I'm Always Chasing Rainbows

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"I'm Always Chasing Rainbows"
I'm Always Chasing Rainbows 1.jpg
Sheet music
Song by the Dolly Sisters
Published 1917
Composer(s) Harry Carroll
Lyricist(s) Joseph McCarthy

"I'm Always Chasing Rainbows" is a popular Vaudeville song. The music is credited to Harry Carroll, although the melody is actually adapted from Fantaisie-Impromptu by Frédéric Chopin. The lyrics were written by Joseph McCarthy, and the song was published in 1917 and introduced in the Broadway show Oh, Look! which opened in March, 1918.[1] The song was sung in the show by the Dolly Sisters.[1] Judy Garland sang it in the 1941 film Ziegfeld Girl. It was subsequently sung by Jack Oakie in the 1944 film The Merry Monahans and was again featured in the 1945 film The Dolly Sisters (1945 in film), where it was sung by John Payne.[1] It was also included for part of the run (and in the cast album) of the 1973 revival of Irene.

The song is a true popular standard, recorded by many artists over the years.


At the end of the rainbow there’s happiness
And to find it how often I’ve tried
But my life is a race just a wild goose chase
And my dreams have always been denied
Why have I always been a failure?
What can the reason be?
I wonder if the world’s to blame
I wonder if it could be me?

I'm always chasing rainbows
Watching clouds drifting by
My schemes are just like all my dreams
Ending in the sky
Some fellows look and find the sunshine
I always look and find the rain
Some fellows make a winning some time
I never even make a gain, believe me
I'm always chasing rainbows
Waiting to find a little bluebird in vain

I’ve looked to the west as the sun goes down
And I’ve followed its glorious rays
But the faster I’d run I would miss the sun
My life’s full of wasted days
I’ve always been a natural loser
Each thing I touch must fail
If good luck ever came to me it would never seem right at all


Recorded versions[edit]

Hit versions in 1918[edit]

The biggest hit version in 1918 was recorded by Charles W. Harrison on July 26, 1918, and released by Victor Records as catalog number 18496A,[1][3]} with the flip side “I Miss That Mississippi Miss That Misses Me”[4])

There were also very popular versions recorded by Harry Fox and by Prince's Orchestra (Columbia catalog number A-6064) in the same year.[1]

Harry Fox's version was recorded April 16, 1918, and released by Columbia Records as catalog number A-2557,[1] with the flip side “I Wonder What They're Doing Tonight”[5])

The Prince's Orchestra (referred to as Prince's Band on [6]) version was recorded July, 1918, and released by Columbia Records as catalog number A-6064, with the flip side “Oh, Frenchy”)

Hit versions in 1946[edit]

The biggest hit versions in the 1946 revival were by Perry Como, by Helen Forrest and Dick Haymes, and by Harry James's Orchestra with a vocal by Buddy DeVito.[1] There was also a recording by Guy Lombardo's Royal Canadians, with a vocal by Erno Rapee, which had a degree pf popularity that year.[1]

The recording by Perry Como was recorded October 17, 1945,[7] and released by RCA Victor Records as catalog number 20-1788,[1] with the flip side “You Won't Be Satisfied”.[8] It first reached the Billboard magazine Best Seller chart on January 24, 1946 and lasted 4 weeks on the chart, peaking at #7;[9] it was re-released by RCA Victor as catalog number 20-2663, with the flip side “If We Can't Be the Same Old Sweethearts”[10]

The recording by Helen Forrest and Dick Haymes was made on November 1, 1945, and released by Decca Records as catalog number 23472,[1] with the flip side “Tomorrow Is Forever”.[11] It reached the Billboard magazine Best Seller chart on January 31, 1946 at #10, its only week on the chart.[9]

The recording by Harry James and his orchestra was made on November 7, 1945, released by Columbia Records as catalog number 36899,[1] with the flip side “Baby What You Do to Me”[12] and as catalog number 38434, with the flip side “I'm Beginning to See the Light[13]

The recording by Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians was released by Decca Records as catalog number 3586, with the flip side “Tea for Two[14] and as catalog number 18789A,[1] with the flip side “Make Believe”[15])

Other recorded versions[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Gardner, Edward Foote (2000). Popular Songs of the 20th Century: Chart Detail & Encyclopedia, 1900-1949. St. Paul, Minnesota: Paragon House. ISBN 1-55778-789-1. 
  2. ^ Lyrics from the original 1918 sheet music published by McCarthy and Fisher Inc., New York
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1999). Joel Whitburn Presents a Century of Pop Music. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research. ISBN 0-89820-135-7. 
  4. ^ Victor Records in the 18000 to 18499 series
  5. ^ Columbia Records in the A-2500 to A-2999 series
  6. ^ Columbia Records in the A-6000 to A-6233 series
  7. ^ Perry Como discography entry for "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows"
  8. ^ RCA Victor Records in the 20-1500 to 20-1999 series
  9. ^ a b Whitburn, Joel (1973). Top Pop Records 1940-1955. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research. 
  10. ^ a b c RCA Victor Records in the 20-2500 to 20-2999 series
  11. ^ Decca Records in the 23000 to 23499 series
  12. ^ Columbia Records in the 36500 to 36999 series
  13. ^ Columbia Records in the 38000 to 38499 series
  14. ^ a b Decca Records in the 3500 to 3999 series
  15. ^ Decca Records in the 18500 to 18923 series
  16. ^ Pathé Records in the 22000 to 22841 series
  17. ^ Medallion Records listing
  18. ^ Emerson Records in the 0900 to 9227 series
  19. ^ OKeh Records in the 1000 to 1262 series
  20. ^ a b Bluebird Records in the 10500 to 10999 series
  21. ^ "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows" sung by Alice Faye for Rose of Washington Square (1939) - audio only, on YouTube
  22. ^ Judy Garland singing "I'm Aways Chasing Rainbows" in Ziegfeld Girl (1941) on YouTube
  23. ^ Columbia Records in the 36000 to 36499 series
  24. ^ Columbia Records in the 35500 to 35999 series
  25. ^ Columbia Records in the 40500 to 40999 series
  26. ^ Capitol Records in the 100 to 499 series
  27. ^ a b Capitol Records in the 1000 to 1499 series
  28. ^ a b Capitol Records in the 15000 to 15431 series
  29. ^ OKeh Records in the 41000 to 41499 series
  30. ^ Keystone Broadcasting System Records in the KBS 303 to KBS 740 and KBS A to KBS D series
  31. ^ Colpix Records listing
  32. ^ Mercury Records in the 2000 to 2098 series
  33. ^ a b Victor Records in the 27000 to 27499 series
  34. ^ Capitol Records in the 1500 to 1999 series
  35. ^ Capitol Records in the CL 13200 to CL 13999 series
  36. ^ Barbra Streisand Archives: Records/Just For the Record.
  37. ^ Everest Records listing
  38. ^ Cosmo Records listings