The Very Thought of You

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1934 release by Ray Noble with Al Bowlly on vocals on Victor Records.

"The Very Thought of You" is a pop standard recorded and published in 1934 with music and words by Ray Noble.


The song was first recorded by HMV in England in April, 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 version released on Columbia Records as 36546 featuring the vocals of Snooky Lanson.

Bing Crosby recorded the song on October 5, 1934 with Georgie Stoll and his Orchestra[1]

In 1944, the Warner Bros. film of the same name, The Very Thought of You, was the impetus for a 1944 version by Vaughn Monroe, sung by Marilyn Duke, released on Victor 20-1605-A. Monroe's version reached the Billboard charts at No. 19.[2]

In 1946, Luis Russell recorded the song, which went to number three on the Most-Played Juke Box Race Records charts.[3]

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),[4] 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.[5] 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.

Andy Williams released a version in 1966 on his album, In the Arms of Love.

One of the more recent releases of the song was by Rod Stewart in his album It Had to Be You: The Great American Songbook, one of his successful "Great American Songbook" series. of albums.

Star Trek: The Next Generation's Brent Spiner recorded it on his 1991 album Ol' Yellow Eyes Is Back.

Etta James covered the song for her 1994 album Mystery Lady: Songs of Billie Holiday.

In Mitch Albom's best-selling book Tuesdays With Morrie, Mitch's wife, Janine, sings this song to Morrie Schwartz.[6]

Country singer David Slater recorded the song on his 2005 album Nice And Easy.

Perry Como recorded it on his 1977 UK only issued, The Best of British album.[7]

A female Canadian jazz singer, Emilie-Claire Barlow, also recorded this song on her album, The Very Thought of You.

The SuperJazz Big Band of Birmingham, Alabama recorded the song on the CD, "UAB SuperJazz, Featuring Ellis Marsalis."

"The Very Thought of You" performed by Billie Holiday was played in the Mel Gibson hit movie Forever Young. The original Ray Noble version appears in the 1999 Robin Williams film Bicentennial Man.

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".

In 2007, Chris Botti covered the song from album "Italia."[8][9]

Jeri Southern covered the tune in her Romance in the Dark album (2009).

It is the opening track on Nellie McKay's 2009 album Normal as Blueberry Pie – A Tribute to Doris Day.

Australian jazz performer Frances Madden covered the tune in her 2014 album If This Were A Dream

Kristin Chenoweth covered the song for her 2016 album "The Art of Elegance".

Michael Bublé covered the song for his 2016 album "Nobody but me".

Selected discography[edit]

  1. Red Nichols and His World Famous Pennies
    Recorded June 18, 1934
    Bluebird B5548
    Matrix 80639-1
    OCLC 658929340
  2. Bing Crosby
    with Georgie Stoll and his Orchestra
    Recorded on October 5, 1934
    Decca Records DLA65A
  3. 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
  4. Glenn Miller
    CBS Broadcast
        "Chesterfield Show"
    April 3, 1940
    New York City
    Arranged by Jerry Gray
    Soundcraft SC 1010
    Re-issued on a CD compilation
    Avid Records (E)AVC550
    OCLC 33987942
  5. Ray Noble and His Orchestra
    Recorded November 17, 1941
    Columbia 36547
    Matrix HCO577
    OCLC 698387401
  6. 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
    OCLC 62472718


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.[10]


  1. ^ "A Bing Crosby Discography". BING magazine. International Club Crosby. Retrieved April 18, 2017. 
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1986). Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890–1954. Wisconsin, USA: Record Research Inc. p. 602. ISBN 0-89820-083-0. 
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942–2004. Record Research. p. 507. 
  4. ^ "Nat "King" Cole*, Gordon Jenkins And His Orchestra – The Very Thought Of You". Discogs. 
  5. ^ "Frank Sinatra – Sinatra Sings Great Songs From Great Britain". Discogs. 
  6. ^ Albom, Mitch. (1997). ' 'Tuesdays With Morrie' '. Doubleday. p. 146-147
  7. ^ "Perry Como – The Best Of British". Discogs. 
  8. ^ "Italia overview". 
  9. ^ "Chris Botti". 
  10. ^ "British Ruling On Renewal Rights Studied For Import," Billboard, December 1, 1962, pg. 6