[Dixielandjazz] Bei Meir Bist Du Schoen

Fred Spencer drjz at bealenet.com
Tue Jul 6 11:26:03 PDT 2004

Dear Stan et al.,
In Sammy Cahn's autobiography, "I Should Care" (ArborHouse,1974), he
explains how he happened to write the English lyrics for Bei Mist Du
"In the old days Saul Chaplin, Lou Levy and I would periodically saunter up
to the Apollo Theatre in Harlem. On the stage one night are two black
guys...They sing a song called "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen",
in the original Yiddish. Don't ask me how or why they're doing this, but
there they are...That's the song, and these guys are standing there doing
this Yiddish song in front of this almost 99 per cent black audience." Cahn
wrote the English lyrics and offered the song to Tommy Dorsey, who told him
he was crazy, and then to The Andrews Sisters, who recorded it.
After that he had a harrowing time settling the details of how the proceeds
were to be divided among the original composers and publishers, and the
Sisters, with " a big three-quarters of a cent" for himself! Cheers.
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Stan Brager" <sbrager at socal.rr.com>
To: "AL LEVY" <jazz_man at ix.netcom.com>; <Dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Monday, July 05, 2004 8:16 PM
Subject: Re: [Dixielandjazz] Bei Meir Bist Du Schoen

> Al;
> I'm not quite certain of what your question is. In any event, here's an
> answer.
> "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen" was written for the Yiddish theatre in 1933 by
> Sholem Secunda and Jacob Jacobs. English lyrics were written a bit later,
> 1937, by Sammy Cahn. It soon became quite popular with many groups such as
> Benny Goodman, the Andrew Sisters, Chick Webb with Ella Fitzgerald, Wooden
> Nickel Jazz Band, and others.
> Now, then, what was the "xxxx"?
> Stan
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "AL LEVY" <jazz_man at ix.netcom.com>
> To: <Dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
> Sent: Sunday, July 04, 2004 4:28 PM
> Subject: [Dixielandjazz] Bei Meir Bist Du Schoen
> > Please answer me directly and I'll respond.
> > I'll get around to sending the answer to the group after I
> > get some responses. (I'm taking a poll)
> >
> > I moved to Texas from NY about a year ago.
> > Somebody at a dance we played asked for a "xxxxx" song.
> > Title of the song "Bei Meir Bist Du Schoen".
> > xxxx stands for the nationality or ethnic origin of the tune.
> > I was shocked. It promted me to ask a bunch of musicians
> > and some singers what they thought about the tune's
> > origin. All said the same thing!
> > ================================
> > Let me know what you think. Don't change your mind
> > as a result of this message.
> > I learned something very interesting about the lyrics when I
> > asked Alvy West the same question - two weeks ago.
> > (that very intersting should be read like a line on Laugh In)
> > My gut feeling is the mis-conception is very wide spread.
> > ==================================
> > And now for the rest of the story.
> >
> > Cheers,
> > Al
> > Pianist, Composer, Arranger, Conductor, Teacher and Music Prep.
> > Please visit me at
> > http://alevy.com
> >
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