The Very Thought of You
The song was first released by HMV in England in 1934 by Ray Noble and His Orchestra with Al Bowlly on vocals. This record was then released in the United States as Victor 24657-A. The B side was "I'll Be Good Because of You". Noble re-recorded the song in 1941 in a hit version released on Columbia Records as 36546 featuring the vocals of Snooky Lanson.
A popular version was also recorded in 1941 by Bing Crosby.
Doris Day sang the song in the 1950 movie Young Man with a Horn, a fictional tale partly based on the life of early jazz trumpeter Bix Beiderbecke. An instrumental version of the song is featured in the movie Casablanca and is played in Rick Blaine's club in the scene where Sascha kisses Rick Blaine on the cheek just before Ilse Lund and Victor Lazlo enter Rick's for the first time.
In 1961, "The Very Thought of You" was on the charts again, in a rhythm & blues version recorded by Little Willie John, and three years later a rock and roll version by Ricky Nelson reached #26 on the Billboard chart, lasting 7 weeks in the Hot 100 and crossing to #11 on Billboard's Easy Listening chart.
There have also been numerous recordings of the song by jazz and pop standards artists, including Nancy Wilson, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Nat "King" Cole (in his 1958 album of the same name), Carmen McRae, Billie Holiday, the Hi-Lo's and Elvis Costello; and a blues version on Albert King's Born Under a Bad Sign album. More recently, Tony Bennett and Paul McCartney recorded a duet version of the song for the former's album, Duets: An American Classic.
Sinatra's recording was on the 1962 LP Sinatra Sings Great Songs from Great Britain. The LP was recorded in London, England, arranged and conducted by the legendary Canadian composer/arranger Robert Farnon. It is the only Sinatra studio session recorded outside the United States. Farnon told musician/journalist Harry Currie that "The Very Thought of You" was his favourite track on the LP. Currie himself has sung the song with both the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and the Victoria Symphony using Farnon's original Sinatra arrangement with Farnon's permission. Currie has also adapted the arrangement for vocal with large wind ensemble including piano.
1962 also saw versions released by both Ella Fitzgerald and the Hi-Lo's, the latter with an orchestral accompaniment arranged and conducted by Clare Fischer, on the group's final Columbia LP, This Time It's Love. For her part, Fitzgerald recorded the tune at least twice - both in 1962, on her Verve LP Ella Swings Gently with Nelson (the "Nelson" being arranger Nelson Riddle), and again, live, on her 1974 Pablo release Ella in London, with Joe Pass on guitar.
One of the more recent releases of the song was by Rod Stewart in his successful "Great American Songbook" trilogy of albums. Star Trek: The Next Generation's Brent Spiner recorded it on his 1991 album Ol' Yellow Eyes Is Back.
Country singer David Slater recorded the song on his 2005 album Nice And Easy.
Richard Thompson references the song in "Al Bowlly's in Heaven," the closing track on his Daring Adventures album. Norma Waterson performs a medley of the two songs on her album "The Very Thought of You".
- Red Nichols and His World Famous Pennies
Recorded June 18, 1934
- Bing Crosby
Recorded in 1934
- Billie Holiday And Her Orchestra
Buck Clayton (trumpet), Dicky Wells (trombone), Lester Young (clarinet), Countess Margaret Queenie Johnson (piano), Freddie Green (guitar), Walter Page (bass), Jo Jones (drums)
Recorded September 15, 1938
New York City
Vocalion ... Okeh 4457
Matrix 23467-1 (Vocalion/Okeh)
Matrix 23467-2 (unissued)
OCLC 30938026, 874195045
- Glenn Miller
April 3, 1940
New York City
Arranged by Jerry Gray
Soundcraft SC 1010
Re-issued on a CD compilation
Avid Records (E)AVC550
- Ray Noble and His Orchestra
Recorded November 17, 1941
- Vaughn Monroe and His Orchestra
Recorded November 12, 1944
Victor Studios, New York City
Released November 13, 1944
Marilyn Duke (vocalist)
Side A: Victor 20-1605-A
The song was the subject of litigation in 1962. Noble, in 1934, had assigned the copyright to a British publisher, Campbell, Connelly & Company, Ltd. But later, shortly before the copyright was renewed, Noble assigned the United States copyright to M. Witmark & Sons. Suit was brought by Campbell, Connelly against Noble, averring that the assignment covered all rights, including rights in the U.S. A British High Court judge ruled in favor of Campbell, Connelly.
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 507.
- Albom, Mitch. (1997). ' 'Tuesdays With Morrie' '. Doubleday. p. 146-147
- "Italia overview". Allmusic.com.
- "Chris Botti". JazzMonthly.com.
- "British Ruling On Renewal Rights Studied For Import," Billboard, December 1, 1962, pg. 6