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I'm Confessin' That I Love You (1930)

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Origin and Chart Information
Tenor saxophonist Lester Young was a fan of the tune, recording it several times over the span of his career.

- Chris Tyle

AKAI'm Confessin' (That I Love You)
Rank 258
Music Ellis Reynolds
Doc Daugherty
Lyrics Al J Neiburg

“I’m Confessin’ That I Love You” (also known as “Confessin’ (That I Love You),” “I’m Confessin’,” and “Confessin’”) was a collaboration in 1930 between composers Doc Daugherty (sometimes spelled Dougherty) and Ellis Reynolds and lyricist Al J. Neiburg. Daugherty was a bandleader and owner of the Club Hangover in San Francisco. Reynolds was the pianist in the band of George “Doc” Hyder based out of Philadelphia and New York. Neiburg contributed lyrics to two other popular standards: “It’s the Talk of the Town” and “Under a Blanket of Blue.”

Louis Armstrong helped to popularize “I’m Confessin’.” Although his rendition didn’t make the top twenty, several other versions charted:

  • Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians (1930, six weeks, peaking at #2 for one week)
  • Rudy Vallee and His Connecticut Yankees (1930, #4)
  • Lionel Hampton and His Orchestra (1937, #14, one of Hamp’s early hits)
  • Perry Como (1946, #12)
  • Les Paul & Mary Ford (1952, 11 weeks, peaking at #13 and featuring Paul’s multi-tracked guitar)

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

And in 1963 country singer Frank Ifield topped the charts in the United Kingdom for two weeks with his version called simply “Confessin’.”

While this is a gentle love song--“I’m confessin’ that I love you, Tell me, do you love me too?”--the singer expresses suspicion regarding the reciprocation of that love: “In your eyes I read such strange things, But your lips deny they’re true.” Obviously the supplicant is fearful of losing his (or her) loved one and ends by admitting that “All in life on you depends.”

Thelonious Monk put his peculiar stamp on the song in a mid-sixties solo version and Herb Ellis and Red Mitchell played it as a duet on their 1988 album. “I’m Confessin’” appeared on the soundtrack of The Josephine Baker Story in 1991 and was recorded throughout the ‘90s by pianists Bobby Enriquez, Kenny Barron, Bill Mays, and Nino Tempo; clarinetist Kenny Davern; vocalist Wesla Whitfield; guitarists Bucky Pizzarelli and John Pizzarelli, who also performed it on the soundtrack of the 2000 film Two Family House. Trumpeter Byron Stripling featured the song on his 2000 CD, pianist Jessica Williams recorded it as a solo in 1992 and with her trio in 2004, Tony Bennett and K.D. Lang sang it as a duet on their 2002 tribute to Louis Armstrong, and vocalist Lizz Wright recorded it in 2005.

- Sandra Burlingame

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