example; Tony Bennett might be 88, but it's Gaga who hasn't sounded this alive in years."[51] Trey Barrineau from USA Today complimented the duos vocals, saying that the song "really swings".[52] A writer for Next Magazine declared that Gaga sounded "absolutely stellar" in the song, and found it to be a "vocal vehicle" for the artist to "show off" her singing.[53] Debra Kamin from The Times of Israel praised Gaga's vocals on "I Can't Give You Anything but Love", for her range and control.[54] After its release, "I Can't Give You Anything but Love" debuted at number-one on the Jazz Digital Songs chart of Billboard, on the week ending September 6, 2014. It was the second song from Cheek to Cheek to top the chart, following previous single, "Anything Goes".[55]

Music video and promotion[edit]

An official music video for the song was released on August 26, 2014. The video was shot in the recording studio and the first half showed Gaga in numerous outfits and wigs, while recording the song and roaming around. Bennett joins the studio sessions later on, singing the song. The final chorus finds the two singers belting together, described as "join[ing] forces for a peculiar, yet potent blend of styles that transcends generations and genres". Jon Blistein from Rolling Stone complimented the video, saying that it "proves [Gaga and Bennett] exude a unique, adorable brand of musical chemistry".[56] Maurice Bobb from MTV News noticed the "bare essence" of the duo in the video and added that Gaga appeared "overwhelmingly subdued", but felt that "her playful energy still shines through as she preens and shimmies to [Bennett's] smooth crooning."[57] Nolan Feeney from Time that Gaga appeared normal in the video and added that "she’s still fun to watch even when she’s just hanging out in the vocal both (and dressed like a relatively normal human, no less)."[58] Katie Atkinson from Billboard declared that "If you love the adorable friendship between glam pop queen Lady Gaga and classic crooner Tony Bennett, you'll definitely want to see the breezy behind-the-scenes studio video of the pair for 'I Can't Give You Anything but Love'."[59] Idolator's Mike Wass described the video in detail, calling it the "perfect antidote for Gaga's overwhelming, more-is-more Artpop visuals... The swingin' standard is a nice fit for Gags and Tony. It allows them to riff off each other and ham it up (ever so slightly). Those shenanigans are captured in the studio-based video, which finds Mother Monster modeling a variety of wigs and smoking a cigar. Her suave companion looks a little bemused but he's clearly having a good time."[60] Gaga and Bennett also starred in a commercial for retail company H&M, which would feature the song. The artists announced the news on Instagram.[61]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from "I Can't Give You Anything but Love" digital metadata notes per iTunes Store.[62]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2014) Peak
position
France (SNEP)[63] 173
US Jazz Digital Songs (Billboard)[64] 1

References[edit]

