Where’s the Verse? A Singer’s Notes to I’ll See You in My Dreams

December 27, 2016

“I’ll See You in My Dreams” (1924)

Lyrics: Gus Kahn     Music: Isham Jones

I listened to several dozen versions of this perennial favorite, recently heard in the soundtrack of several movies, including Woody Allen’s, Sweet and Lowdown. But none it seemed played the verse, instead going straight to the chorus at the top of the song.  Here’s an example:

Those few who sang the verse did so before 1930, it would appear. At some point, singers just dropped the verse.   Curious, because it’s a wonderful verse, too. (Of course, it’s not as memorable as the hook and on radio of old, no time was wasted.)

These singers skipped the verse and went straight to the famous chorus.

Bing, Ella, Ezio Pinza, Pat Boone, Mr. Armstrong, Sue Raney, Doris Day, The Mills Brothers, Durante, Jolson, Frank Fontaine, Vaughn Monroe, The Platters (!)

Here’s Durante:

Here’s who sang the verse (before 1930):
Marion Harris
Cliff Edwards
Red Nichols (instrumental, but the verse is played)

But other instrumental versions before 1930 are already lopping off the verse:
Ben Bernie
Even Isham Jones’s own recording of 1924!

And after 1930, almost no instrumental versions play the verse at the top: Jan Garber, for example.

The only recent recording in which the verse is at the top appears to be this:
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir

So early on, the tradition was: cut the verse.

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