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Margie (1920)

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Origin and Chart Information
The song was named for the five-year-old daughter of entertainer Eddie Cantor who is credited with popularizing the song.

- Sandra Burlingame

Rank 268
Music Con Conrad
J. Russel Robinson
Lyrics Benny Davis

“Margie,” published in 1920, was a collaboration between composers Con Conrad and J. Russel Robinson and lyricist Benny Davis. The song was named for the five-year-old daughter of entertainer Eddie Cantor who is credited with popularizing the song. He performed the song at the Winter Garden Theater before interpolating it into the revue, The Midnight Rounders in 1921. It was a gay tune and quickly became a popular “parlor song” which was performed around the piano with friends and family in the days before radio became wide spread.

 

More on J. Russel Robinson at JazzBiographies.com
 

The song charted multiple times:

  • Gene Rodemich and His Orchestra (1920, #7)
  • Eddie Cantor (1921, 5 weeks at #1)
  • Ted Lewis and His Band (1921, #4)
  • Frank Crumit (1921, #7, Crumit appeared on Broadway and hosted a radio show)
  • Original Dixieland Jazz Band (1921, #9 with Robinson on piano)
  • Claude Hopkins and His Orchestra (1934, #5, Orlando Peterson vocal)
  • Don Redman and His Orchestra (1939, #15, group vocal)
 

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

Conrad, born Conrad K. Dober in 1891, was a pianist and vaudeville performer. He also formed a publishing company and wrote for Broadway and movies, winning an Oscar with Herb Magidson for “The Continental” which was featured in the 1934 Rogers/Astaire film Gay Divorcee. He also collaborated on “You Call It Madness, I Call It Love” and “Prisoner of Love.”

Robinson was a ragtime pianist (a member of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band), composer, lyricist, and arranger who wrote Cab Calloway’s “Reefer Man” and the title song for the 1948 movie Portrait of Jennie.

Davis was a vaudeville performer before turning his attention to songwriting and scoring Broadway shows and Cotton Club revues. His collaborations produced “I’m Nobody’s Baby,” “Baby Face,” and “I Still Get a Thrill.”

“Margie” is the love object of a young man who considers her his “inpiration” and for whom he has “bought a home, a ring, and everything”:

My little Margie, I’m always thinkin’ of you,

Margie, I’ll tell the world I love you.

The song appeared in several movies including Stella Dallas (1937), starring Barbara Stanwyck, Margie (1946), starring Jeanne Crain, and The Eddie Cantor Story (1953) in which Keefe Brasselle’s voice was dubbed by Cantor himself.

“Margie” became popular among Dixieland and, later, R&B groups, and it was recorded by Bix Beiderbecke, but it was Jimmie Lunceford’s band, playing a Sy Oliver arrangement that featured trombonist/vocalist Trummy Young, which helped revive the song in 1938. But most jazz recordings are a decade or more old: pianists Erroll Garner, Dave Brubeck, and Oscar Peterson; the Latin band of Ray Barretto; drummer Shelly Manne; vocalists Bing Crosby and Jo Stafford; organist Jimmy Smith; violinist Joe Venuti; and trumpeter Charlie Shavers.

- Sandra Burlingame

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