  1. ^ Burton, Jack (May 27, 1950). "The Honor Roll of Popular Songwriters: No. 62 — Jimmy McHugh". Billboard (William H. Donaldson): 42. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  2. ^ "I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby" at Jazz Standards
  3. ^ Furia, Philip (1990). The Poets of Tin Pan Alley: A History of America's Great Lyricists. Oxford University Press. pp. 216–17. ISBN 978-0195074734. 
  4. ^ a b Columbia Records in the 38000 to 38499 series
  5. ^ a b c OKeh Records in the 8500 to 8966 series
  6. ^ a b c d e OKeh Records in the 41000 to 41499 series
  7. ^ Video on Youtube from the 1943 movie "Jam Session" on YouTube
  8. ^ Ricky Riccardi, "80 Years of "I Can't Give You Anything But Love"
  9. ^ a b c d Victor Records in the 21500 to 21999 series
  10. ^ Vocalion Records in the 15500 to 15999 series
  11. ^ Disc Records discography
  12. ^ Vocalion Records in the 1000 to 1499 series
  13. ^ Variety Records released in 1937
  14. ^ a b c Harmony Records in the 1001P to 2027P series
  15. ^ a b Supertone Records in the 1001P to 2027P series
  16. ^ Montgomery Ward Records in the 4500 to 5041 series
  17. ^ Victor Records in the 25500 to 25900 series
  18. ^ Columbia Records in the 36500 to 36999 series
  19. ^ a b Supertone Records in the 9000 to 9498 series
  20. ^ a b c d Brunswick Records in the 4000 to 4499 series
  21. ^ a b Challenge Records in the 500 to 999 series
  22. ^ a b Banner Records in the 7000 to 7265 series
  23. ^ a b Jewel Records in the 5000 to 5499 series
  24. ^ Prestige Records discography, 1933 to 1948
  25. ^ Swing Records discography
  26. ^ Decca Records in the 27500 to 27999 series
  27. ^ Capitol Records in the 500 to 999 series
  28. ^ Capitol Records in the 10000 to 10210 series
  29. ^ a b Dean Martin 78 rpm discography on the Dean Martin fan site
  30. ^ a b Dean Martin 45 rpm discography on the Dean Martin fan site
  31. ^ a b c Brunswick Records in the 6500 to 6999 series
  32. ^ RCA Victor Records in the 20-3500 to 20-3999 series
  33. ^ Mercury Records in the 8000 to 8310 series
  34. ^ a b Vocalion Records in the 3500 to 3999 series
  35. ^ Mercury Records in the 89000 to 89098 series
  36. ^ Clef Records catalog
  37. ^ Discovery Records discography
  38. ^ Commodore Records in the series
  39. ^ US Decca Records in the 18000 to 18499 series
  40. ^ Conqueror Records in the 9500 to 9960 series
  41. ^ a b Vocalion Records in the 500 to 5499 series
  42. ^ a b Columbia Records in the 37500 to 37999 series
  43. ^ a b Vocalion Records in the 3000 to 3499 series
  44. ^ a b Grow, Kory (July 29, 2014). "Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett Detail 'Magnificent' Collection of Duets". Rolling Stone (Jann Wenner). Retrieved July 31, 2014. 
  45. ^ a b "Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga: Cheek to Cheek Album of Classic Jazz Standards To Be Released September 23" (Press release). Toronto: Universal Music Canada. July 29, 2014. Retrieved July 30, 2014. 
  46. ^ Reuter, Annie (August 19, 2014). "Listen: Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga Duet on 'I Can't Give You Anything But Love'". Radio.com. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 28, 2014. 
  47. ^ Grow, Kory (August 19, 2014). "Hear Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett's Latest 'Cheek to Cheek' Love Song". Rolling Stone (Jann Wenner). Retrieved August 19, 2014. 
  48. ^ Gibson, Megan (August 19, 2014). "Lady Gaga Unveils Cover Art For Duet Album With Tony Bennett". Time (Time Inc). Retrieved August 19, 2014. 
  49. ^ "New Music: Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga – 'I Can't Give You Anything but Love'". The Honesty Hour. August 19, 2014. Retrieved August 28, 2014. 
  50. ^ Benjamin, Jeff (August 19, 2014). "Lady Gaga & Tony Bennett Cover 1920s Song "I Can't Give You Anything But Love"". Fuse. The Madison Square Garden Company. Retrieved August 28, 2014. 
  51. ^ Fox, Jesse David (August 20, 2014). "9 Best New Songs of the Week". New York (New York Media LLC). Retrieved August 28, 2014. 
  52. ^ Barrineau, Trey (August 26, 2014). "Lady Gaga, Tony Bennett unveil video for 'I Can't Give You Anything But Love'". USA Today (Larry Kramer). Retrieved August 28, 2014. 
  53. ^ "Lady Gaga & Tony Bennet, "I Can't Give You Anything But Love"". Next Magazine. Jimmy Lai. August 27, 2014. Retrieved August 28, 2014. 
  54. ^ Kamin, Debra (September 14, 2014). "Lady Gaga’s color-drenched love fest is perfect boost after summer rocket war". The Times of Israel (David Horovitz). Retrieved September 14, 2014. 
  55. ^ "Jazz Digital Songs: September 6, 2014". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. September 6, 2014. Retrieved August 28, 2014. (subscription required (help)). 
  56. ^ Blistein, John (August 26, 2014). "See Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett's Chemistry at Work in the Duo's New Video". Rolling Stone (Jann Wenner). Retrieved August 28, 2014. 
  57. ^ Bobb, Maurice (August 26, 2014). "Lady Gaga And Tony Bennett Strip Down For The 'I Can't Give You Anything But Love' Video". MTV News. Viacom. Retrieved August 28, 2014. 
  58. ^ Feeney, Nolan (August 26, 2014). "Lady Gaga Acts Like a Normal Person in the Video for Her Tony Bennett Duet". Time (Time Inc). Retrieved August 28, 2014. 
  59. ^ Atkinson, Katie (August 26, 2014). "Watch Lady Gaga & Tony Bennett Feeling the 'Love' in Studio Video". Billboard (Prometheus Global Media). Retrieved August 28, 2014. 
  60. ^ Wass, Mike (August 26, 2014). "Lady Gaga & Tony Bennett Jam In Their Low-Key 'I Can't Give You Anything But Love' Video: Watch". Idolator. Spin Media. Retrieved August 28, 2014. 
  61. ^ Tim, Andy (August 28, 2014). "Listen to Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett's duet for H&M". Elle Malaysia (Hachette Filipacchi Médias). Retrieved August 29, 2014. 
  62. ^ "Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga – Cheek to Cheek – Deluxe Edition". US: iTunes Store. Retrieved August 28, 2014. 
  63. ^ "Lescharts.com – Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga – I Can't Give You Anything But Love" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
  64. ^ "Jazz Digital Songs: September 6, 2014". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved August 29, 2014. (subscription required (help)). 

External links[edit]