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If I Had You (1928)

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Origin and Chart Information
“Benny Goodman’s Sextet grabs the honors for the first jazz recording of this tune, and it’s an excellent version...”

- Chris Tyle

Rank 65
Words and Music James Campbell
Reginald Connelly
Ted Shapiro

Originally “If I Had You” was a British ballad popularized by Al Bowlly. Within weeks of the song’s release Rudy Vallee and His Connecticut Yankees brought it across the Atlantic. Both the Bowlly and the Vallee recordings made it onto the pop charts.

  • Al Bowlly (1929, with Fred Elizalde and His Orchestra, #12)
  • Rudy Vallee and His Connecticut Yankees (1929, #7)

More on Al Bowlly at JazzBiographies.com

More on Rudy Vallee at JazzBiographies.com

Among other 1929 recordings of “If I Had You” in the U.S. were,

  • The Original Wolverines
  • Al Starita and the Piccadilly Players
  • The Colonial Club Orchestra
  • Bert Ambrose and his Embassy Club Orchestra
  • Sam Lanin and His Orchestra (Bing Crosby, vocal)

And in France,

  • Ray Ventura and His Collegians.

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

“If I Had You” composers, Brits James Campbell and Reginald Connelly, were lyricists who usually worked with other composers. They are best known today for Campbell and Connelly & Co. Ltd., the music-publishing house they founded in London in 1925. Now part of the international publishing conglomerate Music Sales, Campbell and Connelly boasts a catalog of over 75,000 individual song copyrights and musical shows. Their sheet music collection includes, of course, “If I Had You,” which proudly declares across its front cover, “The Prince of Wales’ Favorite Fox Trot.”

In addition to “If Had You,” the Campbell and Connelly team wrote “Goodnight, Sweetheart” (1931, Ray Noble, music) and “Try a Little Tenderness” (1933, Harry M. Woods, music).


More on James Campbell at JazzBiographies.com

More on Reginald Connelly at JazzBiographies.com

Ted Shapiro (1899-1980) is best known as Sophie Tucker’s accompanist and musical director from 1921 until her last performance in 1963.


More on Ted Shapiro at JazzBiographies.com

More information on this tune...

Thomas S. Hischak
The Tin Pan Alley Song Encyclopedia
Greenwood Press
Hardcover: 552 pages

(Hischak summarizes the history of the song, discusses its style, and mentions performers and films in which it has appeared.)
See the Reading and Research panel below for more references.

- Jeremy Wilson

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