I Can't Give You Anything but Love, Baby

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"I Can't Give You Anything but Love, Baby"
Jazz standard by Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields
Released 1928
Recorded 1928
Genre Jazz
Songwriter(s) Dorothy Fields
Composer(s) Jimmy McHugh
Producer(s) Jimmy McHugh

"I Can't Give You Anything but Love, Baby" is an American popular song and jazz standard by Jimmy McHugh (music) and Dorothy Fields (lyrics). The song was introduced by Adelaide Hall at Les Ambassadeurs Club in New York in January 1928 in Lew Leslie's Blackbird Revue, which opened on Broadway later that year as the highly successful Blackbirds of 1928 (518 performances), wherein it was performed by Adelaide Hall, Aida Ward, and Willard McLean.

Adelaide Hall on the cover of Vu magazine in 1929

In the 100-most recorded songs from 1890 to 1954, "I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby" (1928) is No. 24.[1]

Background[edit]

Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields had written the score for a revue at Les Ambassadeurs Club on 57th Street, New York, which featured the vocalist Adelaide Hall. However, the producer Lew Leslie believed that they still missed a 'smash' tune. The team pondered for a while before finally playing Leslie "I Can't Give You Anything but Love, Baby". This was the song Leslie had been looking for and he immediately included it in the revue.[2]

Blackbird Revue opened on January 4, 1928 with Adelaide Hall singing "I Can't Give You Anything but Love, Baby" solo. Later on, Fields and McHugh wrote a second half for the revue and Leslie expanded the production. With extra songs and extra performers added (including the vocalist Aida Ward), Leslie renamed the revue Blackbirds of 1928 and took the full production for a tryout in Atlantic City, New Jersey, where it appeared at Nixon's Apollo Theatre. On May 9, 1928, Blackbirds of 1928 opened at the Liberty Theatre, Broadway.

The idea behind the song came during a stroll Fields and McHugh were taking one evening down Fifth Avenue; they saw a young couple window-shopping at Tiffany's. McHugh and Fields understood that the couple did not have the resources to buy jewelry from Tiffany's, but nevertheless they drew closer to them. It was then they heard the man say, "Gee, honey I'd like to get you a sparkler like that, but right now, i can't give you nothin' but love!" Hearing this, McHugh and Fields rushed to a nearby Steinway Tunnel, and within an hour they came up with "I Can't Give You Anything but Love, Baby".[3]

Some controversy surrounds the song's authorship. Andy Razaf's biographer Harry Singer offers circumstantial evidence that suggests Fats Waller might have sold the melody to McHugh in 1926 and that the lyrics were by Andy Razaf.[4] Alternatively, Philip Furia has pointed out that Fields' verse is almost identical to the end of the second verse of Lorenz Hart's and Richard Rodgers' song "Where's That Rainbow?" from Peggy-Ann, the 1926 musical comedy with book by Fields' brother Herbert and produced by their father Lew:[5]

Use in the media[edit]

  • In the 1931 short film The Birthday Party, the song is performed as a duet between Mickey and Minnie Mouse.
  • The song is featured in the screwball comedy Bringing Up Baby (1938) in a scene where quirky heiress Susan Vance (Katharine Hepburn) and befuddled paleontologist Dr. David Huxley (Cary Grant) attempt to coax a surly leopard named Baby off the roof of a house by singing "I can't give you anything but love, Baby".
  • In Seven Sinners (1940), the song is performed by the character Bijou Blanche, portrayed by Marlene Dietrich.
  • Lena Horne performed this song in the film Stormy Weather (1943).
  • Judy Holliday sings this while playing cards in the film Born Yesterday (1950).
  • The song is sung by the strip-club MC in John Cassavetes' film The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976).
  • The song is featured in the short animation Contract (1985).
  • The song is used in the film version of The Green Mile (1999).
  • The song is featured in the 2006 Tony-award-winning Broadway play Jersey Boys (along with the 2014 film adaptation of the same name).
  • The song is played during the episode "He's Our You" of Lost.
  • The song is played during The Aviator (2004).
  • A version of the song sung by Doris Day is played during the opening credits of Married Life (2007).

