Too Marvelous for Words
|"Too Marvelous for Words"|
|Featured in the 1937 Warner Brothers film Ready, Willing and Able|
|Music by||Richard Whiting|
|Lyrics by||Johnny Mercer|
|Original artist||Ross Alexander|
|Recorded by||Many artists; see Recorded versions|
"Too Marvelous for Words" is a popular song written in 1937. Johnny Mercer wrote the lyrics for music composed by Richard Whiting. It was featured in the 1937 Warner Brothers film Ready, Willing and Able, as well as a production number in a musical revue on Broadway. It then became the love theme in the 1947 film noir Dark Passage directed by Delmer Daves, first in a version sung by Jo Stafford, then just instrumental as the love that finally reunites Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart is Too Marvelous for Words indeed.
Alec Wilder praised the song as a "model of pop song writing, musically and lyrically". He cites its surprising shifts in rhythm and key.
The lyrics are sophisticated and perfectly synchronized with the tune. Mercer successfully borrowed some lyric techniques from Ira Gershwin, and like Gershwin, he writes more about language than about love. Margaret Whiting said of the lyrics, that the song was an enormously original approach to saying "I love you, honey".
Recorded versions 
- Brazilian Jazz Quartet (1958, Coffee and Jazz)
- Ross Alexander (1937, Film Soundtrack)
- Ambrose and his orchestra (vocal: Sam Browne) (1937)
- Gene Ammons
- Ray Anthony
- Tex Beneke and The Glenn Miller orchestra (1948)
- Chu Berry (1949)
- Pat Boone
- Dave Brubeck
- June Christy (1949)
- Rosemary Clooney (1959)
- Nat King Cole Trio (1947)
- Bing Crosby with Jimmy Dorsey and his orchestra (1937)
- Billy Daniels
- Doris Day (1949)
- Eddy Duchin and his orchestra (1937)
- Eileen Farrell
- Michael Feinstein
- Ella Fitzgerald (1956) and on her Verve release Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Johnny Mercer Songbook, 1964.
- Helen Forrest (1949)
- Judy Garland
- Stan Getz
- Carroll Gibbons and Savoy Orphans (vocal: George Melachrino) (1937)
- Coleman Hawkins
- Dick Haymes
- Billie Holiday and Her Orchestra in Los Angeles on September 3, 1954 with Harry Edison on trumpet, Willie Smith on alto saxophone, Bobby Tucker on piano, Barney Kessel on guitar, Red Callender on bass, and Chico Hamilton drums, and at the Carnegie Hall in New York City on November 10, 1956. Her Orchestra was formed by Roy Eldridge on trumpet, Coleman Hawkins on tenor saxophone, Carl Drinkard on piano, Kenny Burrell on guitar, Carson Smith on bass, and Chico Hamilton ob drums.
- Helen Humes
- Harry James and his orchestra (1943)
- Joni James (1959)
- Diana Krall
- Frankie Laine with orchestra conducted by Michel Legrand (1958)
- Abbe Lane
- Dean Martin
- Marian McPartland
- Johnny Mercer (1971)
- Helen Merrill
- Red Norvo and The Overseas Spotlight Band (1943)
- Johnnie Ray (1958)
- Leo Reisman and his orchestra (1937)
- Lita Roza (1956)
- Andy Russell
- Artie Shaw
- Frank Sinatra - Songs for Swingin' Lovers! (1956)
- Jeri Southern - The Southern Style/A Prelude To A Kiss (1998)
- Jo Stafford
- Art Tatum
- Margaret Whiting
- Joe Williams
- Lester Young
See also 
- Wilder, Alec (1990). American Popular Song: The Great Innovators, 1900-1950. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-501445-6.
- Furia, Phillip (1990). The Poets of Tin Pan Alley. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-506408-9.
- Wilk, Max (1997). They're Playing Our Song. New York: Da Capo. ISBN 0-306-80746-7.
- "Billie Holiday Discography". jazzdisco.org.
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