The 1930s was another decade of unforgettable love songs; many of the well-loved classics were written during this period. The 1930s to the 1940s is also known as the Golden Age of Musical Theatre in America. Many musicals were brought to the stage and several were adapted into films. Composers and lyricists continued to collaborate to create beautiful love songs, among them were Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, George Gershwin and Richard Rodgers.
1. Begin the Beguine
This song was written by one of the greatest songwriters of the 20th century; Cole Porter. It was performed in 1935 by Jane Knight in the musical Jubilee. In 1938 the song became popular when Artie Shaw released it as a single.
When they begin the beguine
it brings back the sound
of music so tender
it brings back a night
of tropical splendor
it brings back a memory of green
Listen to Thomas Hampson's beautiful rendition of this song courtesy of YouTube.
2. But Not For Me
Written in 1930 by the brilliant Gershwin brothers; George (music) and Ira (lyrics) Gershwin. This song was performed by Ginger Rogers in the stage musical Girl Crazy; it was also included in a 1932 film of the same title. In 1942, Judy Garland sang this song in another film bearing the same title.
They're writing songs of love, but not for me,
A lucky star's above, but not for me,
With love to lead the way,
I found more clouds of grey,
Than any Russian play could guarantee.
Listen to Eileen Farrell sing "But Not for Me" courtesy of YouTube.
3. Cheek to Cheek
This unforgettable tune was written by an equally unforgettable songwriter; Irving Berlin. It was first performed by Fred Astaire in the 1935 film Top Hat. Other singers who recorded this song include Julie Andrews, Louis Armstrong, Doris Day, Ella Fitzgerald, Benny Goodman, Billie Holiday, Peggy Lee and Sarah Vaughan
Heaven, I'm in heaven
And my heart beats so that I can hardly speak
And I seem to find the happiness I seek
When we're out together dancing cheek to cheek
Watch this clip of Fred Astaire singing this song in the movie Top Hat courtesy of YouTube.
4. Easter Parade
Another song written in 1933 by the great Irving Berlin. "Easter Parade" was also included in a 1948 film of the same title starring Fred Astaire and Judy Garland. Other vocalists also recorded this song including a duet by Sarah Vaughan and Billy Eckstine.
In your easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it,
You'll be the grandest lady in the easter parade.
I'll be all in clover and when they look you over,
I'll be the proudest fellow in the easter parade.
Watch this YouTube video of Al Jolson singing "Easter Parade."
5. How Deep is the Ocean
This Irving Berlin song was published in 1932 and eventually became a huge hit. Other artists who recorded this include Billie Holiday, Peggy Lee, Judy Garland, Etta James, Frank Sinatra and Julie Andrews.
How much do i love you?
I'll tell you no lie
How deep is the ocean?
How high is the sky?
Listen to Julie Andrew's version of this song from YouTube.
6. Isn't It Romantic
One of the many song collaborations between Richard Rodgers (music) and Lorenz Hart (lyrics). This song was included in the 1932 film Love Me Tonight starring Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald. Other singers who recorded this song include Carmen McRae, Peggy Lee and Ella Fitzgerald.
Isn't it romantic?
Music in the night,
a dream that can be heard.
Isn't it romantic?
Watch this short YouTube clip from the movie Love Me Tonight featuring the song "Isn't It Romantic."
7. I've Got You Under My Skin
Many of us may be familiar with this Cole Porter song. Porter wrote this in 1936 and it was performed by Virginia Bruce in the musical Born to Dance. Dinah Washington recorded this song as well as many other performers, but the one that remains "under our skin" is Frank Sinatra's rendition.
I've got you under my skin
I've got you deep in the heart of me
So deep in my heart, that you're really a part of me
I've got you under my skin
8. My Funny Valentine
Another Rodgers and Hart collaboration written in 1937 and sung by Mitzi Green in the musical Babes in Arms. Many singers and instrumentalists recorded thi song, but Chet Baker's version remains a favorite.
My funny valentine
Sweet comic valentine
You make me smile with my heart
Your looks are laughable
Yet you're my favorite work of art
Listen to Chet Baker's sweet voice singing "My Funny Valentine" courtesy of YouTube.
9. Night and Day
Yet another Cole Porter hit song written in 1932 and performed by Fred Astaire in the musical Gay Divorce. A film version of the play was released in 1934 and retitled The Gay Divorcee starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
Night and day, you are the one
Only you beneath the moon or under the sun
Whether near to me, or far
It's no matter darling where you are
I think of you day and night
Listen to Frank Sinatra sing this song courtesy of YouTube.
10. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
This timeless song was written by Jerome Kern (music) and Otto Harbach (lyrics) in 1933 for the musical Roberta. A film version of the play was released in 1935 featuring Irene Dunne singing the said song. This song was recorded by various artists including Nat King Cole and The Platters.
Lyrics (Excerpt)They asked me how I knew
My true love was true
Oh, I of course replied
Something here inside cannot be denied
Reminisce the past by listening to The Platter's version of this song via YouTube.