Play jazz : "My Funny Valevtine" is an Oscar Peterson improvisation on the theme by Richard Rodgers; it is included in the album "OSCAR PETERSON in Tokyo" of 1982, recorded by the Oscar Peterson trio. It is one of the best jazz improvisations on this theme.
Text:My Funny Valentine
Words and Music by R. Rodgers and L. Hart:
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.
Is your figure - less than Greek?
Is your mouth - a little weak?
When you open it to speak, are you smart?
Don't change a hair for me;
Not if you care for me;
Stay, little valentine, stay!
Each day is valentine's day.
"My Funny Valentine" is a song composed by Richard Rodgers to lyrics by Lorenz Hart and is now considered a jazz standard,appearing on over 1300 albums performed by over 600 artists. The song was first performed in the musical comedy Babes in Arms by Mitzi Green in the role of Susie Ward. Judy Garland sang it to co-star Mickey Rooney in the 1939 film version of the musical.
The song reemerged in the 1950s and was performed by most of the great jazz musicians and popular vocalists of the time including: Gerry Mulligan, Chet Baker, Chaka Khan, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby, Linda Ronstadt, Miles Davis, Sarah Vaughan, Stan Getz, Paul Desmond, Tony Bennett, Ben Webster, Buddy Rich, Anita O'Day, Mel Torme, Rickie Lee Jones, Sammy Davis, Jr., and many others.
The song made it to the top of the charts when Chet Baker released a very popular and influential version (released on the album "My Funny Valentine" / Blue Note Records). His soft, delicate and serene delivery introduced the world to Chet Baker's singing skills (he was previously known only for his trumpeting skills, also displayed on this recording). Baker is still associated more with "My Funny Valentine" than with any other of the long list of songs he recorded.
Chet's version of the song leaves out the first stanza, instead beginning with the second stanza that starts with, "My funny Valentine, sweet comic valentine". As a result of this, nearly every subsequent version of this song begins the same way. The most notable exception to this rule are songs recorded from the many performances of the musicals Babes in Arms and Pal Joey. (The first stanza is clearly a female voice speaking about her man, giving male singers an additional reason to omit it.)
The third stanza seems quite odd at first. It begins with a series of accusatory and rude questions that one wouldn't necessarily expect in a romantic tune. It quickly apologizes for the odd questions with assurances and then ends with the romantic sentiments of the last two verses.