Heart and Soul (Frank Loesser and Hoagy Carmichael song)

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"Heart and Soul"
Song by Larry Clinton & his Orchestra, with Bea Wain
Composer(s)Hoagy Carmichael
Lyricist(s)Frank Loesser

"Heart and Soul" is a popular song composed by Hoagy Carmichael with lyrics by Frank Loesser. It charted with different artists between 1938 and 1961. A simplified version is a popular piano duet.

Musical format[edit]

The song's A-section is often simplified as a repeating I-vi-IV-V progression and taught to beginning piano students as an easy two-hand duet (example), with one person playing the bass and another playing the melody.[1]

Like the piece "Chopsticks", this version became widely known, even to those who never studied piano, and is sometimes mistakenly thought to be a folk tune.[1] The chord progression, often referred to as the "50s progression",[2] was employed in the doo-wop hits of the 1950s and 1960s.

Early versions[edit]

In 1938, it was first recorded and released by Larry Clinton and his orchestra with vocals by Bea Wain. Their performance was filmed. That same year Al Bowlly recorded the song with Geraldo and his orchestra.

In 1939, three versions reached the music charts: Larry Clinton (No. 1), Eddy Duchin (No. 12), and Al Donahue (No. 16). A version by The Four Aces with the Jack Pleis Orchestra reached No. 11 in 1952, and a version by Johnny Maddox reached No. 57 in 1956. In 1961, The Cleftones version reached No. 18 and the one by Jan and Dean reached No. 25.

The Cleftones version[edit]

"Heart and Soul"
Single by The Cleftones
B-side"How Do You Feel?"
ReleasedApril 17, 1961 (1961-04-17)
Recorded1959, Rochester, New York
GenreRhythm and blues, doo-wop
LabelGee (1064)
Composer(s)Hoagy Carmichael
Lyricist(s)Frank Loesser
Producer(s)George Goldner
The Cleftones singles chronology
"Shadows on the Very Last Row/She's Gone"
"Heart and Soul"
"For Sentimental Reasons/Deed I Do"

The Cleftones succeeded with a rhythm and blues rearrangement of the song in 1961. After the release on April 17, 1961, "Heart and Soul" reached number 18 on the Billboard Hot 100 in July of that year, making this song The Cleftones' most popular work.

In 1959, the Cleftones' manager, George Goldner, convinced the group that their future resided in re-recording existing songs with an established popularity.[3] By this time, Charles James had grown more proficient on the guitar, and the group and Goldner used that to develop a new arrangement of the piece.[4][5]

At that time, a local prominent disc jockey set up a recording session in Rochester, New York, to record "Heart and Soul" and, arranged for singer Pat Spann's boyfriend Panama Francis to play drums and 15-year-old/future Grammy Award winner Duane Hitchings to play keyboards.[6] At the recording session, the group was presented with a rearrangement of "Heart and Soul" that was more formal than they had practiced.[7] The group added unexpected rhythms to give the song a syncopated feel.[8]

"Heart and Soul" sat undistributed until 1961.[9] In early April of that year, Roulette Records president Morris Levy reactivated New York-based American record label Gee Records as a division of Roulette Records and made "Heart and Soul" the reactivated label's first release.[9] That same month, American news magazine Billboard Music Week review panel listed "The Cleftones; Heart and Soul (Famous, ASCAP) (1:52) Gee" as one of seventeen "Pick Hits" from all songs released in the week of April 17, 1961.[10] Under its "Spotlight Winners of the Week" column, Billboard identified the song as having the strongest sales potential of all records reviewed for the week, commenting on The Cleftones and "Heart and Soul",

This was a hit group a few seasons back and this rendition could bring them back into action. It's the standard tune and it's done in rocking, teen-slanted fashion with a swinging beat. This could happen. Flip is "How Do You Feel" (Tyrol, BMI) (2:00)[11] Gee 1064."[12]

On July 3, 1961, "Heart and Soul" reached number 18 on the Billboard Hot 100,[13] and No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 R&B chart.[3][14][15] The recording eventually sold approximately 350,000 copies for Gee/Roulette.

In 1973, the Cleftones version was used in the movie American Graffiti.[16] It is also featured in the 1985 coming-of-age comedy Mischief.

Music critic Terry Atkinson of the Palm Beach Post noted in 1990 that "Heart and Soul" is the song for which the Cleftones are best remembered.[7] In 1999, American music critic Dave Marsh listed The Cleftones' "Heart and Soul" as number 913 in his book, The Heart of Rock & Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made.[17]

In 2012, American author and essayist Ray Schuck noted that the lyrics, "Well, I know that you're in love with him, 'cause I saw you dancing in the gym/You both kicked off your shoes – man, I dig those rhythm and blues." —from Don McLean's song "American Pie might be a vague reference to the Cleftones' 1961 rhythm and blues song, "Heart and Soul."[18] In his essay, Schuck argued that such a reference would "segue nicely into the verses comprising the remainder of this stanza, albeit with a disappointing outcome."[18]

Jan and Dean version[edit]

Jan and Dean covered the song at the same time as the Cleftones's record was on the chart. They intended for it to be released on Liberty Records, who balked, and it was released on Gene Autry's Challenge Records instead. It reached No. 25 on the charts. On Canada's CHUM Charts the song reached No. 13.[19] Liberty, noting the success, signed them, and Jan and Dean went on to make five top-ten singles for the label ("Surf City", "Honolulu Lulu", "Drag City", "Deadman's Curve", and "The Little Old Lady from Pasadena").

