It Happened in Monterey

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"It Happened in Monterey"
It Happened in Monterey sheet music.jpg
Sheet music from the 1930 film
Song by Paul Whiteman and his orchestra
Published1930
Composer(s)Mabel Wayne
Lyricist(s)Billy Rose

"It Happened in Monterey" or "It Happened in Monterrey" is a 1930 song composed by Mabel Wayne, with lyrics by Billy Rose and performed by Paul Whiteman and his orchestra. It was written for the 1930 musical film, King of Jazz, and was subsequently covered several different times in short succession including by the Regent Club Orchestra, George Olsen and Ruth Etting.[1] It fell out of popularity until Frank Sinatra re-recorded it for both his 1956 Capitol release Songs for Swingin' Lovers! and his 1957 live album Sinatra '57 in Concert.

Background[edit]

"It Happened in Monterey" was written for the 1930 musical film, King of Jazz.[2] The film featured Paul Whiteman and his orchestra,[3] while the song, written in waltz time, was composed by Mabel Wayne, with lyrics by Billy Rose.[4][5] Though the lyrics refer to the city of Monterrey in "Old Mexico",[6] the song title was misspelled, leading to popular references to the city of Monterey, California.[7] The song was performed by John Boles and Jeanette Loff in the film.[8] The song appears in a sequence of disparate musical performances, each introduced by a caption card, that appear between the two main production numbers.[9]

The Paul Whiteman Orchestra then recorded the song for Columbia Records on March 21, 1930, featuring vocals by Jack Fulton.[10] This recording features significant solos for flute and piccolo performed by Bernie Daly.[11] The recording was a hit. Researcher Joel Whitburn estimates that this record would have charted at number 2 in April 1930.[12]

Cover versions[edit]

The song was covered several times following the appearance in King of Jazz, including by George Olsen and Vincent Lopez.[13][14] Other popular versions were by the Regent Club Orchestra on Brunswick Records, and Ruth Etting.[15] Bing Crosby sang the song with Whiteman's orchestra in a performance at the Seattle Civic Auditorium, which was broadcast nationwide live via the Columbia Broadcasting System in April 1930.[16] Mel Tormé recorded it with his Mel-Tones and Sonny Burke and his orchestra on the Musicraft Records label in 1946.[6]

By the 1950s, the song had declined in popularity and was rarely sung until it was revived and popularized again by Frank Sinatra.[17] Sinatra recorded it for his 1956 Capitol release Songs for Swingin' Lovers!, to an arrangement and orchestration by Nelson Riddle. Biographer John Frayn Turner writes: "Not forgetting 'It Happened in Monterey', which had never sounded like that before or since".[18] Biographer Spencer Leigh notes the "looseness of his phrasing in the second chorus".[17] Sinatra began performing it live. It features as the second track on his 1957 live album Sinatra '57 in Concert,[19] and also appeared on the original UK pressing of Come Fly with Me as a replacement track for the banned On the Road to Mandalay.

Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney included the song in their 1958 album Fancy Meeting You Here with updated lyrics.

In popular culture[edit]

Actor Al Pacino lip-synced the Sinatra version of the song in the final scene of the 1997 film The Devil's Advocate.[20][21]

In 2006 Doug Gamble, a corporate and humor writer, penned new lyrics for the song as a way of promoting the city of Monterey, California.[22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1986). Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890-1954. Wisconsin, USA: Record Research Inc. p. 530. ISBN 0-89820-083-0.
  2. ^ Sheridan, Chris (2000). Dis Here: A Bio-discography of Julian "Cannonball" Adderley. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 496. ISBN 978-0-313-30240-4.
  3. ^ "The Greatest Show on Earth". The Oil City Derrick. August 4, 1930. p. 13. Retrieved March 25, 2016 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  4. ^ Grattan, Virginia L. (1 January 1993). American Women Songwriters: A Biographical Dictionary. Greenwood Press. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-313-28510-3.
  5. ^ Rayno, Don (2003). Paul Whiteman – Pioneer in American Music Volume 1. Lanham, Maryland: The Scarecrow Press, Inc. p. 677. ISBN 0-8108-4579-2.
  6. ^ a b "It Happened In Monterey / Born To Be Blue". Discogs. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
  7. ^ "McBride among the stars for Monterey Jazz Fest tribute". Post-Tribune. 22 March 2013. Archived from the original on 5 May 2016. Retrieved 26 March 2016 – via HighBeam. (Subscription required (help)). Cite uses deprecated parameter |subscription= (help)
  8. ^ Shapiro, Nat; Pollack, Bruce, eds. (1985). Popular Music, 1920–1979: A Revised Cumulation. Detroit, Michigan: Gale Research Company. ISBN 0-8103-0847-9.
  9. ^ Larkin, Colin (1999). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Stage and Film Musicals. Virgin Books. p. 343. ISBN 0-7535-0375-1.
  10. ^ Rayno, Don (2003). Paul Whiteman – Pioneer in American Music Volume 1. Lanham, Maryland: The Scarecrow Press, Inc. pp. 245, 677. ISBN 0-8108-4579-2.
  11. ^ Rayno, Don (2003). Paul Whiteman – Pioneer in American Music Volume 1. Lanham, Maryland: The Scarecrow Press, Inc. pp. 245–246. ISBN 0-8108-4579-2.
  12. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1986). Pop Memories 1890–1954. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research, Inc. p. 452. ISBN 0-89820-083-0.
  13. ^ "George Olsen's Latest". Cumberland Evening Times. May 1, 1930. p. 8. Retrieved March 25, 2016 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  14. ^ "The Announcer". The Kokomo Tribune. June 10, 1930. p. 13. Retrieved March 25, 2016 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  15. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1986). Pop Memories 1890–1954. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research, Inc. p. 530. ISBN 0-89820-083-0.
  16. ^ "Whiteman Band to Feature Latest Screen Success". The Circleville Herald. April 4, 1930. p. 8. Retrieved March 25, 2016 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  17. ^ a b Leigh, Spencer (25 September 2015). Frank Sinatra: An Extraordinary Life. McNidder and Grace Limited. p. 226. ISBN 978-0-85716-088-1.
  18. ^ Turner, John Frayn (2004). Frank Sinatra. Taylor Trade Publications. p. 96. ISBN 978-1-58979-145-9.
  19. ^ "Frank Sinatra 57 – In Concert". AllMusic. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
  20. ^ "Single Person's Movie: The Devil's Advocate". New York Observer. 8 January 2009. Archived from the original on 4 May 2016. Retrieved 26 March 2016 – via HighBeam. (Subscription required (help)). Cite uses deprecated parameter |subscription= (help)
  21. ^ Ebert, Roger (17 October 1997). "Satan Runs a Law Firm". The Record. Archived from the original on 9 December 2006. Retrieved 26 March 2016 – via HighBeam. (Subscription required (help)). Cite uses deprecated parameter |subscription= (help)
  22. ^ "New Theme Song For Monterey?: Local writer re-works Sinatra favorite and turns it into 'It's Happening in Monterey'". The Monterey County Herald. 20 January 2006. Archived from the original on 3 May 2016. Retrieved 26 March 2016 – via HighBeam. (Subscription required (help)). Cite uses deprecated parameter |subscription= (help)