Willow Weep for Me

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"Willow Weep for Me"
Music by Ann Ronell
Lyrics by Ann Ronell
Published 1932
Language English
Original artist Ted Fio Rito
Recorded by See Notable Recordings

"Willow Weep for Me" is a popular song composed in 1932 by Ann Ronell, who also wrote the lyrics. The song form is AABA and it is written in 4/4 time,[1] although it is occasionally adapted for 3/4 waltz time, as on recordings by Phil Woods (Musique du Bois, 1974) and Dr. Lonnie Smith (Jungle Soul, 2006.) It is mostly known as a jazz standard, having been recorded first by Ted Fio Rito (with vocal by Muzzy Marcellino) in October 1932 and by Paul Whiteman (with vocal by Irene Taylor) the following month. Both were hits in December 1932.[2] It was a Top 40 hit for the British duo Chad & Jeremy in 1964; the song was released on their Yesterday's Gone album and reached No. 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 1 on the Adult Contemporary chart.[3]

One account of the inspiration for the song is that, during her time at Radcliffe College, Ronell "had been struck by the loveliness of the willow trees on campus, and this simple observation became the subject of an intricate song".[2] The song was not initially accepted by publishers, for several reasons. First, the song is dedicated to George Gershwin; a dedication to another writer was disapproved of at the time, so the first person presented with the song for publication, Saul Bornstein, passed it to Irving Berlin, who chose to accept it. Other reasons stated for its slow acceptance are that it was written by a woman and that its construction was unusually complex for a composition that was targeted at a commercial audience (i.e. radio broadcast, record sales and sheet music sales).[1] An implied tempo change in the fifth bar, a result of a switch from the two quavers and a quaver triplet opening in each of the first four bars to just four quavers opening the fifth, then back to two quavers and a quaver triplet opening the sixth bar, which then has a more offset longer note than any of the previous bars, was one cause of Bornstein's concern.[1][4] Notable recordings continued from the early 1950s, following the success of Stan Kenton's 1950 release (with vocal by June Christy) of the song.[1][2]

Notable recordings[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Zimmers, Tighe, E. (2009). Tin Pan Alley Girl: A Biography of Ann Ronell. McFarland. pp. 19-22.
  2. ^ a b c Gioia, Ted (2012). The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire. Oxford University Press. pp. 460-462.
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 51. 
  4. ^ The New Real Book (1988). Sher Music. p. 406.
  5. ^ The Coasters, One By One Retrieved February 22, 2012
  6. ^ Al Hirt, The Greatest Horn in the World Retrieved April 6, 2013.
  7. ^ "Pearls overview". Allmusic.com. 
  8. ^ "Willow Weep for Me - Single by The Kills". iTunes (GB). Retrieved February 1, 2014. 

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