So Rare

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"So Rare"
Single by Jimmy Dorsey with Orchestra and Chorus
from the album The Fabulous Jimmy Dorsey
B-side "Sophisticated Swing"
Released January 1957 (1957-01)
Format 7-inch single
Recorded November 11, 1956 (1956-11-11)
Studio Capitol, New York City
Genre Big band
Length 2:30
Label Fraternity
Songwriter(s) Jerry Herst (composer), Jack Sharpe (lyricist)

"So Rare" is a popular song published in 1937 by composer Jerry Herst and lyricist Jack Sharpe.[1] It became a hit for Jimmy Dorsey in 1957.

The version by Carl Ravell and his Orchestra, from a session on 4 June 1937, may be the earliest recording of the song, although it is unclear whether it was the first released version.[2][3] The earliest popular versions of "So Rare" were the 1937 releases by Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians and by Gus Arnheim and his Coconut Grove Orchestra.[4][5]

Before it had been recorded or even published, Fred Astaire had sung "So Rare" on his radio show The Packard Hour.[6] This was the recollection of Jess Oppenheimer, then a writer for the show, who recommended the song on behalf of his friend Jerry Herst, then an "aspiring songwriter". According to Oppenheimer, this led to "So Rare" being "snapped up by a publisher who heard it on the program".[7]

Since 1937, "So Rare" has been recorded by numerous artists,[8][9][10][11] but it notably became a late-career hit in 1957 for Jimmy Dorsey, reaching #2 on Billboard magazine's pop charts, [12] and #4 on the R&B singles chart. [13] Recorded on 11 November 1956 and released on the Cincinnati label Fraternity, Jimmy Dorsey's version, which had a decidedly rhythm and blues feel unlike the earlier versions, became the highest charting song by a big band during the first decade of the rock and roll era. Credited on the label to "Jimmy Dorsey with Orchestra and Chorus",[14] the vocals are by the Artie Malvin Singers.[15] Billboard ranked this version as the No. 5 song for 1957.[16]

Recorded versions[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Sheet music for "So Rare" typically credits words to Jack Sharpe and music to Jerry Herst. See, for example So Rare [music], words by Jack Sharpe, music by Jerry Herst, Melbourne: Allan & Co., c1937, held in National Library of Australia, Bib ID 1862893
  2. ^ Online (78rpm) Discographical Project session listings for Melotron and Conqueror
  3. ^ Online (78rpm) Discographical Project: listings of "So Rare" since 1937
  4. ^ Pop chart data 1890-2011, spreadsheet from Billboard magazine sources, downloadable from retrieved 30 October 2011. This has Lombardo reaching #1, Arnheim #2
  5. ^ See also US music chart statistics for 1937 at as generated by Steve Hawtin et al, based on data from several sources. This places Lombardo's "So Rare" at #31 for 1937
  6. ^ On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio, listing for The Packard Hour, retrieved 30 October 2011: formerly The Packard Show, it featured Fred Astaire from September 1936 to July 1937
  7. ^ Jess Oppenheimer, Laughs, luck... and Lucy: how I came to create the most popular sitcom of all, 1999, Syracuse University Press, pp.90-91, ISBN 9780815605843; excerpt at Google Books
  8. ^ Online Discographical Project discographies for 78 rpm record labels, listings of "So Rare" since 1937
  9. ^ All Music Guide: recordings of "So Rare"
  10. ^ Database at British versions of "SoRare", retrieved 31 October 2011
  11. ^ database of seven inch singles: versions of "So Rare", retrieved 31 October 2011
  12. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1983) The Billboard Book of US Top 40 Hits, New York: Billboard Publications, Inc, page 94 ISBN 9780823075119
  13. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 169. 
  14. ^ See Label shot at, retrieved 2 November 2011: The label on the original Fraternity 45rpm record F-755 shows "JIMMY DORSEY" prominently, followed by small print "with Orchestra and Chorus"
  15. ^ David Hinckley, "Twilight The Last Days Of Dorseys",, 10 October 2005, retrieved 27 May 2015
  16. ^ Number One Song of the Year: 1946-2014, Billboard magazine data collated at, retrieved 31 October 2014
  17. ^ "A Bing Crosby Discography". BING magazine. International Club Crosby. Retrieved October 28, 2017. 

External links[edit]