Archived post

This is an archived post. Please click here to see the latest entries.

« Bond is Back | Home | Tout a coup, I Feel Like Registering a Domain »

Sunday Morning Sinatra - “One For My Baby (And One More for the Road)”

It has been a long while since I’ve posted a Sunday Morning Sinatra. Feels like it’s time.

Scott Johnson, a one-man Grove Dictionary of American standards, observes that yesterday, November 18, was the anniversary of Johnny Mercer’s birth. Mercer is a poet whose name is not widely known. But his words have sopped the heart of any American who has taken even a wayward glance at his country’s musical history. Jeepers creepers, where’d you get those peepers. P. S. I love you. Moon river, wider than a mile. That old black magic that you weave so well. Two sweethearts and the summer wind. Elim-my-nate the negative. Californ-eye-ay. Fools rush in. Goody goody for him, goody goody for me. I’m gonna love you like nobody’s loved you, come rain or come shine. Any place I hang my hat is home.

The discussion begins and ends, though, with One for my baby, and one more for the road. Many forces conspired to immortalize that pretty and sad song. There’s Harold Arlen, who wrote the music but always knew that his notes lingered in the shadow of Mercer’s words. There’s Bill Miller, the self-taught pianist from Brooklyn whose weeping, careless introduction to the song—trickled out as though from the tap—stole your attention in a single bar because, in a single bar, it told the whole story. And there’s one particular man whose attention it stole: Frank Sinatra, who knew rightness when he heard it and told Miller to remember that riff and to use it from then on. Finally, though, it is all about the words that the fellow says to Joe—Mercer’s words.

If you want to hear that timeless piano introduction, have a look at Scott Johnson’s post. He’s presenting Frank Sinatra’s performance of the song from an early-seventies concert at Royal Festival Hall. Sinatra is standing there in front of Bill Miller’s piano. A full orchestra, Debussy mer swells at the ready, sits in blackness behind.

Below, I have attached an earlier performance from a Sinatra television special. There’s no orchestra and no Bill Miller. Just Frank, a barman, and the most famous plaint in the American songbook.

See past Sunday Morning Sinatra installments here.


Featured posts

  • August 14, 2013
    Breaking: Of Crips and Bloods and Memories of Ghetto Parties
    History repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce, or sometimes it just repeats itself. From the New York Times on November 30, 1998: At Dartmouth College, white students at a ”ghetto party” dressed…
  • June 25, 2013
    Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson’s War on Students Part (2/2)
    Part 1, Part 2 Today’s post again recounts the events that befell the Freshman. However, the content of the Hanover Police department report reproduced in this space yesterday is supplemented by information from my own…
  • October 18, 2009
    When Love Beckoned in 52nd Street
    We were at San Francisco’s BIX last evening, enjoying prosecco, cheese, and a bit of music. A full year of inhabitation in Northern California has unraveled to me no decent venue for proper lounging, but…
  • October 9, 2009
    D Afraid of a Little Competish
    So our colleague and Dartblog writer Joe Asch informed me that the D has rejected our cunning advertising campaign. Uh-oh. The Dartmouth is widely known as a breeding ground for instant New York Times successes,…
  • September 4, 2009
    How Regents Should Reign
    As Dartmouth alumni proceed through the legal hoops necessary to defuse a Board-packing plan—which put in unhappy desuetude an historic 1891 Agreement between alumni and the College guaranteeing a half-democratically-elected Board of Trustees—it strikes one…
  • August 29, 2009
    Election Reform Study Committee
    If you are an alum of the College on the Hill, you may have received a number of e-mails of late beseeching your input for a new arm of the College’s Alumni Control Apparatus called…

Dartblog Specials

Subscribe by Email

Enter your email address:

Help, Pecuniarily

Please note

This website reflects the personal opinions of its authors. Any e-mails received may be published along with the full name of the sender. If you wish otherwise, please say so.

All content appearing at should be presumed copyright 2004-2018 its respective bylined author unless otherwise noted or unless linked to original source.




March 2018
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31