Uses in other media[edit]

The song was featured as part of a "Hearts" medley in The Brady Bunch Variety Hour.

In 1980, an improvised piano version was performed in The Competition.[20]

Two characters perform the song in a piano museum in the 1980 Disney film Midnight Madness.

In the 1988 fantasy comedy film Big, this is the tune played on the giant piano at FAO Schwarz in the scene where the characters portrayed by Robert Loggia and Tom Hanks perform a duet in front of other customers.[21]

In the TV sitcom Frasier, during the 1998 Season 5, Episode 20 titled "First Date", the tune and song is sung by Niles and Daphne during a memorable and important scene as they slice vegetables.[22] In Frasier during the 2001 Season 8, Episode 18 titled "Daphne Returns", the scene and song from Season 5 Episode 20 is referenced as a flashback.[23]

In 2011, the song was featured in Family Guy S09E16 (The Big Bang Theory) at 5:50, when Stewie shows Brian that they can do everything outside space and time.

Apple used the song in the commercials for the iPhone 5, to display the larger screen size demonstrated by a piano playing app.

"Play That Song", a single by the band Train that incorporates portions of the melody, reached number 41 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in February 2017.[24]

The character Chloe Decker, portrayed by Lauren German, plays “Heart & Soul” on the piano in the television series Lucifer in the ninth episode of the first season and the tenth episode of the sixth and final season.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b The Bouncy Joy of 'Heart and Soul', All Things Considered, NPR, December 31, 2006
  2. ^ "Heart and Soul". (Sheet music) Cy Walter official site. Archived from the original on December 13, 2012. Retrieved February 18, 2013.
  3. ^ a b Warner, Jay (2006). American Singing Groups: A History from 1940s to Today. Hal Leonard Corporation. pp. 119–. ISBN 978-0-634-09978-6. Retrieved February 2, 2013.
  4. ^ Musso, Anthony M. (November 13, 2008). Setting the Record Straight: The Music and Careers of Recording Artists from the 1950s and Early 1960s ... In Their Own Words. AuthorHouse. pp. 71–. ISBN 978-1-4389-5292-5. Retrieved February 2, 2013.
  5. ^ DeCurtis, Anthony; Henke, James; George-Warren, Holly (1992). The Rolling Stone Album Guide: Completely New Reviews : Every Essential Album, Every Essential Artist (3 ed.). Random House. p. 139. ISBN 978-0-679-73729-2. Retrieved February 2, 2013.
  6. ^ Wallstrom, Urban "Wally" (March 23, 2007). "Duane Hitchings: The Man Behind the Hits". Rock United. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
  7. ^ a b Atkinson, Terry (August 3, 1990). "'50s Doo-Wop Collection Offers Alternative To Rap". Palm Beach Post. p. 15.
  8. ^ Laycock, John (February 2, 2002). "Playbill". Windsor Star. p. B4.
  9. ^ a b "Glover Named A&R Chief for Gee Label". Google Books. Billboard. April 17, 1961. p. 3. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
  10. ^ "Pick Hits". Google Books. Billboard. April 17, 1961. p. 38. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
  11. ^ "How do you feel?", by members of the Cleftones, w & m Herbert Cox, Gene Pearson, pseud. of Joshua Leviston & James Kendis a.k.a. Charles James, U.S. Copyright Registration Number EU0000664598, Date: 1961-03-31, where Adolph Tiedmann, through the estate of James Kendis a.k.a. Charles James is the copyright holder of "How do you feel?"
  12. ^ "Spotlight Winners of the Week". Billboard Music Week. Vol. 73, no. 15. April 17, 1961. p. 30. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
  13. ^ "Honor Roll of Hits for the Week Ending July 9, 1961". Internet Archive. Billboard. July 3, 1961. p. 18. Retrieved January 30, 2013. Heart and Soul Branch Manager billboard.
  14. ^ "Golden Oldies Take Stage at Chasco Fiesta". Tampa Tribune. April 4, 2008. p. 3. Archived from the original on February 16, 2013. Retrieved February 2, 2013.
  15. ^ Fredricksen, Barbara L. (September 28, 2001). "Doo-Wop Tour to Rock New Port Richey". St. Petersburg Times. p. 5. Retrieved February 2, 2013.
  16. ^ Shea, Tom (April 2013), "Duo wants folks in WMass to bop to doo wop", The Republican (published March 25, 2004), sec. News, p. B1
  17. ^ Marsh, Dave (May 7, 1999). The Heart of Rock & Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Every Made. Da Capo Press. pp. 579–. ISBN 978-0-306-80901-9. Retrieved February 2, 2013.
  18. ^ a b Schuck, Raymond I. (September 24, 2012). Do You Believe in Rock and Roll?: Essays on Don McLean's 'American Pie'. McFarland. p. 56. ISBN 978-1-4766-0036-9. Retrieved February 2, 2013.
  19. ^ "CHUM Hit Parade - August 21, 1961".
  20. ^ "The Competition". YouTube. Archived from the original on December 21, 2021. Retrieved November 19, 2019.
  21. ^ Kring-Schreifels, Jake (June 4, 2018). "The Heart and Soul of the 'Big' Piano". The Ringer. Retrieved July 19, 2021.
  22. ^ "Frasier Online Episode Guide -> Season 5 -> Episode 5.20". Frasier Online. Retrieved June 5, 2020.
  23. ^ "Episode-Heart and Soul flashback". Frasier Online. Retrieved June 5, 2020.
  24. ^ "Train Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved May 7, 2021.

External links[edit]