With such classics as "Mona Lisa" and "Silver Bells" in its catalog, the team of lyricist Ray Evans and composer Jay Livingston is considered by some to be the last of the great songwriting partnerships from Hollywood's golden era. During the duo's still struggling years at Paramount Pictures, a film came along named after a little-known John Donne poem. After the scoring composer, Victor Young, balked at writing a title song that included the phrase -- which was not yet a commonly used phrase, never mind the well-worn cliché it is now -- Livingston & Evans jumped at the chance. As he is quoted on a fan website for the pair, www.quesera-sera.com, Livingston quipped, "We were so eager that we would have written COME TO US JESUS IN E-FLAT if they had asked us to." The song was a number one smash hit in 1946. Over the course of a particular three-week period, five of the Top Ten slots were, amazingly, recordings of "To Each His Own," by Eddy Howard, Tony Martin, Freddy Martin, the Modernaires, and the Ink Spots.
The Ink Spots were at the top of their game in 1946. After struggling for most of the 1930s, the group hit it big with a recording of "If I Didn't Care." That arrangement proved to be a winning formula from which the legendary quartet never strayed, and of course "To Each His Own" is no exception. After a gentle guitar arpeggio, lead singer Bill Kenny enters with his smooth phrasing, studied enunciation, and lilting tenor. We also have the requisite Hoppy Jones spoken word break, seamless harmonies, and the elegantly dramatic falsetto ending. The song is a classic ballad in form, with two verses, a bridge, and a final verse. It is a simple but romantically poetic lyric: "A rose must remain/With the sun and the rain/Or its lovely promise won't come true/To each his own, to each his own/For me there's you/Two lips must insist/On two more to be kissed/Or they'll never know what love can do."