Notable recorded versions[edit]

  • Louis Armstrong (recorded March 5, 1929, released by Columbia with the flip side "Black and Blue"[6] and with the flip side "Mood Indigo";[6] also released by OKeh both with the flip side "No One Else but You". For other Louis Armstrong versions, including a 1943 film performance see Ricky Riccardi's treatment of the song.
  • Gene Austin (recorded November 23, 1928, released by Victor as catalog number 21798, with the flip side "I Wonder if You Miss Me Tonight"[7])
  • Les Backer (recorded October 22, 1928, released by Vocalion as catalog number 15737, with the flip side "My Blackbirds Are Bluebirds Now"
  • Rube Bloom (recorded August 2, 1928, released by OKeh as catalog number 41117, with the flip side "Because My Baby Don't Mean 'Maybe' Now"
  • Lillie Delk Christian (recorded December 11, 1928, released by OKeh as catalog number 8650, with the flip side "Sweethearts on Parade"
  • Mary Dixon (recorded July 30, 1928, released by Vocalion as catalog number 1199, with the flip side "Dusty Stevedore"[9])
  • Doris Day (1953 - not released as a single but recorded for a radio program; eventually released in the album Doris Day Sings 22 Original Recordings by Hindsight in 1987)
  • Dude Sky Vine Street Boys (recorded December 17, 1936, released by Variety as catalog number 516, with the flip side "My Girl"[10])
  • Gay Ellis (pseudonym for Annette Hanshaw) & her Novelty Orchestra (vocal by Hanshaw, recorded July 24, 1928, released by Harmony as catalog number 706-H[12] and by Supertone as catalog number 1005P,[13] both with the flip side "I Must Have That Man"[12][13])
  • Seger Ellis and his Orchestra (recorded June 8, 1928, released by OKeh as catalog number 41077, with the flip side "Don't Keep Me in the Dark, Bright Eyes"
  • Lou Gold and his Orchestra (recorded May 28, 1928, released by Harmony as catalog number 660-H, with the flip side "Sweet Lorraine"[12])
  • Benny Goodman and his Orchestra (recorded September 6, 1937, released by Victor as catalog number 25678, with the flip side "Sugar Foot Stomp"[14])
  • Benny Goodman Sextet (recorded December 18, 1940, released by Columbia as catalog number 36755, with the flip side "Fiesta in Blue"[15])
  • The Goofus Five and their Orchestra (recorded June 27, 1928, released by OKeh as catalog number 41069, with the flip side "Ready for the River"
  • Mildred Griselle (released by Supertone as catalog number 9276, with the flip side "Just a Little Blue for You"[16])
  • Johnny Hamp's Kentucky Serenaders (vocal by H. White; recorded May 17, 1928, released by Victor as catalog number 21414A, with the flip side "Sweet Lorraine"[7])
  • Grace Hayes (recorded August 6, 1928, released by Victor as catalog number 21571A, with the flip side "I Must Have That Man"[7])
  • Biff Hoffman (recorded August 27, 1928, released by Brunswick as catalog number 4046, with the flip side "You Tell Me Your Dream (I'll Tell You Mine)"[17])
  • Hollywood Dance Orchestra (recorded August 7, 1928, released by Challenge as catalog number 536,[18] also released by Banner as catalog number 7193;[19] also released under the name Jewel Dance Orchestra by Jewel as catalog number,[20] all with the flip side "Raggedy Maggie"[18][19][20]
  • Jonah Jones Septet (recorded September 4, 1946, released by Prestige as an extended-play disc, catalog number PR-7604[22] and by Swing Records in France as catalog number 228, with the flip side "That's the Lick"[23])
  • Louis Jordan (recorded March 1, 1951, released by Decca as catalog number 27620 with the flip side "You Will Always Have a Friend"[24])
  • Abe Lyman and his Californians (recorded November 26, 1928, released by Brunswick as catalog number 4136, with the flip side "Baby"[17])
  • Manhattan Madcaps (recorded June 22, 1928, released by Supertone as catalog number 9055, with the flip side "Sunbeams Bring Dreams of You"[16])
  • Dean Martin (recorded January 28, 1957, released by Capitol as catalog number 3718 [78 rpm][27] and F-3718 [45 rpm],[28] with the flip side "I Never Had a Chance"[27][28])
  • Glenn Miller and the Army Air Forces Training Command Orchestra recorded the song in 1944 with Peanuts Hucko on vocals, released as V-Disc No. 482A in August 1945
  • Mills Brothers (recorded December 22, 1932, released by Brunswick as catalog number 6519, with the flip side "Diga Diga Doo"[29])
  • Carmen Moreno recorded it with A. Trzaskowski and several famous Polish jazz musicians as a part of jam session—Muza 2825a
  • Rose Murphy (recorded December 1947, released by Mercury as catalog number 8111, with the flip side "Cecelia"[31])
  • Lee O'Daniel Hillbilly Boys (recorded June 10, 1937, released by Vocalion as catalog number 03753, with the flip side "Thank You, Mr. Moon"[32])
  • Oscar Peterson (recorded May 21, 1953, released by Mercury as catalog number 89062, with the flip side "Spring Is Here",[33] also released by Mercury subsidiary Clef under the same catalog number[34])
  • Harry Richman (recorded August 28, 1928, released by Brunswick as catalog number 4035, with the flip side "King for a Day"[17])
  • Shilkret's Rhyth-Melodists (recorded September 22, 1928, released by Victor as catalog number 21688, with the flip side "I'm Sorry, Sally"[7])
  • Lee Sims (recorded November 1928, released by Brunswick as catalog number 4152A, with the flip side "Sonny Boy"[17])
  • Willy "the Lion" Smith (recorded December 1950, released by Commodore as catalog number 652, with the flip side "Just One of Those Things"[38])
  • Ukulele Ike in New York 1928—Columbia 1471-D Columbia 5068
  • Ethel Waters with Duke Ellington (recorded December 22, 1932, released by Brunswick as catalog number 6517, with the flip side "Doin' the New Lowdown",[29] and as catalog number 6758, with the flip side "Porgy"[29])
  • Cootie Williams Rug Cutters (recorded October 26, 1937, released by Vocalion as catalog number 3890, with the flip side "Watching"[32])
  • Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys (recorded September 23, 1935, released by Columbiaas catalog number 37703[40] and by Vocalion as catalog number 03264,[41] both with the flip side "Never No More Blues"[40][41])

Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga version[edit]

"I Can't Give You Anything but Love"
ICantGive-Single Cover.jpg
Single by Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga
from the album Cheek to Cheek
Released August 19, 2014
Format Digital download
Genre Jazz
Length 3:13
Label
Songwriter(s) Dorothy Fields
Tony Bennett singles chronology
"Anything Goes"
(2014)
"I Can't Give You Anything but Love"
(2014)

"Anything Goes"
(2014)
"I Can't Give You Anything but Love"
(2014)
Lady Gaga singles chronology
"Anything Goes"
(2014) Anything Goes2014
"I Can't Give You Anything but Love"
(2014) I Can't Give You Anything but Love2014
"Til It Happens to You"
(2015) Til It Happens to You2015

Background and composition[edit]

Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga released a collaborative jazz album, titled Cheek to Cheek, in 2014.[42] The songs were handpicked by Bennett and Gaga; they selected tracks from the Great American Songbook including "I Can't Give You Anything but Love", "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)", "Sophisticated Lady", "Lush Life", and the title track, "Cheek to Cheek".[43] The version of "I Can't Give You Anything but Love" on Cheek to Cheek has Gaga and Bennett alternating verses alongside piano, a brass section and drums.[44] She also altered the lyrics to sing "Gee, I'd like to say you're looking swell, Tony", who later rejoins with the line "Diamond bracelets won't work, doesn't sell, Gaga".[45][46]

Release and reception[edit]

"I Can't Give You Anything but Love" was released as the second single from the album on August 19, 2014. Gaga announced the release on Twitter, accompanied by the single's cover art.[47] Jeff Benjamin from Fuse was positive in his review, saying that "[t]here's a walking bassline, gospel organs and brassy horn blasts to back the pair's soulful crooning. And while we love listening to Gaga and Tony, we really get into the throwback vibe when the trumpet solo kicks in.[48] Jesse David Fox from New York also gave a positive review, stating that "lot has been written about the creative and commercial shortcomings of Gaga's last record, [Artpop], but I, for one, am glad about its failure — because anything that frees her up to record more music with Tony Bennett is a win in my book. 'I Can't Give You Anything but Love' is a great example; Tony Bennett might be 88, but it's Gaga who hasn't sounded this alive in years."[49]

Trey Barrineau from USA Today complimented the duos vocals, saying that the song "really swings".[50] A writer for Next Magazine declared that Gaga sounded "absolutely stellar" in the song, and found it to be a "vocal vehicle" for the artist to "show off" her singing.[51] Debra Kamin from The Times of Israel praised Gaga's vocals on "I Can't Give You Anything but Love", for her range and control.[52] MTV News critic Gil Kaufman described the track as "funky".[53] Alexa Camp from Slant Magazine gave a negative review, saying that "for a singer who isn't even 30, Gaga's voice is shockingly rough-hewn".[54] After its release, "I Can't Give You Anything but Love" debuted at number-one on the Jazz Digital Songs chart of Billboard, on the week ending September 6, 2014. It was the second song from Cheek to Cheek to top the chart, following previous single, "Anything Goes".[55]

