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Cafe Songbook

Internet Home of the
Songs, Songwriters and Performers of

The Great American Songbook

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Search Tips: 1) Click "Find on This Page" button to activate page search box. 2) When searching for a name (e.g. a songwriter), enter last name only. 3) When searching for a song title on the catalog page, omit an initial "The" or "A". 4) more search tips.

Notes on the Cafe Songbook
Catalog of the Great American Songbook

Criteria for Inclusion
of a Song in the Catalog

Tony Bennett
album: Sings the Ultimate
American Songbook, Vol. 1

Amazon iTunes

Mel Tormé
album: The Great American Songbook Live
at Michael's Pub

Mel Torme The Great American Songbook

Amazon iTunes

The Cafe Songbook Catalog of Songs in the Great American Songbook is by no means definitive. We have made a significant effort to find the songs that belong, according to our lights, in the catalog. In the near future we will present an essay that fully discusses the criteria for what's in the Cafe Songbook Catalog of The Great American Songbook and Why? For now some fundamental criteria for inclusion are listed here:

  • The song was written during the period 1910-1965. (This somewhat arbitray set of limits will be discussed in the forthcoming essay "What's in the the Cafe Songbook Catalog of the Great Ameican Songbook and Why."
  • The writer or writers of the song were primarily professional songwriters, most commonly working as a team of two, a composer (writer of the music) and a lyricist (writer of the words). Although these songwriters were occsionally also performers, their careers were primarily, if not exclusively, songwriting).
  • The song would have been written for one of three reasons: 1) for the score of a show or revue (most commonly a Broadway show); 2) for the score of a Hollywood movie; 3) for Independent publication as sheet music and/or a recording.
  • Songs in the catalog are not necessarily Standards, but they all have achieved the status of having been recognized by artists, both vocalists and instrumentalists, over succeeding generations since their cration. Also they will have been acnowledged by critics and connoisseurs of popular song as being of high quality.
  • The songs in the catalog have, over the generations, been performed by artists from many genres of music, from classical to cabaret to rock and beyond, but the most frequent peformers of the songs, after their original performance on a musical stage or in a film musical, are either from the world of jazz or are characterized by a jazz inflected style. They may not all be, as Jonathan Schwartz would say, "citizens of Jazz," but they have traveled in Jazz country and come home with a Jazz accent. The selection of songs for inclusion in the Cafe Songbook Catalog of The Great American Songbook have in no small way been influenced by a performance history that reflects an intimate relationship with Jazz.
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General Structure of the Catalog Table

Edward Jablonski
Harold Arlen: Rhythm, Rainbows, and Blues, Boston: Northeaster UP, 1996
(paper bound ed. 1998 shown).

book cover: Ken Bloom "The American Songbook The Singers, The Songwriters, ad the Songs"

Ken Bloom, The American Songbook: The Singers, the Songwriters, and the Songs, New York: Black Dog and Leventhal, 2005.

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book cover: Gene Lees, Portrait of Johnny [Mercer]
Gene Lees,
Portrait of Johnny
The Life of
John Herndon Mercer
New York:
Pantheon Books, 2004.
  • The Song Catalog is presented as a table with five columns: 1) Title 2) Year Written 3) Music by (composer) 4) Words by (Lyricist) 5) Written for (show, movie, Independent Publication).
  • Each row of the table contains the data for an individual song.
    • Song titles are linked to the Cafe Songbook page dedicated to them, so for more information about and performances of the song, click the title.
    • Year Written (usually the year the song was actually written occasionally when it was published, if the former information is not available, or possibly both years) is found in the second column.
    • Songwriter names, both of composers (music by) and lyricists (words by) are linked to their dedicated Cafe Songbook pages. Click a name to go to the page and get basic data about the songwriter, recordings of his or her works, other songs written by the songwriter, etc. (When a songwriter name is not a link, it means we have not yet created a page for him or her.)
    • "Written for" is the last column and contains the vehicle for which the song was written: a stage show or revue, a movie, or independent publication.
  • The default version of the table is alphabetized by song title, in other words by the first column. The alphabetization does not take into account titles that begin "A or "The," so the song "A Cottage for Sale" would be found under "C" and the song "The Day After Forever" under "D."
  • To re-sort the table, mouse-over and click the the column header you wish to sort by. This provides you with the option of viewing the catalog ordered alphabetically by title, chronologically by year written, alphabetically by composer's last name, alphabetically by lyricist's last name, or alphabetically by the title of the show/revue, movie, or independent publication for which the song was written. (Note that despite the trend on the web to alphabetize names by first name, we do it the old fashioned way, by last name, so names appear as "last name, first name." (This is not because we are old and stodgy (though that may be). We just think it makes more sense. There are far fewer Gershwins than there are Georges.)
    • You can re-sort a column in either ascending or descending order. Mouse-over and click the a column header once and you will get ascending order (from A-Z or from 1910-1965 in the case of "Year Written"). Click the header twice and you will get descending order, the reverse of the above: e.g. "Zing Went the Strings of My Heart" down to "Accentuate the Positive" in the "title" column.
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Navigating the Song Catalog Table

