Jazz Standards.com : Jazz Standards : Songs : History : Biographies
Home Overview Songs Biographies History Theory Search Bookstore About

All of Me (1931)

Share your comments on this tune...

Origin and Chart Information
“Belle Baker had just lost her husband, and, struck by the personal sense of loss conveyed in the lyrics, broke down weeping during a performance. The press picked up the story and before long the song was a hit.”

- JW

Rank 71
Words and Music Gerald Marks
Seymour Simons

Vaudeville star Belle Baker introduced the public to “All of Me” over the radio in 1931. Detroit songwriters, Seymour Simons and Gerald Marks, offered Baker the song, and she sang it onstage at the Motor City’s famous Fisher Theatre. As the story goes, the singer had just lost her husband, and, struck by the personal sense of loss conveyed in the lyrics, broke down weeping during a performance. The national press picked up the story and before long the song was a hit.


More on Belle Baker at JazzBiographies.com

A December 1, 1931, recording of “All of Me” by Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra, with vocalist Mildred Bailey, was the song’s first major hit. It entered the pop charts in January of 1932 and rose to the number one position where it held for three weeks. By February three renditions of “All of Me” were on the charts, Louis Armstrong’s version also climbing to number one. All told, the hits included:

  • Louis Armstrong (1932, #1)
  • Paul Whiteman and His orchestra (1932, Mildred Bailey, vocal, #1)
  • Ben Selvin and His Orchestra (1932, #19)
  • Count Basie and His Orchestra (1943, Lynne Sherman, vocal, #14)
  • Frank Sinatra (1948, #21)
  • Johnny Ray (1952, #12)

Chart information used by permission from
Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890-1954

“All of Me” was also included in the 1932 Fox Studios comedy, Careless Lady, starring Joan Bennett and John Boles. A New York Times review characterized the film as “artificial,” “strained,” and “haphazardly directed so lacking in suspense that a child could hazard a guess as to how the tame complications are going to be untangled.”

After 1932, “All of Me” was largely forgotten until after World War II when a 1948 Frank Sinatra recording was a modest hit. It resurfaced again when Sinatra sang it in Meet Danny Wilson (1952), giving a boost to Johnny Ray’s recording that same year.

At the 2000 Award and Induction Ceremony, the Songwriters Hall of Fame selected “All of Me” as one of two songs to receive that year’s Towering Song Award. Praising the Marks/Simons composition, the SHOF comments,

Truly a Towering Song, “All Of Me,” first introduced by the singing star Belle Baker, was recorded by Frank Sinatra four different times, each time with a different interpretation. More recently, country star Willie Nelson, also recorded “All Of Me,” a version which enjoyed a lengthy stay on both the pop and country charts.


More on Seymour Simons at JazzBiographies.com

More on Gerald Marks at JazzBiographies.com

More information on this tune...

Henry Martin
Enjoying Jazz
Schirmer Books
Paperback: 302 pages

(Author Martin devotes two pages to “All of Me” including a musical analysis, a list of performers, and a jazz solo transcription.)
See the Reading and Research links on this page for additional references.

- Jeremy Wilson

Recommendations for This Tune
Click on any CD for more details at Amazon.com
Louis Armstrong
This Is Jazz, Vol. 23: Louis Armstrong Sings
1997 Sony 65039
Original recording 1932
Armstrong made many delightful recordings of this tune. The first of them, represented on this compilation, was the biggest hit and ranks among the best of them in the spirit and command of his playing and singing.
Lester Young and Teddy Wilson
Pres and Teddy
Polygram Records 831270
Original recording 1956
Saxophonist Young and pianist Wilson had a number of fruitful collaborations over the years. The last of them occurred in 1956 on a recording session in which the two swing era giants, joined by bassist Gene Ramey and drummer “Papa” Jo Jones, produced one of the most swinging versions of “All of Me” ever recorded.
Echoes of an Era
Echoes of an Era
2003 Elektra 73781
Original recording 1982
This all-star group features Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, Joe Henderson on tenor saxophone, Chick Corea on piano, Stanley Clarke on bass and Lenny White on drums, with R&B diva Chaka Khan on vocals. Given Khan’s history and the fusion credentials of the instrumentalists, it surprised some that this was an entirely acoustic, straight-ahead jazz album. Khan proves here to be more than capable as a jazz vocalist, and her rendition of “All of Me” is delightful.

- Noah Baerman

Sarah Vaughan
Swingin' Easy
1992 Polygram 14072
Original recording 1954
Vaughan is irresistibly swinging on this performance with the equally swinging backing of Jimmy Jones, Richard Davis and Roy Haynes. Her scat solo, meanwhile, is breathtaking in its dexterity and creativity.
Sidney Bechet
Fabulous Sidney Bechet
2001 Blue Note 30607
Original recording 1953
Bechet’s small group takes its time with a relaxed interpretation of “All of Me.” Of course, the relaxed tempo doesn’t stifle Bechet’s irrepressible soloing style.
Erroll Garner
Erroll Garner 1949
Classics 1138

Pianist Garner gives the song a Tin Pan Alley feel on this busy but highly original reading of the song.
King Pleasure
Golden Days
1991,Original Jazz Classics 1772
Original recording, 1960
This rollicking rendition highlights the vocalese talents of King Pleasure. Twisting and multiplying lyrics tenfold the singer keeps this high-energy swing going at a blistering pace.
Lee Konitz
Motion (Dig)
Original Recording 1961
Alto saxophonist Konitz is his original and intriguing self on this track. Drummer Elvin Jones and bassist Sonny Dallas lay down an up-tempo base for Konitz's spellbinding, improvisational, solo runs.
Sonny Stitt and Jack McDuff
Stitt Meets Brother Jack
Original recording 1962
Saxophonist Stitt and organist McDuff deliver a mid-tempo, swing rendition of the song. This laid-back reading features great horn runs over soulful organ and interesting percussion.

- Ben Maycock

Copyright 2005-2015 - JazzStandards.com - All Rights Reserved      Permission & contact information

Home | Overview | Songs | Biographies | History | Theory | Search | Bookstore | About