My Funny Valentine

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"My Funny Valentine"
Published1937 by Chappell & Co.
GenreTraditional pop
Composer(s)Richard Rodgers
Lyricist(s)Lorenz Hart

"My Funny Valentine" is a show tune from the 1937 Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart coming of age musical Babes in Arms in which it was introduced by teenaged star Mitzi Green. The song became a popular jazz standard, appearing on over 1300 albums performed by over 600 artists. One of them was Chet Baker,[1] for whom it became his signature song.[2][3] In 2015, it was announced that the Gerry Mulligan quartet featuring Baker's version of the song was inducted into the Library of Congress's National Recording Registry for the song's "cultural, artistic and/or historical significance to American society and the nation’s audio legacy". Mulligan also recorded the song with his Concert Jazz Band in 1960.[4]


Babes in Arms opened at the Shubert Theatre on Broadway, in New York City on April 14, 1937 and ran for 289 performances.[5] In the original play, a character named Billie Smith (played by Mitzi Green) sings the song to Valentine "Val" LaMar (played by Ray Heatherton).[6] The character's name was changed to match the lyric of this song.[7]

In the song, Billie describes Valentine's characteristics in unflattering and derogatory terms (at one point Billie describes Valentine's looks as "laughable", in keeping with the title), but ultimately affirms that he makes her smile and that she does not want him to change. The description of Valentine was consistent with Lorenz Hart's own insecurities and belief that he was too short and ugly to be loved.[8] (The lyrics are sufficiently gender-neutral to allow the song to be sung about a person of any gender, and a large proportion of cover versions of the song have been by men describing a hypothetical woman.)

Chart versions[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

The Chet Baker and the Julie London versions of the song were credited in the 1981 film Sharky's Machine, which Burt Reynolds starred in and directed. Doc Severinsen produced the soundtrack for the film,[11] along with Al Capps and Bob Florence.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Jazz Standards Songs and Instrumentals (My Funny Valentine)".
  2. ^ Schwanebeck, Wieland; McFarland, Douglas (8 October 2018). Patricia Highsmith on Screen. Springer. ISBN 9783319960500.
  3. ^ "My Funny Valentine".
  4. ^ "National Recording Registry To "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive"". The Library of Congress. 25 March 2015. Archived from the original on 23 June 2016. Retrieved 25 March 2015.
  5. ^ Trager, James (2005). The People's Chronology: A Year-by-Year Record of Human Events from Prehistory to the Present (3 ed.). Detroit: Gale. ISBN 0805031340.
  6. ^ Playbill from 1937 Babes in Arms theatrical performance.
  7. ^ Rodgers, Richard (1975) Musical Stages: an autobiography. New York: Random House, page 181
  8. ^ Holden, Stephen."Television Review: Thou Rodgers, Thou Hart, So Fizzy, So Smart", The New York Times, January 6, 1999.
  9. ^ Orodenker, M. H. (1945-01-27). "Popular Record Reviews". Billboard. Vol. 27, no. 4. ISSN 0006-2510.
  10. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1992). Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890-1954: The History of American Popular Music. Record Research, Inc. ISBN 0-89820-083-0. As cited in My Funny Valentine (1937), written, compiled, and published by
  11. ^ "Sharky's Machine (1981)". B&S About Movies. July 9, 2021. Retrieved November 18, 2023.
  12. ^ "Sharky's Machine (1981) Full Cast & Crew". IMDB. 2023. Retrieved November 18, 2023.

Further reading[edit]