Words and Music by Jack Lawrence
Some Of The Best Recordings
Andrew Sisters - 5 albums
For sheet music contact: www.halleonard.com
The Story Behind The Song
One day in 1940 I was in the general manager, Harry Link's office of Leo Feist Music, one of the firms owned by MGM. I had a current hit going with Feist: "A Handful Of Stars." Sitting around shooting the breeze, I decided to get Harry's opinion of a song I had written words and music to: "Yes, My Darling Daughter." This song had been under contract to Chappell Music for over a year and their general manager, Eddie Wolpin claimed he couldn't get it recorded. Link's reaction when he heard it:? "You get that song back from Chappell — I'm leaving for Hollywood tomorrow. If you give it to me, I guarantee it'll be in Judy Garland's next picture!
Now, I wasn't aware at that time that Harry was known by old-timers as "Link, the Liar." Harry had a peculiar, nervous habit of twisting and torturing a white linen handkerchief between both hands while talking to anyone. When he was telling lies, he usually would shred the handkerchief. Well, I just assumed that he was shredding his handkerchief because of his enthusiasm and excitement about my song. Right then Harry sent for one of his demo pianists, Ticker Freeman and asked him to listen to the song and decide which of the singers he worked with could do it.
"Ticker, who can you get immediately to make a demo? I want it today so I can take it with me to Hollywood tomorrow"; Ticker listened and said he had the perfect girl who was due in shortly. "Okay!" said Harry. "Jack, get moving! Get that song back from Dreyfus and we're in business!"
I rushed over to Chappell, stormed into Mr. Dreyfus office practically shouting: "Mr. Dreyfus, my song has been here over a year. Eddie Wolpin hates it, says he can't get a record. You have to give it back to me!" Mr. Dreyfus behind his desk, shuffling papers said mildly: "I never give any songs back!"
He then sent for Eddie who made half-hearted excuses. I said, "Tell him, Eddie! Tell him you hate the song!" But Eddie mumbled some words and was dismissed by Dreyfus who kept shuffling papers and muttering, "I can't give you back the song. It will be a hit with some other firm." With tears in my eyes, I told him: "Mr. Dreyfus, I've given you some big hits in the past few years. If you don't return this song to me... get this chutzpah!... "I'll NEVER come to your firm again with songs!"
Would you believe that threat worked! He gave me a release right then and I rushed back to Feist. Ticker had this mousy-looking Southern gal waiting; we went to a studio and I directed and coached her on the demo. Link did leave the next day with my demo while I impatiently checked off days on the calendar waiting for the good word.
About ten days had gone by when I got a phone call from Miss Mousy who had made my demo. "Jack!" she was breathless. "You'll never believe what happened! I auditioned for Eddie Cantor — with YOUR song. Not only does he want to sign me for his weekly program but he wants to introduce me as his newly adopted daughter, singing your song as a duet with him for the next few weeks."
I said, "Dinah, forget it! That song is going into Judy Garland's next film. Harry Link promised and I'm waiting to hear." "But Jack," cried Dinah, "this is my big break. If I can't do that song, Cantor might not want me." I remained adamant. Two days later I got a phone call from a guy who said he was the producer of Cantor's show. After that pleasant introduction he suddenly screamed at me: "Who the !@#$ do you think you are? Telling Eddie Cantor he can't use your song!"
I tried to maintain my dignity. "The song belongs to me. It's going into Judy Garland's next picture. Harry Link promised!" "You're gonna trust Link the Liar? Your song is going into no picture. I spoke to Link on the coast and he said we could have the song." I was shocked and furious at Link's betrayal. "In that case," I said, "you'll have to pay me for the use of the song as special material."
"Pay?" he screamed. "Writers PAY Cantor to do their songs!" "Find yourself another song," I said and hung up. Two days later, another call from Mr. Producer, "How much do you want for the use of your song?" I had to think fast. I'd never been confronted with a similar situation. The only criterion I had for payment was that $250 per lyric Porter had paid me. I swallowed nervously and said, "Two hundred and fifty dollars for every week you use it." "You're crazy!" was his reply and he banged the receiver down. The next day he called back. "Okay, you've got a deal."
I was glued to my radio the night Eddie Cantor introduced his new protege, Dinah Shore and he played "the mother" to her "daughter" as they sang:
Mother may I go out dancing?
That same week, after her first national broadcast RCA Victor signed Dinah to a record contract; her first recording was "Yes, My Darling Daughter" and she was on the road to stardom. How many weeks did Cantor pay me? One! Because once the song was released on a record, it was available for everyone's use and he no longer had to pay.
Copyright © 2005 Jack Lawrence. All Rights Reserved.