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“You Couldn’t Be Cuter” – Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields

1344342170-mI like to sing to my cat. I’m not sure she appreciates it; she usually just stares at me with her big eyes. But I keep singing, because I can’t help it. I have this urge to sing to someone and only my cat is relatively receptive to this. The sad truth is that, unlike in movies, people are not willing to sit still while you serenade them for a few minutes…even if you do sound like Dorothy Lamour, Doris Day or Ella Fitzerald (which I do not, alas).

But still, I defiantly sing on!

The latest song I have had in my head is “You Couldn’t be Cuter.” The music was written by Jerome Kern (of Show Boat fame) and the lyrics by Dorothy Fields (who wrote the lyrics for Kern’s songs in Swing Time). It was written for Irene Dunne to sing in the comedy The Joy Of Living. She plays a Broadway singer who evidently doesn’t know how to enjoy life until Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. come along. Has anyone seen it? I never have, but I usually enjoy Irene Dunne, so I am curious to check it out sometime.

Irene Dunne seems to have appeared in a number of Jerome Kern musicals: Roberta (with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers), High, Wide and Handsome, Show BoatSweet Adeline. Since Jerome Kern represents a transitional figure between European Operetta and American popular music, perhaps it isn’t surprising that her voice turned out to be well suited for his music. He wrote some of the loveliest melodies of all the great American composers. Can you imagine Irene Dunne singing George Gershwin? Not as well…though I’m sure she must have at some point or other.

Anyway, Irene Dunne was not generally a recording artist and so when “You Couldn’t Be Cuter” was first heard on radio, it was performed by Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra and it became a hit.

And where would we be without Ella Fitzgerald. She sang this song as part of her Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Jerome Kern Songbook.

I am not sure who the vocalist is, but this version is done by Benny Goodman and His Orchestra.

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2016 in Music

 

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