Willow Weep for Me
|"Willow Weep for Me"|
|Song by Ted Fio Rito|
"Willow Weep for Me" is a popular song composed in 1932 by Ann Ronell, who also wrote the lyrics. The song form is AABA and it is written in 4/4 time, although it is occasionally adapted for 3/4 waltz time, as on recordings by Phil Woods (Musique du Bois, 1974) and Dr. Lonnie Smith (Jungle Soul, 2006.) It is mostly known as a jazz standard, having been recorded first by Ted Fio Rito (with vocal by Muzzy Marcellino) in October 1932 and by Paul Whiteman (with vocal by Irene Taylor) the following month. Both were hits in December 1932. It was a Top 40 hit for the British duo Chad & Jeremy in 1964; the song was released on their Yesterday's Gone album and reached No. 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 1 on the Adult Contemporary chart.
One account of the inspiration for the song is that, during her time at Radcliffe College, Ronell "had been struck by the loveliness of the willow trees on campus, and this simple observation became the subject of an intricate song". The song was not initially accepted by publishers, for several reasons. First, the song is dedicated to George Gershwin; a dedication to another writer was disapproved of at the time, so the first person presented with the song for publication, Saul Bornstein, passed it to Irving Berlin, who chose to accept it. Other reasons stated for its slow acceptance are that it was written by a woman and that its construction was unusually complex for a composition that was targeted at a commercial audience (i.e. radio broadcast, record sales and sheet music sales). An implied tempo change in the fifth bar, a result of a switch from the two quavers and a quaver triplet opening in each of the first four bars to just four quavers opening the fifth, then back to two quavers and a quaver triplet opening the sixth bar, which then has a more offset longer note than any of the previous bars, was one cause of Bornstein's concern. Notable recordings continued from the early 1950s, following the success of Stan Kenton's 1950 release (with vocal by June Christy) of the song.
- Ted Fio Rito - with vocal by Muzzy Marcellino (1932)
- Paul Whiteman Orchestra - with vocal by Irene Taylor (1932), US No. 2
- Harry James recorded a version in 1939 on Columbia 35242.
- Art Tatum - solo piano, live at the Just Jazz concert, presented by Gene Norman at Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles, CA (1949)
- Stan Kenton - Artistry in Rhythm (1950) (The track "Willow Weep for Me" was recorded with June Christy in 1946) & Standards in Silhouette (1959) (Instrumental)
- Thelonious Monk and Milt Jackson (1951), appears on Monk's Genius of Modern Music: Volume 2 (1952) and Jackson's Wizard of the Vibes (1952)
- Cannonball Adderley - Bohemia After Dark (1955)
- Ben Webster - Music for Loving (1955)
- Billie Holiday - Lady Sings the Blues (1956)
- Dinah Washington - Dinah! (1956) on EmArcy Records
- Louis Armstrong - Louis Armstrong Meets Oscar Peterson (1957) on Verve Records
- Sarah Vaughan - At Mister Kelly's (1957)
- Tommy Flanagan - Overseas (1957)
- Red Garland - Groovy (1957)
- Frank Sinatra - Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely (1958)
- Nina Simone - The Amazing Nina Simone (1959)
- Andy Williams - Lonely Street (1959)
- The Coasters - One By One (1960)
- Ella Fitzgerald - Hello, Love (1960)
- Rita Reys - Marriage in Modern Jazz (1960)
- Baby Face Willette - Stop and Listen (1961)
- Al Hirt - The Greatest Horn in the World (1961)
- Lou Rawls - Stormy Monday (1962) and re-issued on the compilation Midnight Jazz (2004)
- Sheila Jordan - Portrait of Sheila (1963)
- Dexter Gordon - Our Man in Paris (1963)
- Chad & Jeremy - Yesterday's Gone (1964)
- Jack Jones - Where Love Has Gone (1964)
- Earl Grant - Just for a Thrill (1964) (instrumental version)
- Bob Asklöf - Pour toi mon amour (1965) (version française)
- George Benson - It's Uptown (1966) (instrumental version)
- The Thad Jones / Mel Lewis Orchestra, arrangement by Bob Brookmeyer - Presenting Thad Jones / Mel Lewis and the Jazz Orchestra (1966)
- Freddie Hubbard - Fastball (1967) (Ten-minute version recorded live in Baltimore, Maryland)
- Barbra Streisand - Simply Streisand (1967) and re-issued on Release Me (2012)
- Booker T. & the M.G.'s - Soul Limbo (1968) (instrumental version)
- Wes Montgomery - Willow Weep for Me (1969)
- James Brown Willow Weep for Me album Gettin' Down to It (1969)
- Oscar Pettiford- Blue Brothers (1973) (The track was recorded at Bigos Studio in Copenhagen in July 1960)
- Dick Hyman - An Evening At The Cookery (album) (1973) (piano solo), first issued as JRB Records CD-3007 (2002)
- June Christy - A Lovely Way to Spend An Evening (1986), Impromptu (1977)
- Yoshiko Kimura - Memories (1979), with pianist Clare Fischer and saxophonist Gary Foster
- R. Bruce Hyde - Bruce @ the Network Coffee House (1980)
- Francine Bell - "Francine Bell", Paris, France (1983)
- Cleo Laine - Woman To Woman (1989)
- Marian McPartland - Live at Maybeck Recital Hall (1991)
- David Sanborn - Pearls (1995)
- Rosemary Clooney - At Long Last (with the Count Basie Orchestra) (1998)
- Tin Hat Trio (with Willie Nelson) - The Rodeo Eroded (2002)
- Ann Hampton Callaway - Blues in the Night (2006)
- Diana Krall - From This Moment On (2006)
- Liane Carroll - Slow Down (2007)
- Wynton Kelly - Sides of Blue (2007)
- Franck Amsallem - Amsallem Sings (2009)
- Johnny Dankworth - Too Cool For The Blues (2010)
- The Kills - His Way, Our Way and a single release (2009)
- Maysa Leak - Woman in Love (2010)
- Vocal Spectrum - Vocal Spectrum III (2011)
- Sinne Eeg - Eeg – Fonnesbæk (2015)
- Zimmers, Tighe, E. (2009). Tin Pan Alley Girl: A Biography of Ann Ronell. McFarland. pp. 19-22.
- Gioia, Ted (2012). The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire. Oxford University Press. pp. 460-462.
- Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 51.
- The New Real Book (1988). Sher Music. p. 406.
- The Coasters, One By One Retrieved February 22, 2012
- Al Hirt, The Greatest Horn in the World Retrieved April 6, 2013.
- "Oscar Pettiford - Blue Brothers". Discogs. Retrieved 2017-02-17.
- Dick Hyman, An Evening At The Cookery - June 17, 1973 Retrieved May 13, 2015.
- "Pearls overview". Allmusic.com.
- "Willow Weep for Me - Single by The Kills". iTunes (GB). Retrieved February 1, 2014.