What'll I Do

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What'll I Do
Song by Irving Berlin
Written 1923

"What'll I Do" is a song written by Irving Berlin in 1923.[1] It was introduced by singers Grace Moore and John Steel[2] late in the run of Berlin's third Music Box Revue and was also included in the following year's (1924) edition.[3] In the lyrics, the singer questions how he or she will get by now that a recent romance has ended.

The song was used as a generalized theme in Nelson Riddle's Academy Award-winning period score for the 1974 film The Great Gatsby starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow, sung by character actor William Atherton. It was sung by Mary Steenburgen in the 1991 movie The Butcher's Wife, and was used as the theme tune to the British sitcom Birds of a Feather. An instrumental version of the song was used under the closing scene of "I Do, Adieu" (1987), the fifth season finale of the sitcom Cheers. The Johnny Mathis version of the song was also used in the closing scene of "The Jet Set," the eleventh episodes in the second season of Mad Men.

Notable recordings[edit]

"What'll I Do" is a popular standard and has been recorded by many artists.


  1. ^ Lyman, Darryl (1996). Jewish Heroes & Heroines: Their Unique Achievements. Jonathan David. p. 183. ISBN 0824603885.
  2. ^ "Second Hand Songs - Artist: Irving Berlin" (list), SecondHandSongs.com, 2007-03-24, webpage: IBerlin1096.
  3. ^ "American Classics - Music Box Revues 1921-1924" (history), webpage: AmClass-IBerlin.