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

Memories of You (1930)

Share your comments on this tune...

Origin and Chart Information
“Blake recorded this version at the age of 90 but the style and energy are equal to that of much, much earlier versions.”

- Ben Maycock

Rank 83
Music Eubie Blake
Lyrics Andy Razaf

Minto Cato introduced the lover’s lament, “Memories of You,” in Lew Leslie’s musical revue, Blackbirds of 1930. Opening at the the Eltinge Theatre in New York, March 4, 1929, the eagerly awaited show ran for only 57 performances.


More on Minto Cato at JazzBiographies.com

The cast of Blackbirds of 1930 was a veritable who’s who of African American entertainers of the day, including Ethel Waters, Mantan Moreland, Blue McAllister, Jazzlips Richardson, Neeka Shaw, Broadway Jones, Minto Cato, The Berry Brothers, Buck and Bubbles, Cecil Mack’s Choir, and Flournoy Miller (who also wrote the book.)


More on Lew Leslie at JazzBiographies.com

Lew Leslie enlisted the help of Eubie Blake (1883-1983) to write the score for Blackbirds of 1930. Blake was no stranger to Broadway as he had collaborated with Noble Sissle, Flournoy Miller, and Aubrey Lyles on Shuffle Along (1921), the first Broadway musical written, produced, and performed by African Americans. Starring Josephine Baker, Ethel Waters, and Paul Robeson, the musical ran for 504 performances and grossed nearly $8 million. Shuffle Along marked a turning point for the New York theater scene and has even been credited as the beginning of what would be termed the Harlem Renaissance. Blake and Sissle went on to collaborate on the musical Elsie (1923) and the revue Chocolate Dandies (1924).


More on Eubie Blake at JazzBiographies.com

It was during his work on Blackbirds of 1930 that Blake met Andy Razaf (1895-1973). Razaf was well known in songwriting circles for his collaborations with Fats Waller which included the hits “Honeysuckle Rose” (1929), “Ain’t Misbehavin’” (1929), and “Black and Blue” (1929). Blake and Razaf would become a prolific writing team, going on to collaborate on more than 80 songs, the best known of which are “Memories of You” and “You’re Lucky to Me,” also from Blackbirds of 1930.


More on Andy Razaf at JazzBiographies.com

The song first appeared on the charts in 1930, rising to number 18, courtesy of Louis Armstrong. Ten years later The Ink Spots’ rendition reached number 29. The most played and probably best-remembered version, however, was by high-note trumpeter Sonny Dunham, who played with Glen Gray and the Casa Loma Orchestra.


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

“Memories of You” resurfaced on Broadway in the musical revue, Eubie, a biographical show starring Gregory Hines, Marion Ramsey, Ethel Beatty, and Terry Burrell. The show, based on the life of Eubie Blake, opened at the Ambassador Theater on September 20, 1978, and ran for 439 performances.

More information on this tune...

George T. Simon
Big Bands Songbook
Barnes & Noble

(Author/drummer Simon includes the sheet music with four pages of the song’s history and its performers.)

- Jeremy Wilson

Recommendations for This Tune
Click on any CD for more details at Amazon.com
Thelonious Monk
The Unique Thelonious Monk
1991 Original Jazz Classics 64
Original recording 1956
Pianist Thelonious Monk had a special knack for interpreting standard ballads alone at the piano. This is the first of his multiple recordings of this song, and it bristles with energy and creativity.
Jaki Byard
Jaki Byard Experience
1999 Original Jazz Classics 1913
Original recording 1968
This tune is a duet on an album mostly comprised of quartet numbers, as pianist Byard teams up with Rahsaan Roland Kirk on tenor saxophone. Both of these musicians were known for their personal and compelling ways of combining the cutting-edge with the traditional, and their interpretation of “Memories of You” provides plenty of both.

- Noah Baerman

Eubie Blake
Memories of You
2003, Sony
Original recording, 1973, Shout!Factory
Blake recorded this version at the age of 90. The style and energy are equal to that of much, much earlier versions, and one must assume that we are hearing the song in its purest form.
Shirley Horn
Close Enough for Love
1990 Polygram Records 37933
Original recording 1989
The trio of pianist/vocalist Horn is joined by tenor saxophonist Buck Hill on this thoughtful, molasses-slow rendition.
Art Tatum/Buddy DeFranco
The Tatum Group Masterpieces, Vol. 7
Pablo 2405430
Original recording 1956
Tatum’s piano matches up well here with the clarinet of Buddy DeFranco. Both men contribute brilliant solos and are clearly inspired by one another
Hank Jones
Live at Maybeck 16
Concord Records
Original Recording 1991
The elegance of pianist Hank Jones is well-documented, and this soulful, harmonically rich performance of “Memories of You” is a perfect example of his ballad style.
Zoot Sims
Original Jazz Classics 242
Original recording, 1951
This arrangement of "Memories of You"' explores the song in a quartet format, allowing for some interesting solos and dynamic interplay.
Charles Mingus
Mingus Plays Piano
Grp Records

This is a rare treat, for Mingus not only tackles the Blake song but the bass player and composer does it at the piano. This unique recording is yet more proof of Mingus' genius.
Ray Brown
Jazz Cello
2003 Verve 440065295
Original recording 1960
Bass player Ray Brown highlights the non-traditional jazz instrument here.

- Ben Maycock

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

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