A Perfect Day (song)

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Front cover of "A Perfect Day" for low voice

"A Perfect Day" (first line: "When you come to the end of a perfect day") is a parlor song written by Carrie Jacobs-Bond (1862–1946) in 1909 at the Mission Inn, Riverside, California.[1] Jacobs-Bond wrote the lyrics after watching the sun set over Mount Rubidoux from her 4th-floor room. She came up with the tune three months later while touring the Mojave Desert.[2] For many years the Mission Inn played "A Perfect Day" on its carillon at the end of each day.[3]


"A Perfect Day" was phenomenally successful when first published in 1910.[4] Eight million copies of the sheet music and five million recordings sold within a year;[5] 25 million copies of the sheet music sold during Jacobs-Bond's lifetime, and many millions of recordings circulated as various artists performed the song on the fast-growing means of audio duplication.[6] It was her most-requested number when Jacobs-Bond entertained the soldiers at U.S. Army camps in Europe during World War I. The popularity of "A Perfect Day" became so rampant that even Jacobs-Bond indicated in her autobiography that she had "tired" of hearing it. Along with "Just Awearyin' for You"[7] and "I Love You Truly"—both published in 1901 as part of the collection Seven Songs as Unpretentious as the Wild Rose—"A Perfect Day" augmented Jacobs-Bond's career as the first woman who made a living from composing.[8]

According to "Backstairs At the White House" by former White House seamstress Lillian Rogers Parks, "A Perfect Day" was the favorite song of First Lady Florence Harding. She often had it played at White House concerts.[citation needed]

"A Perfect Day" was in the ship's songbook when RMS Titanic made its fatal maiden voyage in 1912.[9]


"A Perfect Day" has been frequently recorded in English. Otto Leisner's Norwegian translation was popularized by Sissel Kyrkjebø.

In English[edit]

Besides the plaintive 1915 McKee Trio instrumental rendition linked in this article, "A Perfect Day" has been recorded by numerous artists from various backgrounds, including:

In the 1940 feature film Remember the Night, Sterling Holloway sang "A Perfect Day" accompanied by Barbara Stanwyck at the piano.[27] In 1945, opera soprano Helen Traubel recorded an andante interpretation.[28] In the 1940s, Alfredo Antonini and his orchestra collaborated with Victoria Cordova and John Serry Sr. to record the song for Muzak.[29] Norma Zimmer sang "A Perfect Day" on the Lawrence Welk Show in 1962 in response to thousands of requests.[30] In 1976, American tenor, Robert White, concluded his first album with RCA Records, When You and I Were Young, Maggie, with "A Perfect Day" accompanied by pianist Samuel Sanders.

In Norwegian ("En deilig dag")[edit]

Danish journalist Otto Leisner (1917–2008) translated "A Perfect Day" into Norwegian as "En deilig dag"; this translation has been recorded by, among others, Sissel Kyrkjebø.[31]


"A Perfect Day" exemplifies the sentimentality popular in the late Victorian and post-Victorian era but has risen above such a sequestered view by nuances of studied reflection which, combined with the chord progressions of Jacobs-Bond's tune, have borne its appeal across time and cultural boundaries. "A Perfect Day" persists as an elegy using the analogy of the end of day as the end of life.[32]

