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Since I Fell for You (1945)

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Origin and Chart Information
An “excellent example” of a “blues ballad....”

- Ira Gitler

Rank 197
Words and Music Woodrow Wilson Johnson

Pianist/bandleader Woodrow Wilson “Buddy” Johnson wrote both the music and lyrics for “Since I Fell for You” in 1945 and introduced it with his sister Ella on vocals.


More on Woodrow Wilson Johnson at JazzBiographies.com

The song charted twice, first in 1947 with pianist Paul Gayten and His Trio featuring vocalist Annie Laurie and again in 1963 when pop/R&B singer Lenny Welch’s smooth rendition made it to number four. Country and Western singer Charlie Rich had a hit with it in 1976.


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

Johnson’s jump blues band, which played the Savoy Ballroom, was popular throughout the decade of the ‘40s. Ella Johnson, who joined the band in her teens, was a seductive singer of great warmth who was favorably compared to both Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday.

Buddy’s composition with its bluesy lyrics, “Love brings such misery and pain, I guess I’ll never be the same, since I fell for you,” is that rare song that attracted musicians of all persuasions--pop, jazz, country, and blues. It was a particular favorite of vocalists. Dinah Washington recorded it in 1947, Julie London in 1964, Shirley Horn in 1987, and Etta Jones in 1998. It was also performed by singers as diverse and Eartha Kitt, Mel Torme, Gladys Knight, Big Mama Thornton, Barbra Streisand, Aaron Neville, and recently Kevin Mahogany.

Jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan included the song in his album Candy, and it was recorded by the Count Basie band, organist Jimmy Smith, and trombonist Steve Turre. In the liner notes to Stanley Turrentine’s album with the Three Sounds, jazz writer Ira Gitler calls the song an “excellent example” of a “blues ballad” because it combines the warmth of the blues with romantic elements from popular song, a sure-fire recipe for continuing popularity.

More information on this tune...

Randy Halberstadt (Author)
Metaphors for the Musician: Perspectives from a Jazz Pianist
Sheer Music Co

(Pianist/educator Halberstadt devotes eight pages to a musical analysis and includes the sheet music.)
See the Reading and Research panel below for more references.

- Sandra Burlingame

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