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Like Someone in Love (1944)

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Origin and Chart Information
“...[Jimmy Van Heusen] was the house Mozart for America’s two princes of relaxation, Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra.”

- William Zinsser

Rank 147
Music Jimmy Van Heusen
Lyrics Johnny Burke

“Like Someone in Love” was introduced in the movie Belle of the Yukon by Dinah Shore who played a dance hall singer in one of her early films. The musical comedy/Western, set during the days of the Canadian Gold Rush, also starred Randolph Scott and Gypsy Rose Lee as his girlfriend (the belle of the title). The film did not do well at the box office, but one of the other Van Heusen and Burke songs, “Sleighride in July,” was nominated for an Oscar. It was Bing Crosby who took “Like Someone in Love” to the charts in 1945 where it reached #15 during its one-week stay.


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

Crosby was instrumental in getting the team of composer Jimmy Van Heusen and lyricist Johnny Burke assigned to his motion pictures, requesting them for Road to Zanzibar in 1941 which led to other “Road” pictures and dozens of hit songs.


More on Johnny Burke at JazzBiographies.com

More on Jimmy Van Heusen at JazzBiographies.com

“Like Someone in Love” is another one of Van Heusen’s easy-going melodies. As William Zinsser says in his book Easy to Remember: The Great American Songwriters and Their Songs, “...He was the house Mozart for America’s two princes of relaxation, Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra.” And Burke’s lyrics also invite a relaxed mood: “Lately I find myself out gazing at stars, Hearing guitars like someone in love.” Well, that’s love for you, as Burke suggests. It can provoke conduct that will “astound” you.

The song has had a broad range of interpreters. John Coltrane recorded a memorable version in 1957, and both Ella Fitzgerald and Art Blakey used it as the title cut of their respective albums in 1957 and 1960. Bassist Charles Mingus, vocalist Blossom Dearie, pianist Ahmad Jamal, saxophonist Bud Shank, guitarist Herb Ellis, and the vocal group Lambert, Hendricks & Ross recorded it. New versions have been released by pianist Jessica Williams, vocalist Rebecca Kilgore, trumpeter Ryan Kisor, guitarist Martin Taylor, and saxophonists Eric Alexander and Joe Lovano.

More information on this tune...

William Zinsser
Easy to Remember: The Great American Songwriters and Their Songs
David R. Godine Publisher
Hardcover: 279 pages

(Zinsser offers an analysis of the lyric in his book.)

Alec Wilder
American Popular Song: The Great Innovators, 1900-1950
Oxford University Press; Reprint edition
Hardcover: 576 pages

(Wilder analyzes the musical content of the song in his book.)

- Sandra Burlingame

Recommendations for This Tune
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Chet Baker
Chet Baker Sings
Blue Note Records

Recorded live in Los Angeles, Baker offers a tender, straightforward vocal ballad interpretation of “Like Someone in Love.” Russ Freeman’s elegant piano accompaniment offers the perfect backdrop.

Sarah Vaughan
After Hours at the London House (Dig)
Original Recording 1958

Vaughan is assertively swinging and sly in singing “Like Someone in Love” on this live recording. The melodic tenor saxophone of Frank Wess is prominent as well.

Eric Dolphy Quintet with Booker Little
Eric Dolphy at the Five Spot, Vol. 2
Original recording 1961

This nearly twenty-minute tour de force begins as a melancholy ballad featuring Dolphy on flute and Booker Little on trumpet. Over time, it builds up steam, eventually reaching a hard-swinging groove, as pianist Mal Waldron and bassist Richard Davis are also featured.

Dexter Gordon
Our Man in Paris
Blue Note Records
Original recording 1963

While this track comes from a classic Dexter Gordon album, it is a trio feature for his rhythm section. Pianist Bud Powell recorded numerous versions of this song and this one is among the best of them as well as being a highlight of his later years.

Ben Webster & Joe Zawinul
Original recording 1963

This classic cross-generational collaboration puts tenor saxophone elder statesman Webster together with pianist Joe Zawinul, who would later become best known for his jazz-rock innovations. The groove is particularly hard-swinging, thanks in large part to bassist Richard Davis and drummer “Philly” Joe Jones.


- Noah Baerman

Etta Jones
Love Shout
1997 Original Jazz Classics 941
Original recording 1963
A great arrangement and the unobtrusive support of a small group allow Jones to bring her powerful vocals down a notch and deliver a quiet romantic reading.
Hilario Duran
Habana Nocturne
1999 Justin Time Records 125
Original recording 1999
Duran’s fingers (does he have more than ten?) fly across the piano keys at an inconceivable pace, injecting the standard with a heavy Latin influence and leaving the listener’s head spinning.
Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers
Like Someone in Love
2005 Blue Note 64470
Original recording 1960
Blakey and Co. swing into the title track with sophistication and poise. Trumpeter Lee Morgan and saxophonist Wayne Shorter exercise just the right amount of restraint, and the result is as poignant a reading as can be found, yet it swings mightily.
Jessica Williams
The Next Step
1994 Hep Records 2054

“Like Someone in Love” gets the full Williams treatment in this lively solo romp where the pianist takes the tune through rhythmic changes and adds some Monk-like punctuation and several playful quotes. This will bring a smile to your face.

- Ben Maycock

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