Too Marvelous for Words
|"Too Marvelous for Words"|
|Featured in the 1937 Warner Brothers film Ready, Willing and Able|
|Song by Ross Alexander|
|Recorded by||Many artists; see Recorded versions|
"Too Marvelous for Words" is a popular song written in 1937. Johnny Mercer wrote the lyrics for music composed by Richard Whiting. It was featured in the 1937 Warner Brothers film Ready, Willing and Able, as well as a production number in a musical revue on Broadway.
The song was used as the love theme for the characters played by Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart in the 1947 film noir Dark Passage, directed by Delmer Daves. It was introduced in a version sung by Jo Stafford, then recurred as an instrumental at important points in the story.
Alec Wilder has praised the song as a "model of pop song writing, musically and lyrically". He cited its surprising shifts in rhythm and key.
The lyrics have won praise as sophisticated and perfectly synchronized with the tune. In the opinion of at least one critic, Mercer borrowed some of the lyric techniques and wordplay from Ira Gershwin. Singer Margaret Whiting was the daughter of composer Whiting and a good friend of lyricist Mercer. She said that Mercer's lyrics in "Too Marvelous for Words" were an enormously original approach to saying "I love you, honey".
- Brazilian Jazz Quartet (1958, Coffee and Jazz)
- Ross Alexander (1937, Film Soundtrack)
- Ambrose and his orchestra (vocal: Sam Browne) (1937)
- Gene Ammons
- Ray Anthony
- Tex Beneke and The Glenn Miller orchestra (1948)
- Chu Berry (1949)
- Pat Boone
- Dave Brubeck
- June Christy - A Friendly Session, Vol. 3 (2000) with the Johnny Guarnieri Quintet
- Rosemary Clooney (1959)
- Nat King Cole Trio (1947)
- Bing Crosby with Jimmy Dorsey and his orchestra (1937)
- Billy Daniels
- Doris Day (1949)
- Eddy Duchin and his orchestra (1937)
- Eileen Farrell
- Michael Feinstein
- Ella Fitzgerald (1956) and on her Verve release Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Johnny Mercer Songbook, 1964.
- Helen Forrest (1949)
- Beverly Garland (soundtrack of 1960 Twilight Zone episode "The Four of Us Are Dying")
- Judy Garland
- Stan Getz
- Carroll Gibbons and Savoy Orphans (vocal: George Melachrino) (1937)
- Coleman Hawkins
- Dick Haymes
- Billie Holiday and Her Orchestra in Los Angeles on September 3, 1954 with Harry Edison on trumpet, Willie Smith on alto saxophone, Bobby Tucker on piano, Barney Kessel on guitar, Red Callender on bass, and Chico Hamilton drums, and at the Carnegie Hall in New York City on November 10, 1956. Her Orchestra was formed by Roy Eldridge on trumpet, Coleman Hawkins on tenor saxophone, Carl Drinkard on piano, Kenny Burrell on guitar, Carson Smith on bass, and Chico Hamilton ob drums.
- Helen Humes
- Harry James and his orchestra (1943)
- Joni James (1959)
- Diana Krall
- Frankie Laine with orchestra conducted by Michel Legrand (1958)
- Abbe Lane
- Dean Martin
- Marian McPartland
- Johnny Mercer (1971)
- Helen Merrill
- Red Norvo and The Overseas Spotlight Band (1943)
- Louis Prima
- Johnnie Ray (1958)
- Leo Reisman and his orchestra (1937)
- Lita Roza (1956)
- Andy Russell
- Artie Shaw
- Frank Sinatra - Songs for Swingin' Lovers! (1956)
- Jeri Southern - The Southern Style/A Prelude To A Kiss (1998)
- Jo Stafford
- Art Tatum
- Margaret Whiting
- Joe Williams
- Lester Young
- Wilder, Alec (1990). American Popular Song: The Great Innovators, 1900-1950. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-501445-6.
- Furia, Philip (1990). The Poets of Tin Pan Alley. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-506408-9.
- Wilk, Max (1997). They're Playing Our Song. New York: Da Capo. ISBN 0-306-80746-7.
- "Billie Holiday Discography". jazzdisco.org.