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Afterglow Jazz and American Popular Song

Out Of Nowhere: The Songs Of Edward Heyman

Some well-known songs by a little-known lyricist, sung by Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, and others.

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Photo: Betty Boop's Penthouse

Heyman wrote the lyrics for some of the 20th century's best-known standards.

Edward Heyman gave us the words for “I Cover the Waterfront,” “When I Fall In Love,” “Blame It On My Youth,” and the title and some of the words for “Body and Soul,” among other songs. He collaborated with a number of fine melody writers, including Victor Young, Vincent Youmans, Arthur Schwartz, and perhaps most successfully, Johnny Green.

Edward Heyman was born March 14, 1907 in New York City. He attended the University of Michigan, where he began to write musicals, and then he moved back to New York and got into the Tin Pan Alley scene. In his book Stardust Melodies, Will Friedwald calls Heyman

an excellent lyricist… one of the underrated (though hardly unsung) heroes of pop-love lyrics.

Heyman eventually headed to Hollywood and enjoyed his creative heyday from the 1930s to the 1950s. He died in Mexico in March of 1981. Ironically enough, the song for which he’s probably known best, “Body and Soul,” was also the product of two other lyricists–and Friedwald doesn’t rate it among Heyman’s best work, partly because other writers were involved, calling the final result somewhat of a “mishmash.” But it was Heyman who supplied the song with its memorably essential title and who crafted the architectural magic of the song’s opening lines.

Music Heard On This Episode

Body and Soul
Mark Murphy — Mark Murphy Sings (Muse, 1995)
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Body and Soul
Mark Murphy — Mark Murphy Sings (Muse, 1995)
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Out of Nowhere
Bing Crosby — Bing: His Legendary Years 1931-57 (MCA, 1993)
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When I Fall In Love
Jeri Southern — The Very Thought of You: Best of the Decca Years (Verve, 1999)
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For Sentimental Reasons
Tommy Dorsey — Complete On Bluebird V. 2 (RCA Bluebird, 1936)
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Love Letters
Nat King Cole — Love Is The Thing (Capitol, 1992)
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I Cover The Waterfront
Billie Holiday — Commodore Master Takes (Polygram, 2000)
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Blame It On My Youth
Frank Sinatra — Close To You And More (Capitol, 2002)
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I'm Yours (midpoint music bed)
Mary Ann McCall — You're Mine, You: 1939-50 (Hep, 2004)
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Easy Come, Easy Go
Helen Merrill — Merrill At Midnight (Verve, 2006)
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I Wanna Be Loved
Dinah Washington — I Wanna Be Loved (Verve, 2005)
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You're Mine, You
Mary Ann McCall — You're Mine, You: 1939-50 (Hep, 2004)
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You Ought To Be In Pictures
Doris Day — Complete Standard Transcriptions (Soundies, 1999)
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Hello, My Lover, Goodbye
Doris Day — Day By Day/Day By Night (Collectables, 2000)
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Body and Soul
Billie Holiday — All Or Nothing At All (Verve, 1995)
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Blue Bird Of Happiness
Jimmy Durante — September Song (Rhino/Warner, 2008)
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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.

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