Tea for Two (song)

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Tea service for two people

"Tea for Two" is a song from the 1925 musical No, No, Nanette with music by Vincent Youmans and lyrics by Irving Caesar. It is a duet sung by Nanette and Tom (Louise Groody and Jack Barker) in Act II as they imagine their future. It was also sung by Doris Day and Gordon MacRae in the 1950 musical film, Tea for Two.


The song contains abrupt key changes between A-flat major and C-major. The song also consists mostly of dotted eighth and quarter notes. Alec Wilder described these features as being uncharacteristic of a great theatrical song but acknowledged the song's great success regardless.[1]

The story may be apocryphal, but Irving Caesar indicated on Steve Allen's radio show that the lyrics were intended to be temporary.

Other versions[edit]

The earliest recordings of the song were by Marion Harris (Brunswick), Ben Bernie (Vocalion) and the Benson Orchestra of Chicago (Victor, and Ralton's Havana Band (Austral Duplex) in 1925.[2] Recordings of the song have been made by Helen Clark & Lewis James (1924), Benson Orchestra (1924), Marion Harris (1925), Ben Bernie (1925), Red Nichols (1930), Fats Waller (1939), Art Tatum (1939), Bing Crosby, and Connie Boswell (recorded December 13, 1940).[3] There is a cha-cha-chá version by Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra starring Warren Covington which reached No. 7 on the Billboard magazine Hot 100 chart in November 1958.[4]

In 1927 Dmitri Shostakovich reorchestrated the song as Tahiti Trot in 45 minutes as a wager.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Alec Wilder, James T. Maher (1972-04-27), American popular song: the great innovators, 1900-1950, ISBN 9780195014457
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1986). Pop Memories 1890-1954: The History of American Popular Music. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research. p. 590. ISBN 0-89820-083-0.
  3. ^ "A Bing Crosby Discography". BING magazine. International Club Crosby. Retrieved August 19, 2017.
  4. ^ "The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra Tea For Two Cha Cha Chart History".
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Gioia, Ted (2012). The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire. New York City: Oxford University Press. p. 423. ISBN 978-0-19-993739-4.