Michael Bublé
album: Come Fly with Me
(CD/DVD combination package)

album cover: Michael Buble "Come Fly with Me"

Amazon iTunes

Notes: album personnel: Alan Chang, piano; Brian Green, guitar; Robert Marshall, saxophone; Evan Francis and Jason Goldman, alto saxophones; Justin Ray, Brian Swartz and Bryan Lipps, trumpets; Karime Harris and Nick Vagenas, trombones. For good overview, see iTunes review.

Rosemary Clooney
album: Dedicated to Nelson
Video from The Rosemary Clooney Show, arrangement by
Nelson Riddle

Amazon iTunes icon

Notes: Original Nelson Riddle arrangements from 1950's TV show redone for this 1996 CD.
Read reviews at Amazon for details.

Nat King Cole
album: At the Sands

album cover: Nat King Cole at the Sands

Amazon iTunes

Notes: The first twelve tracks of this album were recorded live at The Sands hotel in Las Vegas, January 14, 1960, the last two tracks at Capitol Studios, LA, September 2, 1959. The orchestra is conducted by Antonio Morelli and for "Miss Otis Regrets" only, the arrangement is by Nelson Riddle.

  • Currently there are approximately one thousand song titles in the catalog table. This makes for a very long page and possibly a lot of scrolling to find what you are searching for. A more efficient method is to enter a key word, phrase or year in the "Find on This Page" box, which is located just below the logo near the top of the Catalog page -- for that matter in the same place on every page on the site. (If you find yourself already down the page and want to get back to the top quickly, use the "back to top" link in one of the navigation panels that repeat down the right column.)
    • If you are searching for a title and know for sure exactly what the title is, just enter it -- unless it begins with "a" or "the," which need to be dropped in order to make the "find" work. If you are not quite sure about the title, enter an unusual work or phrase in the title. For example if you want to find the song title "Willow Weep for Me," just enter "Willow." The odds are you will find "Willow Weep for Me" right off. If what gets highlighted is instead, let's say, "Willow in the Wind" (if there were such a song) just click "find next."
  • The "Year Written" column ranges from 1910 to 1965. For an explanation of why these two years are the chronological catalog boundaries for the catalog (and therefore for The Great American Songbook as defined here), see the article "What's in the Cafe Songbook Catalog of The Great American Songbook and Why."
  • When you are searching for the name of a songwriter, enter only the last name of the songwriter in the "Find on this Page" box. If you enter "Lorenz Hart," nothing will come up because songwriter names are listed alphabetically by last name first, e.g. "Hart, Lorenz". The worst thing that could happen by entering just the last name is the first hit you get might be another songwriter with the same last name. So just click "find next." You'll get to where you want to be pretty quickly.
  • All songs in the catalog have their own dedicated pages. We call them "song pages." All song pages are not, however, equal because they are at different stages of development. The following stages are identified in the Catalog table.
    • Some pages are called "basic entries." They contain basic information about the song: title, year written, music by (composer), words by (lyricist) and what the song was written for (Broadway show, revue, movie, independent publication). Most basic entries also provide links to information about the show or movie for which the song was written.
    • Other pages are categorized as "Basic-plus entries": These are entries that contain the basic content described above plus some other stuff, such as a video performance of the song, an account of how the song was used in its original venue, etc.
    • The final category is "full entry." See "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" to see what a full entry includes.
  • When the name of a songwriter appears in the Catalog table and is not linked it means there is not, currently at least, a dedicated page for that songwriter. This is usually because he or she has only one song in the Catalog. Eventually these songwriters will have their own pages.
  • To find out more about the show or movie a song was "written for" click its title so you will go to the song page, which will, in most cases, provide information or links to information about the the show or movie for which the song was written.
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Ordering in Catalog Columns

Robert Kimball, Ed. The Complete Lyrics Of Ira Gershwin, New York: Alfred A. Knoph, 1993; reprinted as paperback by Da Capo Press, 1998.

