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Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams (And Dream Your Troubles Away) (1931)

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Origin and Chart Information
Several of Bing’s early hits were Barris songs....

- Chris Tyle

AKAWrap Your Troubles in Dreams
Rank 190
Music Harry Barris
Lyrics Ted Koehler
Billy Moll

Bing Crosby introduced this tune in 1931 on a Victor recording accompanied by members of the Los Angeles-based Gus Arnheim Orchestra. It was the first recording of Crosby as a soloist to hit the charts:


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

1931 was the year Crosby embarked on his solo career. Although a member of the vocal trio the Rhythm Boys, first with Paul Whiteman and then with Gus Arnheim, Crosby frequently stepped up to the microphone without the other two “Boys,” Al Rinker and Harry Barris. Whiteman’s record of “Ol’ Man River,” with Crosby’s vocal, hit number one for 11 weeks in 1928, and the almost operatic-sounding Crosby on “Great Day” was number one for nine weeks in 1929. A substantial number of solo Crosby vocal recordings with both Whiteman and Arnheim were in the top 10 during 1929-1931.


More on Harry Barris at JazzBiographies.com

More on Bing Crosby at JazzBiographies.com

The music for “Wrap...” was written by Rhythm Boy and pianist Harry Barris. Barris’ songwriting efforts figured prominently in the first phase of Crosby’s career. Bing’s first solo appearance (off screen) is singing Barris’ “Music Hath Charms” over the title credits at the beginning of the 1930 King of Jazz. Several of Bing’s early hits were Barris songs, including “At Your Command,” which was number one for nine weeks in 1931, and “I Surrender, Dear,” recorded with Gus Arnheim’s band that same year, which led to Bing’s employment on a CBS radio network, coast-to-coast, weekly broadcast.


More on Ted Koehler at JazzBiographies.com

More on Billy Moll at JazzBiographies.com

Ted Koehler, taking a busman’s holiday from his partnership with Harold Arlen, co-wrote the lyrics to “Wrap...” along with Billy Moll, who penned the lyrics to Harry Barris’ tune “So the Bluebirds and the Blackbirds Got Together,” also in the King of Jazz.

Crosby utilized the tune as a radio theme song for a short time, replacing it with “Where the Blue of the Night Meets the Gold of the Day.” In 1939 he did a remake of “Wrap...” along with several of his early hits, and although this version didn’t hit the charts, it prompted a bit of a resurgence in popularity. Trumpeter Erskine Hawkins, whose swing band was popular in the late 1930’s and ‘40s, recorded a pleasant ballad version featuring a vocal by alto saxophonist Jimmy Mitchell.

More information on this tune...

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

(Hischak discusses the song’s history, including its performers and films in which it has appeared.)

Chris Tyle - Jazz Musician and Historian

Music and Lyrics Analysis

The opening line of “Wrap...,” “when skies are cloudy are gray,” clearly describes the dark days of the Depression, the time in which it was written. Like many songs from that period, its message was one of hope: “just remember that sunshine always follows the rain.” Chris Tyle

Musical analysis of “Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams (And Dream Your Troubles Away)”

Original KeyC major, going to the relative minor during “B”
FormA1 - A2 - B - A2
Tonality“A” is major; “B” is minor
MovementSeconds and thirds ascending, then descending in section “A,” while section “B” is a primarily a series of descending thirds, moving downward chromatically.

Comments     (assumed background)

With a range of only an octave and a melody that is mostly diatonic, this is very singable by the novice as well as experienced vocalists. Harmonically most of the cadences are V7-I, resolving in the normal manner-no real surprises. The chromaticism in mm. 1-2 and 5-6 of “B” disguises the fact that the progression is really a fairly common i - V7/V - V7 - i sequence.
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 "Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams (And Dream Your Troubles Away)" 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: film productions, history and performers.)

Robert Gottlieb, Robert Kimball
Reading Lyrics
Hardcover: 736 pages

(Includes the following types of information: song lyrics.)
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

A four-consecutive day recording marathon in November, 1931, by trumpeter/vocalist Louis Armstrong resulted in eight great sides including “Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams.” (The same day yielded his wonderful version of “Stardust,” used as the theme for Ken Burns’ Jazz television series.) Armstrong’s muted solo chorus is followed by a distinctive vocal and a majestic out-chorus.