Music video and promotion[edit]

An official music video for the song was released on August 26, 2014. The video was shot in the recording studio and the first half showed Gaga in numerous outfits and wigs, while recording the song and roaming around. Bennett joins the studio sessions later on, singing the song. The final chorus finds the two singers belting together, described as "join[ing] forces for a peculiar, yet potent blend of styles that transcends generations and genres". Along with the music video a remix by Giorgio Moroder was released exclusively in October 2014 to Idolator website. The chords of the original version was changed, with Moroder adding synths and a bassline, complimenting the vocals of Bennett and Gaga.[56]

Jon Blistein from Rolling Stone complimented the video, saying that it "proves [Gaga and Bennett] exude a unique, adorable brand of musical chemistry".[57] Maurice Bobb from MTV News noticed the "bare essence" of the duo in the video and added that Gaga appeared "overwhelmingly subdued", but felt that "her playful energy still shines through as she preens and shimmies to [Bennett's] smooth crooning."[58] Nolan Feeney from Time that Gaga appeared normal in the video and added that "she’s still fun to watch even when she’s just hanging out in the vocal both (and dressed like a relatively normal human, no less)."[59] Katie Atkinson from Billboard declared that "If you love the adorable friendship between glam pop queen Lady Gaga and classic crooner Tony Bennett, you'll definitely want to see the breezy behind-the-scenes studio video of the pair for 'I Can't Give You Anything but Love'."[60] Idolator's Mike Wass described the video in detail, calling it the "perfect antidote for Gaga's overwhelming, more-is-more Artpop visuals... The swingin' standard is a nice fit for Gaga and Tony. It allows them to riff off each other and ham it up (ever so slightly). Those shenanigans are captured in the studio-based video, which finds Mother Monster modeling a variety of wigs and smoking a cigar. Her suave companion looks a little bemused but he's clearly having a good time."[61]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2014) Peak
position
France (SNEP)[62] 173
Italy (FIMI)[63] 76
US Jazz Digital Songs (Billboard)[55] 1

