Willow Weep for Me

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"Willow Weep for Me"
Song by Ted Fio Rito
Published 1932
Genre Pop song
Songwriter(s) Ann Ronell

"Willow Weep for Me" is a popular song composed in 1932 by Ann Ronell, who also wrote the lyrics. The song form is AABA and it is written in 4/4 time,[1] although it is occasionally adapted for 3/4 waltz time, as on recordings by Phil Woods (Musique du Bois, 1974) and Dr. Lonnie Smith (Jungle Soul, 2006.) It is mostly known as a jazz standard, having been recorded first by Ted Fio Rito (with vocal by Muzzy Marcellino) in October 1932 and by Paul Whiteman (with vocal by Irene Taylor) the following month. Both were hits in December 1932.[2]

It was a Top 40 hit for the British duo Chad & Jeremy in 1964; the song was released on their Yesterday's Gone album and reached No. 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 1 on the Adult Contemporary chart.[3]

One account of the inspiration for the song is that, during her time at Radcliffe College, Ronell "had been struck by the loveliness of the willow trees on campus, and this simple observation became the subject of an intricate song."[2]

The song was rejected by publishers for several reasons. First, the song is dedicated to George Gershwin. A dedication to another writer was disapproved of at the time, so the first person presented with the song for publication, Saul Bornstein, passed it to Irving Berlin, who accepted it. Other reasons stated for its slow acceptance are that it was written by a woman and that its construction was unusually complex for a composition that was targeted at a commercial audience (i.e. radio broadcast, record sales and sheet music sales).[1] An implied tempo change in the fifth bar, a result of a switch from the two eighth notes and an eighth-note triplet opening in each of the first four bars to just four eighth notes opening the fifth, then back to two eighth notes and an eighth-note triplet opening the sixth bar, which then has a more offset longer note than any of the previous bars, was one cause of Bornstein's concern.[1][4] Notable recordings continued into the 1950s, starting with Stan Kenton's version with June Christy.[1][2]

Cover versions[edit]

Year Performer Album Source
1932 Paul Whiteman with Irene Taylor [2]
1932 Ted Fio Rito with Muzzy Marcellino
1946 Stan Kenton with June Christy [2]
1951 Thelonious Monk and Milt Jackson Genius of Modern Music: Volume 2
1955 Ben Webster Music for Loving
1955 Cannonball Adderley Bohemia After Dark
1956 Billie Holiday Lady Sings the Blues
1956 Dinah Washington Dinah!
1957 Louis Armstrong Louis Armstrong Meets Oscar Peterson
1957 Red Garland Groovy [2]
1957 Sarah Vaughan At Mister Kelly's
1957 Tommy Flanagan Overseas
1958 Frank Sinatra Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely [2]
1959 Andy Williams Lonely Street
1959 Nina Simone The Amazing Nina Simone
1960 Ella Fitzgerald Hello, Love
1960 Rita Reys Marriage in Modern Jazz
1960 Stanley Turrentine Blue Hour
1960 The Coasters One by One [5]
1961 Al Hirt The Greatest Horn in the World
1961 Baby Face Willette Stop and Listen
1962 Lou Rawls Stormy Monday
1963 Dexter Gordon Our Man in Paris
1963 Sheila Jordan Portrait of Sheila
1964 Chad & Jeremy Yesterday's Gone
1964 Earl Grant Just for a Thrill
1964 Jack Jones Where Love Has Gone
1966 George Benson It's Uptown
1966 The Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra Presenting Thad Jones/Mel Lewis and the Jazz Orchestra [2]
1967 Barbra Streisand Simply Streisand
1967 Freddie Hubbard Fastball
1968 Booker T. & the M.G.'s Soul Limbo
1969 Wes Montgomery Willow Weep for Me
1973 Dick Hyman An Evening at the Cookery
1973 Oscar Pettiford Blue Brothers
1974 Oscar Peterson and Harry Edison Oscar Peterson and Harry Edision [2]
1974 Phil Woods with Jaki Byard Musique du Bois [2]
1976 Ryo Fukui Scenery
1977 June Christy Impromptu
1988 Steve Miller Born 2 B Blue [6]
1989 Cleo Laine Woman to Woman
1991 Marian McPartland Live at Maybeck Recital Hall
1995 David Sanborn Pearls [7]
1998 Rosemary Clooney At Long Last
2002 Tin Hat Trio with Willie Nelson The Rodeo Eroded
2006 Ann Hampton Callaway Blues in the Night
2006 Diana Krall From This Moment On
2007 Wynton Kelly Sides of Blue
2007 Liane Carroll Slow Down
2009 Franck Amsallem Amsallem Sings
2009 The Kills His Way, Our Way
2010 John Dankworth Too Cool for the Blues
2010 Maysa Leak Woman in Love
2011 Vocal Spectrum Vocal Spectrum III
2015 Sinne Eeg Eeg – Fonnesbaek

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Zimmers, Tighe, E. (2009). Tin Pan Alley Girl: A Biography of Ann Ronell. McFarland. pp. 19-22.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Gioia, Ted (2012). The Jazz Standards. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 460–462. ISBN 978-0-19-993739-4.
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 51.
  4. ^ The New Real Book (1988). Sher Music. p. 406.
  5. ^ Poet, J. "One by One". AllMusic. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  6. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Born 2B Blue". AllMusic. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  7. ^ Yanow, Scott. "Pearls". AllMusic. Retrieved 9 May 2018.

External links[edit]