  • "Song titles" are alphabetized by the first word in the title excluding "The" and "A."
  • "Composers (music by)" and "lyricists (words by)" are alphabetized by last name first. (To find a name, scroll down the page or enter the last name in the "find on this page" box, e.g. "porter" not "cole porter." (The "find" field is not case sensitive.) -- You can, of course, enter the entire name as "Porter, Cole" but it is more likely to cause problems than avoid them.
  • "Written for": Show and movie titles are alphabetized by first word, whatever it is, including "A" and "The."
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Criteria for Presenting
Catalog Entry Data

book cover: The Complete Lyrics of Cole Porter
The Complete Lyrics Of Cole Porter Robert Kimball, Ed.
(with an Intro. by John Updike),
New York: Alfred A Knoph, 1983
(Da Capo Press paperback Ed., 1992, shown).

  • Titles are taken from copyright records or published sheet music. When there is a discrepancy, it is noted.
  • "Year Written" indicates the year the song was actually written not the year it was published or introduced when such information is available. When a song was written in a specific year for a particular show or movie but the show or movie opened the subsequent year, the date is given as, for example, 1935-36. This format indicates the song was written in 1935 for a particular show or movie that didn't open until 1936. The entry will sort by the earlier year. In cases where the music was written in a different year than the words, the year more associated with the song becoming well known will be placed first. The song will sort by that year.
  • A song is specified as having been written for a particular show or movie only when that is actually the case. It is not listed as such when the song was written for another reason but added to the score of a show or movie, even if it was introduced in that production. A song included in a show or movie but not written for it is said to be interpolated into the production. For example, Irving Berlin's What'll I Do?"
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Nominating a Song
for Inclusion in the Catalog

Book cover: The Complete Lyrics of Irving Berlin

Robert Kimball and Linda Emmet. The Complete Lyrics of Irving Berlin. New York: Alfred A. Knoph, 2001/Applause Theater and Cinema Books, 2005, paperback edition.

To nominate a song for inclusion in the Cafe Songbook catalog, follow the instructions below:

  1. Make sure the song is not already in the catalog by using the "find on this page" tool on the catalog page.
  2. Read the criteria for inclusion of a song specified above.
  3. Go to our Contact Page and
    1. Fill-out the "Submit a Comment" form.
    2. In the "Other Topic" text box type "nominate."
    3. In the "Comment" text box type the title of the song you wish to nominate and any other information you have such as composer, lyricist, year written, etc. Also briefly explain why you beleive the song you are nominating belongs in the catalog.
    4. Be sure to include your email address in the designated text box so we can reply. (email addresses are used only for us to respond to you.)
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Visitor Comments

Submit comments on songs, songwriters, performers, etc.
Feel free to suggest an addition or correction.
Please read our Comments Guidelines before making a submission.
(Posting of comments is subject to the guidelines.
Not all comments will be posted.)
To submit a comment, click here.

Posted Comments on the Catalog and or Catalog Notes:


Nominations received: (Nominations will be considered periodically and the result published in this space.

  • "This is All I Ask" by Gordon Jenkins, 1958.  Recorded by Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole, Burl Ives and many others. -- from Mark C (nominated 09/10/16)
  • "You'll Never Walk Alone" by Rodgers and Hammerstein for Carousel, 1945.  While this song may not exactly be a "jazz standard", it is surely one of the best known Rodgers and Hammerstein songs by virtue of its association with the Gerry and the Pacemakers 1964 recording and its long afterlife as a soccer anthem. -- from Mark C (nominated 09/10/16)


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(this page)


Credits for Videomakers of videos used on this page:

  • No videos currently appear on this page.

Borrowed material (text): The sources of all quoted and paraphrased text are cited. Such content is used under the rules of fair use to further the educational objectives of CafeSongbook.com. CafeSongbook.com makes no claims to rights of any kind in this content or the sources from which it comes.


Borrowed material (images): Images of CD, DVD, book and similar product covers are used courtesy of either Amazon.com or iTunes/LinkShare with which CafeSongbook.com maintains an affiliate status. All such images are linked to the source from which they came (i.e. either iTunes/LinkShare or Amazon.com).


Any other images that appear on CafeSongbook.com pages are either in the public domain or appear through the specific permission of their owners. Such permission will be acknowledged in this space on the page where the image is used.


For further information on Cafe Songbook policies with regard to the above matters, see our "About Cafe Songbook" page (link at top and bottom of every page).

Page Menu

Criteria for the Inclusion of a Song
in the Catalog
General Structure of the Song Catalog Table
Navigating the Song Catalog Table
Ordering in Catalog Columns
Criteria for Presenting
Catalog Entry Data
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