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hope, Carolyn. "Barry's Hits of All Decades". hitsofalldecades.com. Retrieved 25 July 2018. This list was compiled by data from the book Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890–1954 (1986) Published by Billboard Publications 
  2. ^ Williams, Iain Cameron (2002). Underneath a Harlem Moon (1 ed.). London: Continuum. pp. 129–139. ISBN 0826458939. 
  3. ^ Burton, Jack (May 27, 1950). "The Honor Roll of Popular Songwriters: No. 62 — Jimmy McHugh". Billboard. William H. Donaldson. p. 42. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  4. ^ "I Can't Give You Anything but Love, Baby" at Jazz Standards
  5. ^ Furia, Philip (1990). The Poets of Tin Pan Alley: A History of America's Great Lyricists. Oxford University Press. pp. 216–17. ISBN 978-0195074734. 
  6. ^ a b Columbia Records in the 38000 to 38499 series
  7. ^ a b c d Victor Records in the 21500 to 21999 series
  8. ^ Disc Records discography
  9. ^ Vocalion Records in the 1000 to 1499 series
  10. ^ Variety Records released in 1937
  11. ^ Montgomery Ward Records in the 4500 to 5041 series
  12. ^ a b c Harmony Records in the 1001P to 2027P series
  13. ^ a b Supertone Records in the 1001P to 2027P series
  14. ^ Victor Records in the 25500 to 25900 series
  15. ^ Columbia Records in the 36500 to 36999 series
  16. ^ a b Supertone Records in the 9000 to 9498 series
  17. ^ a b c d Brunswick Records in the 4000 to 4499 series
  18. ^ a b Challenge Records in the 500 to 999 series
  19. ^ a b Banner Records in the 7000 to 7265 series
  20. ^ a b Jewel Records in the 5000 to 5499 series
  21. ^ The Hot Sardines
  22. ^ Prestige Records discography, 1933 to 1948
  23. ^ Swing Records discography
  24. ^ Decca Records in the 27500 to 27999 series
  25. ^ Capitol Records in the 500 to 999 series
  26. ^ Capitol Records in the 10000 to 10210 series
  27. ^ a b Dean Martin 78 rpm discography on the Dean Martin fan site
  28. ^ a b Dean Martin 45 rpm discography on the Dean Martin fan site
  29. ^ a b c Brunswick Records in the 6500 to 6999 series
  30. ^ RCA Victor Records in the 20-3500 to 20-3999 series
  31. ^ Mercury Records in the 8000 to 8310 series
  32. ^ a b Vocalion Records in the 3500 to 3999 series
  33. ^ Mercury Records in the 89000 to 89098 series
  34. ^ Clef catalog
  35. ^ Discovery Records discography
  36. ^ Conqueror Records in the 9500 to 9960 series
  37. ^ a b Vocalion Records in the 500 to 5499 series
  38. ^ Commodore Records in the series
  39. ^ US Decca Records in the 18000 to 18499 series
  40. ^ a b Columbia Records in the 37500 to 37999 series
  41. ^ a b Vocalion Records in the 3000 to 3499 series
  42. ^ Grow, Kory (July 29, 2014). "Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett Detail 'Magnificent' Collection of Duets". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 31, 2014. 
  43. ^ "Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga: Cheek to Cheek Album of Classic Jazz Standards To Be Released September 23" (Press release). Toronto: Universal Music Canada. July 29, 2014. Retrieved July 30, 2014. 
  44. ^ Reuter, Annie (August 19, 2014). "Listen: Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga Duet on 'I Can't Give You Anything But Love'". Radio.com. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 28, 2014. 
  45. ^ Grow, Kory (August 19, 2014). "Hear Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett's Latest 'Cheek to Cheek' Love Song". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 19, 2014. 
  46. ^ "Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga – Cheek to Cheek – Deluxe Edition". US: iTunes Store. Retrieved August 28, 2014. 
  47. ^ Gibson, Megan (August 19, 2014). "Lady Gaga Unveils Cover Art For Duet Album With Tony Bennett". Time. Retrieved August 19, 2014. 
  48. ^ Benjamin, Jeff (August 19, 2014). "Lady Gaga & Tony Bennett Cover 1920s Song "I Can't Give You Anything But Love"". Fuse. Retrieved August 28, 2014. 
  49. ^ Fox, Jesse David (August 20, 2014). "9 Best New Songs of the Week". New York. Retrieved August 28, 2014. 
  50. ^ Barrineau, Trey (August 26, 2014). "Lady Gaga, Tony Bennett unveil video for 'I Can't Give You Anything But Love'". USA Today. Retrieved August 28, 2014. 
  51. ^ "Lady Gaga & Tony Bennet, "I Can't Give You Anything But Love"". Next Magazine. August 27, 2014. Archived from the original on September 3, 2014. Retrieved August 28, 2014. 
  52. ^ Kamin, Debra (September 14, 2014). "Lady Gaga's color-drenched love fest is perfect boost after summer rocket war". The Times of Israel. Retrieved September 14, 2014. 
  53. ^ Kaufman, Gil (September 16, 2014). "Lady Gaga And Tony Bennett's 'Cheek To Cheek': A Track By Track Breakdown". MTV News. Retrieved September 16, 2014. 
  54. ^ Camp, Alexa (September 17, 2014). "Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga: Cheek to Cheek". Slant Magazine. Retrieved September 18, 2014. 
  55. ^ a b "Jazz Digital Songs: September 6, 2014". Billboard. Retrieved August 29, 2014. (Subscription required (help)). 
  56. ^ Daw, Robbie (October 6, 2014). "Giorgio Moroder's Remix Of Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga's 'I Can't Give You Anything But Love': Idolator Premiere". Idolator. Retrieved October 6, 2014. 
  57. ^ Blistein, John (August 26, 2014). "See Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett's Chemistry at Work in the Duo's New Video". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 28, 2014. 
  58. ^ Bobb, Maurice (August 26, 2014). "Lady Gaga And Tony Bennett Strip Down For The 'I Can't Give You Anything But Love' Video". MTV News. Retrieved August 28, 2014. 
  59. ^ Feeney, Nolan (August 26, 2014). "Lady Gaga Acts Like a Normal Person in the Video for Her Tony Bennett Duet". Time. Retrieved August 28, 2014. 
  60. ^ Atkinson, Katie (August 26, 2014). "Watch Lady Gaga & Tony Bennett Feeling the 'Love' in Studio Video". Billboard. Retrieved August 28, 2014. 
  61. ^ Wass, Mike (August 26, 2014). "Lady Gaga & Tony Bennett Jam In Their Low-Key 'I Can't Give You Anything But Love' Video: Watch". Idolator. Retrieved August 28, 2014. 
  62. ^ "Lescharts.com – Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga – I Can't Give You Anything But Love" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
  63. ^ "Classifica settimanale WK 34". Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved October 15, 2017. 

External links[edit]