Afterglow Jazz and American Popular Song

Betty Comden: a Tribute

This week on Afterglow we’ll honor the musical legacy of songwriter Betty Comden, who worked on many successful musicals and movies of the 1940s and 1950s.

Play Episode (Real Audio)
Betty Comden Adolph Green Album Cover

Photo: Album Cover

Betty Comden and creative partner Adolph Green worked on many successful musicals and movies of the 1940s and 1950s, including On the Town, Singin’ in the Rain, Take Me Out to the Ballgame, and Bells Are Ringing.

This week on Afterglow we’ll honor the musical legacy of songwriter Betty Comden, who passed away on November 23 at the age of 89.

Along with creative partner Adolph Green, Comden worked on many successful musicals and movies of the 1940s and 1950s, including On the Town , Singin’ in the Rain , Take Me Out to the Ballgame, and Bells Are Ringing .

Among the songs that bear their stamp are “Some Other Time,” “Lucky to Be Me,” “Make Someone Happy,” and “Lonely Town.”

We’ll hear recordings of those numbers and others from Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Blossom Dearie, Peggy Lee, and many more during the second hour of Afterglow this week.

You can read more about Betty Comden here.

Music Heard On This Episode

Stella By Starlight
Charlie Parker — With Strings: the Master Takes
album cover
Stella By Starlight
Charlie Parker — With Strings: the Master Takes
album cover
What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?
Anita O'Day — Live at the City San Francisco 1979 (Emily, 1979)
album cover
Pick Yourself Up
George Shearing — Jazz Masters (Verve, 1950)
album cover
Lament
Mark Murphy — Song for the Geese (RCA, 1997)

Notes: Based on a J.J. Johnson composition.

album cover
Portrait of Sidney Bechet
Duke Ellington — New Orleans Suite (Atlantic, 1970)

Notes: Paul Gonsalves on tenor sax (Ellington had wanted Johnny Hodges to play the solo on soprano sax, but Hodges died two days before the recording).

album cover
I Can't Face the Music
Mildred Bailey — Complete Columbia Recordings (Mosaic, 1938)

Notes: With Red Norvo's orchestra.

album cover
How Are Things in Glocca Morra?
Sonny Rollins — Volume One (Blue Note, 1956)
album cover
I Was Doing All Right
Diana Krall — From This Moment On (Verve, 2006)

Notes: New release. George & Ira Gershwin song.

album cover
Stairway to the Steinway
Joe Roland — Joe Roland (Bethlehem, 1956)

Notes: Written by pianist Freddie Redd.

album cover
Mood in Question
Artie Shaw — Artistry of Artie Shaw (Hep, 1949)

Notes: Recorded with the New Music String Quartet.

album cover
A Swingin' Serenade
Harry James — Jazz Masters (Verve, 1961)
album cover
Make Me a Present of You
Dinah Washington — Dinah! (Emarcy, 1955)
album cover
I See Your Face Before Me
Hank Mobley — Dippin' (Blue Note, 1965)
album cover
It's Love
Carmen McRae — Here to Stay (Decca, 1959)

Notes: Comden & Green lyrics; music by Leonard Bernstein. From the musical WONDERFUL TOWN.

album cover
Just in Time
Blossom Dearie — Sings Comden and Green (Verve, 1959)

Notes: Lyrics by Comden & Green; music by Jules Styne. From BELLS ARE RINGING.

album cover
The Right Girl for Me
Frank Sinatra — Columbia Years 1943-52 (Sony/Legacy, 1949)

Notes: From TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME.

album cover
Make Someone Happy
Nancy Wilson — Broadway--My Way (Capitol, 1963)

Notes: From DO RE MI. Music by Jule Styne.

album cover
New York, New York
Frank Sinatra — Frank Sinatra in Hollywood 1940-64 (Reprise, 1949)

Notes: From the movie version of ON THE TOWN. Lyrics by Comden & Green, music by Leonard Bernstein.

album cover
O'Brien to Ryan to Goldberg
Frank Sinatra — Frank Sinatra in Hollywood 1940-64 (Reprise, 1949)

Notes: From the movie TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME. Gene Kelly on vocals as well.

album cover
I Like Myself
Gene Kelly — That's Entertainment! (Rhino, 1955)

Notes: From IT'S ALWAYS FAIR WEATHER. Lyrics by Comden and Green, music by Andre Previn.

album cover
Carried Away
Betty Comden/Adolph Green — On the Town (Columbia, 1960)

Notes: Lyrics by Comden & Green, music by Leonard Bernstein.

album cover
How Will He Know?
Blossom Dearie — Sings Comden and Green (Verve, 1959)

Notes: From TWO ON THE AISLE. Lyrics by Comden and Green, music by Jule Styne.

album cover
Hold Me, Hold Me, Hold Me
Blossom Dearie — Sings Comden and Green (Verve, 1959)

Notes: From TWO ON THE AISLE. Music by Jule Styne.

album cover
Lonely Town
Andy Bey — American Song (Savoy, 2004)

Notes: From ON THE TOWN. Lyrics by Comden and Green, music by Leonard Bernstein.

album cover
The Party's Over
Peggy Lee — Latin a la Lee (Capitol, 1959)

Notes: From BELLS ARE RINGING. Lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, music by Jule Styne.

album cover
Lucky to Be Me
Tony Bennett/Bill Evans — Together Again (Rhino, 1977)

Notes: From ON THE TOWN. Lyrics by Comden & Green, music by Leonard Bernstein.

album cover
Some Other Time
Betty Comden/Adolph Green — On the Town (Columbia, 1960)

Notes: From ON THE TOWN. Lyrics by Comden and Green, music by Leonard Bernstein.

album cover
David Brent Johnson

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, David Brent Johnson moved to Bloomington in 1991. He is an alumnus of Indiana University, and began working with WFIU in 2002. Currently, David serves as jazz producer and systems coordinator at the station. His interests include literature, history, music, writing, and movies.

View all posts by this author »

Stay Connected

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Afterglow:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

About Afterglow

About The Host

Search Afterglow

This Week On Night Lights

After The Vanguard: The Return Of Bill Evans

Bill Evans After Vanguard

In the summer of 1961 Bill Evans hit a new creative peak with his trio. Then the trio's gifted bassist, Scott LaFaro, died in a car wreck. What happened next?

Read more »

Night Lights is WFIU's weekly program of classic jazz hosted by David Brent Johnson.

More from Night Lights »