All or Nothing at All

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
"All or Nothing at All"
Published 1939
Genre Easy listening
Writer(s) Composer: Arthur Altman
Lyricist: Jack Lawrence
Language English

"All or Nothing at All" is a song composed in 1939 by Arthur Altman, with lyrics by Jack Lawrence.

Frank Sinatra's 1939 recording of the song became a huge hit in 1943, when it was reissued by Columbia Records during the 1942-44 musicians' strike.[1] The record peaked in the Billboard top two.


In a 1944 interview, Sinatra said of the delayed success of the song, "That was the song, a few days after Harry James and myself recorded it, that gave us our walking papers out of the old Victor Hugo Cafe (a major entertainment venue of the 1930s) on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood. The manager came up and waved his hands for us to stop. He said Harry's trumpet playing was too loud for the joint and my singing was just plain lousy and fired Harry, me and the entire band on the spot. He said the two of us couldn't draw flies as an attraction, and I guess he was right - the room was as empty as a barn. It's a funny thing about that song. The recording we made of it 5 years ago is now one of the top spots among the best sellers. But it's the same old recording. It's also the song I auditioned with for Tommy Dorsey, who signed me on the strength of it. And now it's my first big record."

In popular culture[edit]

  • Jerry Colonna sang a comic version of the song in which he stretched "All" out for several seconds.
  • The song was used in the 1947 MGM cartoon, Little 'Tinker, directed by Tex Avery. In the cartoon, a skunk tries to attract a mate by dressing like Frank Sinatra and singing this song. The skunk's singing voice was actually provided by Bill Roberts (uncredited).
  • It is also heard very briefly in the party scene at the beginning of the 1982 film Missing.
  • As noted in multiple books and documentaries, the song was played at Jet Propulsion Laboratory 's mission control before the landing of the Curiosity (rover)

Notable recordings[edit]


  1. ^ a b Gilliland, John (1994). Pop Chronicles the 40s: The Lively Story of Pop Music in the 40s (audiobook). ISBN 978-1-55935-147-8. OCLC 31611854.  Tape 1, side A.

External links[edit]