Home | Songs By Year | Songs from 1923

What'll I Do

Buy What'll I Do now from Amazon

First, read the Wikipedia article. Then, scroll down to see what other TopShelfReviews readers thought about the song. And once you've experienced the song, tell everyone what you thought about it.

Wikipedia article

"'What'll I Do'" is a song written by Irving Berlin in 1923.Lyman, Darryl (1996). 'Jewish Heroes & Heroines: Their Unique Achievements'. Jonathan David. p. 183. . It was introduced by singers Grace Moore and John Steel late in the run of Berlin's third 'Music Box Revue' and was also included in the following year's edition."American Classics - Music Box Revues 1921-1924" (history), webpage: [http://www.amclass.org/mbr.html AmClass-IBerlin].


"What'll I Do" is one of the few songs by Berlin that is clearly autobiographical. His fiance, a society beauty named Ellin MacKay, had been sent to Europe by her disapproving father, a very wealthy Long Island magnate, in the hopes that MacKay would forget Berlin. (She did not and eventually they married.) The song was written during McKay's "tour" of Europe. In the lyrics, the singer longs disconsolately for his love, imagining how he can go on without her.


*Nat King Cole recorded a cover for his album 'Unforgettable' (1952).

*Julie London recorded her version of this song in 1955, released in 1956 on her album Lonely Girl.

*Johnny Mathis included on his 'Warm' album (1957).

*Frank Sinatra recorded a well-known cover for his album 'All Alone' (1962).

*Johnny Tillotson released his version on an LP, EP and B-side in 1962.

*The Fleetwoods released a cover as a single in 1963.

*Nancy Sinatra released it on the album Sugar in 1967.

*Harry Nilsson included this song on his 1973 album of American standards, 'A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night', arranged by Gordon Jenkins.

*Linda Ronstadt and the Nelson Riddle Orchestra covered the song on her album 'What's New', produced by Peter Asher in 1983, with tenor sax solo by Bob Cooper.

*Rosemary Clooney released a cover in 1984 on her album Rosemary Clooney Sings the Music of Irving Berlin.

*Bob Dylan covered it in his album 'Shadows in the Night' (2015).

*The song was included on Seth MacFarlanes fifth album, 'Once in a While'.

In popular culture

*The song was used as a generalized theme in Nelson Riddle's Academy Award-winning period score for the film 'The Great Gatsby' (1974) starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow, sung by character actor William Atherton.

*It was sung by Mary Steenburgen in the movie 'The Butcher's Wife' (1991)

*Bea Arthur sang it in The Golden Girls episode, "Journey to the Center of Attention".

*The song was used as the theme tune to the British sitcom 'Birds of a Feather', performed by William Atherton and later its lead stars Pauline Quirke and Linda Robson.

*An instrumental version of the song was used under the closing scene of "I Do, Adieu" (1987), the fifth-season finale of the sitcom 'Cheers'.

*The Johnny Mathis version of the song was also used in the closing scene of "The Jet Set," the eleventh episode in the second season of 'Mad Men'.

*Adam Hurrey performed a version of the song in the style of football supporters as part of the "Football Cliches" podcast in May 2022.


Buy What'll I Do now from Amazon

<-- Return to songs from 1923

This work is released under CC-BY-SA. Some or all of this content attributed to http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?oldid=1101109150.