November 13, 2007

"Cry Me a River"

"Cry Me a River" was written by Arthur Hamilton and was published in 1953. The song's first release and most famous recording (on Julie Is Her Name) was by actress/singer Julie London in 1955. This version is featured in the 1956 film The Girl Can't Help It and was released as a single in April 1957.

On a somewhat related, trivial side note, The Girl Can't Help It was a favorite of The Beatles, and it had a fairly major role in the composition and recording process of "Birthday," from their 1968 release, The Beatles (The White Album). I have read somewhere that the film re-energized and inspired them in the song's ("Birthday") inception and recording. Here's a quote from Beatle Paul about that day:

"What happened was The Girl Can't Help It was on television. That's an old rock film with Little Richard and Fats Domino and Eddie Cochran and a few others... and we wanted to see it, so we started recording at five o'clock. And we said, 'We'll do something, We'll make up a backing track.' So we kept it very simple-- twelve bar blues kind of thing. And we stuck in a few bits here and there in it, with no idea what the song was or what was gonna go on top of it. We just said, 'Okay. Twelve bars in A, and we'll change to D, and I'm gonna do a few beats in C.' And we really just did it like that... random thing.

The Fabs with George Martin, working on "Birthday"

And we came back here to my house and watched The Girl Can't Help It. Then we went back to the studio again and made up some words to go with it all. So this song was just made up in an evening. Umm, you know. We hadn't ever thought of it before then. And it's one of my favorites because of that. I think it works, you know, 'cuz it's just... It's a good one to dance to. Like the big long drum break, just 'cuz, normally we might have four bars of drums, but with this we just keep it going, you know. We all like to hear drums plodding on."


Frank Jump said...

There was a British pop/punk/new wave chanteuse by the name of Mari Wilson who recorded this song in the early 1980's, as well as a brilliant club/dance version of the Bacharach/David hit "Are You There (With Another Girl Instead." She toured NY and other Eastern Seaboard cities. Very personable with a fabulous beehive hairdo. Hung out with her backstage as she gave herself insulin and talked about her teenage years as an au pair on Long Island.

If you can get a hold of this classic 80's pop album, I'm sure you would love her "Cry Me A River" although, Julie London's is classic 50's.

Chris said...

Thanks for the suggestion, Frank. I'll look for her. It sounds like something I would like. And you hung out with her backstage?? That's pretty neat. No doubt her insulin use was misinterpreted to be something, more Billie Holiday-esque.

Frank Jump said...

"In my solitude...."