The Very Thought of You
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"The Very Thought of You" is a pop standard published in 1934, with music and lyrics by Ray Noble. In addition to Noble's own hit recording of the song with his orchestra, featuring the vocals of Al Bowlly, there was also a popular version recorded that same year by Bing Crosby. A decade later, the song was on the charts again in a version by Vaughn Monroe. In 1946, Luis Russell recorded the song, which went to number three on the Most-Played Juke Box Race Records charts.
Doris Day sang the song in the 1950 movie Young Man with a Horn, a fictional tale partly based on the life of early jazz trumpeter Bix Beiderbecke. An instrumental version of the song is featured in the movie Casablanca and is played in Rick Blaine's club in the scene where Sascha kisses Rick Blaine on the cheek just before Ilse Lund and Victor Lazlo enter Rick's for the first time.
In 1961, "The Very Thought of You" was on the charts again, in a rhythm & blues version recorded by Little Willie John, and three years later a rock and roll version by Ricky Nelson reached #26 on the Billboard chart, lasting 7 weeks in the Hot 100 and crossing to #11 on Billboard's Easy Listening chart.
There have also been numerous recordings of the song by jazz and pop standards artists, including Nancy Wilson, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Nat "King" Cole, Carmen McRae, Billie Holiday, the Hi-Lo's and Elvis Costello; and a blues version on Albert King's Born Under a Bad Sign album. More recently, Tony Bennett and Paul McCartney recorded a duet version of the song for the former's album, Duets: An American Classic.
Sinatra's recording was on the 1962 LP Sinatra Sings Great Songs from Great Britain. The LP was recorded in London, England, arranged and conducted by the legendary Canadian composer/arranger Robert Farnon. It is the only Sinatra studio session recorded outside the United States. Farnon told musician/journalist Harry Currie that "The Very Thought of You" was his favourite track on the LP. Currie himself has sung the song with both the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and the Victoria Symphony using Farnon's original Sinatra arrangement with Farnon's permission. Currie has also adapted the arrangement for vocal with large wind ensemble including piano.
1962 also saw versions released by both Ella Fitzgerald and the Hi-Lo's, the latter with an orchestral accompaniment arranged and conducted by Clare Fischer, on the group's final Columbia LP, This Time It's Love. For her part, Fitzgerald recorded the tune at least twice - both in 1962, on her Verve LP Ella Swings Gently with Nelson (the "Nelson" being arranger Nelson Riddle), and again, live, on her 1974 Pablo release Ella in London, with Joe Pass on guitar.
One of the more recent releases of the song was by Rod Stewart in his successful "Great American Songbook" trilogy of albums. Star Trek: The Next Generation's Brent Spiner recorded it on his 1991 album Ol' Yellow Eyes Is Back.
Country singer David Slater recorded the song on his 2005 album Nice And Easy.
Richard Thompson references the song in "Al Bowlly's in Heaven," the closing track on his Daring Adventures album. Norma Waterson performs a medley of the two songs on her album "The Very Thought of You".