Jule Styne

I've Heard That Song Before: The Songs of Jule Styne

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Songwriter Jule Styne had a long and successful career that did not end in 1954, when he was 48 years old. In fact, he lived another 40 years after that and spent much of that time composing. But you won't find "Just in Time" or "Everything's Coming Up Roses" or "People" on this disc, because the British reissue label Living Era specializes in taking advantage of the short copyright term on recordings in Europe, a mere 50 years, by assembling unlicensed collections of tracks mastered from old records. Since this one was done in 2005, Styne's centenary year, Living Era would have had to license and pay for any recording made after 1954. Consider this, then, to be a look at about the first half of Styne's career. All but three of the songs were recorded or first introduced in the 1940s, and all but seven have lyrics by Sammy Cahn. Styne and Cahn were the songwriters of choice for Frank Sinatra in the '40s, and they were particularly adept at coming up with songs of romantic longing that took the separations of World War II as their context, songs like "I'll Walk Alone," "It's Been a Long, Long Time," and "I'm Glad I Waited for You." "I Don't Want to Walk Without You," which Styne wrote with Frank Loesser before hooking up with Cahn, also fits into this category. Styne wrote both independent songs and songs for motion pictures, and by the late '40s he was focusing more on Broadway, but still producing hits like "Papa, Won't You Dance with Me?" from his first successful stage musical, High Button Shoes. The compilation continues to rely on pop recordings for these tracks. Styne's interest in Broadway led to a split with Cahn, who preferred Hollywood, and Styne went on to another success with Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, written with Leo Robin. The songs from that show included here come from the movie soundtrack album and are sung by Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell, sometimes with major lyrical revisions from the versions heard on Broadway. A fitting end is brought to the album with Styne's one-off reunion with Cahn for the Academy Award-winning "Three Coins in the Fountain," again sung by Sinatra. It makes for a strong collection of pop music from the World War II era and the first decade after. But a whole other volume might have been dedicated to what came next in Styne's career.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:02
2 2:58
3 2:54
4 3:09
feat: Dinah Shore
6 2:47
7 3:01
8 2:45
9 2:59
10 3:17
11 3:11
feat: Peggy Lee
13 3:16
14 2:35
feat: Jo Stafford
16 3:12
feat: Doris Day
18 2:45
feat: Doris Day
feat: Doris Day
21 3:30
22 3:06
23 3:33
feat: Dean Martin
25 3:01
blue highlight denotes track pick