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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 links on this page for additional references.

- Sandra Burlingame

Recommendations for This Tune
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Buddy Johnson
Jukebox Hits: 1940-1951
Original Recording 1945

The composer of “Since I Fell for You,” Buddy Johnson, also was the first to record it, in a gently swinging ballad setting with appealing and straightforward vocals by his sister Ella Johnson.

Dinah Washington
Ultimate Dinah Washington
Polygram Records
Original Recording 1947

Accompanied by Rudy Wilson’s Trio, Washington offers up one of her earliest signature performances, with this bluesy, subtle ballad interpretation of “Since I Fell for You.”

Jimmy Smith
Home Cookin
Blue Note Records
Original Recording 1958

Organist Smith takes “Since I Fell for You” at a medium tempo with a swinging shuffle feeling. He and guitarist Kenny Burrell play blues-drenched solos that bring out the spirit of the song.

Stanley Turrentine, Three Sounds
Complete Blue Hour Sessions
Blue Note Records
Original Recording 1960

This is a stunningly soulful performance of “Since I Fell for You” with a slow tempo and great variation to the overall dynamics. Turrentine plays a full-toned rendition of the melody as Gene Harris interjects with bluesy piano fills, and both of them contribute powerhouse solos.

Nina Simone
Nina Simone Sings the Blues (Exp)
Original Recording 1967

This song is often performed by blues artists as well, and it is no wonder that Simone, who had equal credibility as a blues and jazz performer, chose to take it on. Buddy Lucas plays some great harmonica, but the focal point is on Simone’s raw, bluesy vocal delivery and piano playing,


- Noah Baerman

Andy Bey & The Bey Sisters
Andy Bey & The Bey Sisters
2000 Prestige Records 24245
Original recording 1965
Andy’s rich, mellow voice takes the lead while Geraldine and Salome fill out the sound with bluesy-gospel harmonies on this melancholy lament.
Ray Bryant
1996 Collectables 5754
Original recording 1965
Bryant plays this one as a straight-ahead blues, hitting the piano keys with robust authority and throwing in a few stride embellishments.
Lee Morgan
1990 Blue Note 46508
Original recording 1958
Although this romantic, elegant, and emotionally charged recording was made very early in his career, Morgan’s horn is the crystalline instrument of a veteran.
Ernie Andrews/Cannonball Adderley
Live Session!
2004 Blue Note Records
Original Recording 1965
The singer and saxophonist are really well matched because they get into the heart and soul of the music. There’s an irresistible swagger to Andrews’ style` and Adderley’s sensual alto lines provide the perfect swinging counterpoint.

- Ben Maycock

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