Don Byas, a tenor saxophonist whose playing was a sophisticated mix of swing and more modern elements, recorded a standout rendition of Harry Barris’ tune, abetted by pianist Erroll Garner and bassist Slam Stewart.

Trumpeter Roy Eldridge, like Byas, was hip to advances in jazz and was a mentor to young Dizzy Gillespie, yet his playing was firmly swing-oriented. Roy’s 1952 rendition of “Wrap...” is a nice, laid-back stroll seasoned by the tasty playing of Oscar Peterson on organ.

Chris Tyle - Jazz Musician and Historian

Louis Armstrong
The Big Band Recordings 1930-1932
JSP Records 3401

Don Byas
Complete American Small-Group Recordings
Definitive Classics 11213

Roy Eldridge
Little Jazz: Trumpet Giant
Proper Box (UK) 69

Getting Started
This section suggests definitive or otherwise significant recordings that will help jazz students get acquainted with “Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams (And Dream Your Troubles Away).” These recordings have been selected from the Jazz History and CD Recommendations sections.

Louis Armstrong’s great 1931 version of “Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams” (The Best of Louis Armstrong Vol. 3) takes the song at a relaxed, swinging tempo and features excellent trumpet and vocal work by Armstrong. Ten years later, Erskine Hawkins’ band made a hit recording of the song (1941-45), featuring the vocals of Jimmy Mitchell. For a more modern interpretation, check out Bill Evans’ 1962 recording (Interplay), also featuring Freddie Hubbard and Jim Hall.

Noah Baerman - Jazz Pianist and Educator

CD Recommendations for This Tune
Click on any CD for more details at Amazon.com
Harry James & His Orchestra
Harry James 1937-1939
Classics France/Trad Alive
Original Recording 1938

James’ band swings irresistibly through this Jimmy Mundy arrangement of “Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams.” James’ skillful trumpet is featured prominently, though the relaxed drumming of Dave Tough has much to do with the track’s ultimate success.

Erskine Hawkins & His Orchestra
Melodie Jazz Classic
Original Recording 1941

Hawkins’ popular big band scored a hit record with this version of “Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams.” The slowly swinging arrangement and performance are very well-done, and the band’s longtime saxophonist Jimmy Mitchell contributes appealing vocals.

Stan Getz
Original Recording 1950

Getz takes this song at a relaxed though swinging tempo. His tenor saxophone work is melodic and flowing, both on the melody and on his solo.

Hampton Hawes
For Real
Original Recording 1958

This ballad performance features pianist Hawes and tenor saxophonist Harold Land. The feeling is fairly exploratory, in large part due to the creative and unpredictable work of bassist Scott LaFaro.

Bill Evans
Original Recording 1962

Pianist Evans swings hard on this performance, which is no surprise given the presence of bassist Paul Chambers and drummer “Philly” Joe Jones. Evans solos nimbly and creatively, as do Freddie Hubbard on trumpet and Jim Hall on guitar.


- Noah Baerman

Tony Bennett
Who Can I Turn To
1995 Columbia 66503
Original recording 1964
Bennett is in fine form on this slow, swingin’ version of the song. His warm, smooth tones and powerful delivery invite listeners in, wrapping them in a soothing atmosphere.
Slam Stewart/Major Holley
Shut Yo' Mouth
1991 Delos 1024
Original recoding 1981
This has to be heard to be believed! The highly original, extremely entertaining reading features the two bassists bowing, singing, and scatting simultaneously. Holley’s froglike voice in collusion with Stewart’s, which is pitched an octave above, are enhanced by Dick Hyman on piano/organ and Oliver Jackson on drums.
Keith Jarrett
Whisper Not
2000 ECM Records 314543816
Original recording 1999
On his live interpretation of the song Jarrett is uncharacteristically upbeat and airy while bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Jack De Johnette keep the rhythm moving forward at a steady clip.
Maxine Sullivan with the Scott Hamilton Quintet
Swingin' Sweet
1990 Concord Records 4351
Original recording 1986
The remarkable vocalist Maxine Sullivan recorded this live concert in Japan in 1986 just seven months before she died at age 75. Her voice is ageless and she swings like a teenager. Saxophonist Hamilton’s group is obviously having fun, too.

- Ben Maycock

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

Harry Barris, Ted Koehler and Billy Moll

Year Rank Title
1931 190 Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams (And Dream Your Troubles Away)

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