In 1929, at Lake Arrowhead, California, with "A Perfect Day" playing on a phonograph, Jacobs-Bond's only child, Frederick Jacobs Smith, committed suicide.[33]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ The place is indicated in a line inserted above the title on p. 3 of the high voice (soprano) edition published in 1938 by the Boston Music Company; this version is in the key of C.
  2. ^ Reublein, "America's first great woman popular song composer" site.
  3. ^ Mission Inn Museum Jacobs-Bond site. Archived 2009-07-06 at the Wayback Machine The Mission Inn maintains a Carrie Jacobs-Bond Suite. Archived 2010-02-14 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ When first published in 1910 by Carrie Jacobs-Bond & Son in Chicago, it came out in transcriptions for high voice (soprano, tenor) in the key of A-flat and low voice (contralto, bass) in the key of F. Later, a medium-voice (low soprano / high alto, baritone) transcription appeared, in the key of G. Publication information and the sheet music (including notes and lyrics) are part of the Lester S. Levy Collection of the Johns Hopkins University Peabody Institute, online at Johns Hopkins University site (accessed 2009 September 03).
  5. ^ Library of Congress Jacobs-Bond site.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "Janesville". Wisconsin Hometown Stories. 2008-01-17. Wisconsin Public Television. WPNE-TV. Cf. Jacobs-Bond on Answers.com.
  7. ^ For which Frank Lebby Stanton wrote the lyrics.
  8. ^ See the sources in the articles on "I Love You Truly" and Carrie Jacobs-Bond. Peggy DePuydt appropriated the song title for her biography of Jacobs-Bond—A Perfect Day: Carrie Jacobs-Bond, the Million-Dollar Woman (New York: Golden Book Publisher, 2003), 334 pp., ISBN 978-1-58898-915-4. The copyright expired in 1963 (Information on the Inetgiant site Archived 2010-02-12 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved February 10, 2010.).
  9. ^ White Star Line Song Book. Liverpool: R.M.S. Titanic. 1912. "A Perfect Day" was the second item in the book.
  10. ^ Jacobs-Bond was apparently enamoured of Bispham's circulation of the song. When Jacobs-Bond published "A Perfect Day" in 1910 she added the header "As sung by Mr. David Bispham" above the title (the header appears on p. 3 of the sheet music). She retained the statement in a 1938 republication of the song (with the imprint indicating the Boston Music Company as the sole-selling agents but also explicitly citing Carrie Jacobs-Bond & Son Incorporated, then of Hollywood, California) even though by that time numerous others had recorded it.
  11. ^ "A Bing Crosby Discography". BING magazine. International Club Crosby. Retrieved September 13, 2017. (recorded December 13, 1950)
  12. ^ Nimbus Records, Rel. 2 (2004), Columbia Record on YouTube.
  13. ^ "About this Recording 8.120591 - Eddy, Nelson: A Perfect Day (1935-1947)". Naxos Records. Retrieved 10 June 2021.
  14. ^ Who recorded the song with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Josef Pasternack conducting. See Nimbus Records, No. 17.
  15. ^ In Music for Grand Dining, 2005, with Gustaw Joseph Szelski (violin), Gavin Tipping (piano), & Georg Mertens-Moussa (cello), ASIN B001121MUI.
  16. ^ EMI Classics, 1996 April 23.
  17. ^ Songs of Carrie Jacobs-Bond: Songs My Grandmother Taught Me, Albany Records, 2001, ASIN B000QZWB1K.
  18. ^ On the album Great Songs of Love and Faith, 1962.
  19. ^ Alan Lindquest
  20. ^ Durham, Judith (1970). "When you come to the end of a perfect day". Meet Judith Durham [television special]. London. Event occurs at 0:44. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21. Retrieved 2011-04-03.
  21. ^ "25th Anniversary Album". Archived from the original on 2009-04-19. Retrieved 2009-08-22.
  22. ^ Also known by the stagename Tink.
  23. ^ Voice to Remember, Universal/Spectrum, 2004. See SHOF Jacobs-Bond recordings site. Archived 2011-05-14 at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ More Songs My Father Taught Me (London: Hyperion, 2003).
  25. ^ MacEwan's rendition on YouTube comes third on the site. Other versions: McHugh on YouTube, MacDonald on YouTube, Williams on YouTube, Ponselle on YouTube, Robeson on YouTube, Eddy on YouTube, Tauber on YouTube (5:56 in), Graefe on YouTube, Booth on YouTube. A snippet of Lindquest's version (recorded at a 1940 San Francisco exhibition featuring George M. Cohan, Irving Berlin, and other luminaries of music), with Jacobs-Bond herself at the piano, is available as "A Perfect Day" from Parlor Songs.com; Archived 2010-11-27 at the Wayback Machine as Rick Reublein observes at "America's First Great Woman Popular Song Composer".
  26. ^ "A Perfect Day". 1962. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21. Retrieved 2013-12-31.
  27. ^ Holloway's rendition on YouTube. In the film Holloway calls the song "In the End of a Perfect Day"; "The End of a Perfect Day" and "At the End of a Perfect Day" are vernacular titles.
  28. ^ Traubel's 1945 rendition on YouTube.
  29. ^ "Victoria Cordova and The Alfredo Antonini Orchestra perform 'A Perfect Day' as archived at the Library of Congress Online Catalog"
  30. ^ Zimmer, Norma (1970). "The Lawrence Welk Show: End Of A Perfect Day". Lawrence Welk Show. Retrieved 2011-04-03.[dead YouTube link][dead YouTube link]
  31. ^ "En deilig dag" on YouTube ("A Perfect Day"), translation into Norwegian by Otto Leisner, sung by Sissel Kyrkjebø. See also the Norwegian article.
  32. ^ Benjamin Robert Tubb displays the complete lyrics of "A Perfect Day" and a midi file of the tune on his "Music of Carrie Jacobs-Bond (1862-1946)" site.
  33. ^ Rick Reublein, "America's First Great Woman Popular Song Composer" site. The death of her only child affected Jacobs-Bond profoundly. She dedicated her 1940 book of poetry, The End of the Road, to him. Jacobs-Bond, Carrie (1940). Palmer, Jamie (ed.). The End of the Road. Hollywood, CA: George Palmer Putnam. ISBN 1-4191-2942-2.p. iii.