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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

Music and Lyrics Analysis

Musical analysis of “Since I Fell for You”

Original KeyEb major
FormA - A - B - A
TonalityGenerally major but with a strong modal tonality due to altered tones and blue notes; “B” actually alternates between the tonic and its parallel minor
MovementIn classic “call and response,” “A” consists of a sustained pitch followed by arpeggiated, eighth note passages; “B” is based on a minor form of the blues scale.

Comments     (assumed background)

This ballad is not a “blues” in the strict sense. However, the mournful quality of the melody with its altered pitches is reminiscent of a “blues” song. In many places, a given chord goes to its parallel minor or major. This is sometimes ignored by current performers; the tune is best played with its original changes.
K. J. McElrath - Musicologist for JazzStandards.com

Check out K. J. McElrath’s book of Jazz Standards Guide Tone Lines at his web site (www.bardicle.com).
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Reading and Research
Additional information for "Since I Fell for You" may be found in:

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

(1 paragraph including the following types of information: history and performers.)

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

(8 pages including the following types of information: music analysis and sheet music.)
Also on This Page...

Music & Lyrics Analysis
Musician's Comments
Reading & Research

Jazz History Notes
Getting Started
CD Recommendations
Listen and Compare
By the Same Writers...

Jazz History Notes

Brilliant young trumpeter Lee Morgan was the first jazz instrumentalist to record this tune in 1957. It was especially popular with female vocalists such as Dinah Washington, Etta James, and Eartha Kitt. Morgan’s version reflects the vocalists’ bluesy feeling, however, and he turns in a brooding performance.

A member of trumpeter Miles Davis’ Quintet along with John Coltrane, pianist Red Garland recorded a trio session in 1958 that includes Miles’ bassist Paul Chambers. Garland digs into Buddy Johnson’s tune and creates a scintillating groove.

1959 was a busy year for tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins. Entering his fifth decade as a professional performer, he made appearances at the Newport, Monterey and Playboy Jazz Festivals, a Timex Jazz TV special, and ten albums. His blustery solo with the Prestige Blues Swingers on “Since I Fell for You” mixes languid blues phrases with torrid, double-timed cascades of technique.

Chris Tyle - Jazz Musician and Historian

Lee Morgan
The Best of Lee Morgan
Blue Note Records 91138

Red Garland
It's a Blue World
Original Jazz Classics 1028

Coleman Hawkins
Bean and the Boys
Prestige 24124
Original recording 1946
Getting Started
This section suggests definitive or otherwise significant recordings that will help jazz students get acquainted with “Since I Fell for You.” These recordings have been selected from the Jazz History and CD Recommendations sections.

Buddy Johnson’s straightforward original version of “Since I Fell for You” (Jukebox Hits 1940-1951) is an excellent recording and a useful starting point when studying the song, while Dinah Washington’s successful recording from two years later (Ultimate Dinah Washington) is the main point of reference for many jazz musicians. Among instrumental versions, Lee Morgan’s soulful blues-ballad recording from 1957 (Candy) features some great piano from Sonny Clark and is a justifiably beloved interpretation of the song.

Noah Baerman - Jazz Pianist and Educator

CD Recommendations for This Tune
Click on any CD for more details at Amazon.com
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

Written by the Same Composer(s)...
This section shows the jazz standards written by the same writing team.

Woodrow Wilson Johnson

Year Rank Title
1945 197 Since I Fell for You

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