June 15, 2015

#55: He's got it bad

"I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)" was written in 1941 by Duke Ellington and Paul Francis Webster and was beautifully, perfectly arranged by Nelson Riddle for 1957's A Swingin' Affair:

Sinatra plays to a T the part of the desperately smitten guy whose girl just isn't that into him. The song follows the classic Riddle/Sinatra pattern, starting quietly, building to a climax, and then "coming in for a soft landing" and a very satisfying conclusion. Like all the best Sinatra recordings, it holds up to repeated listening on a grand, even obsessive, scale. And it contains one of my all-time favorite lines from any song:

Like a lonely weepin' willow who's lost in the wood 
What would that look like, exactly? No matter; it's something a guy wallowing in self-pity might actually say, or at least feel, and it also provides a rhyme for the next line, which is just terrific:
And the things I tell my pillow, nobody should 
It's a great song with great lyrics by Mr. Webster, who demonstrated his linguistic flair in another, probably better-known, song, the theme to the 1967 Spider-Man cartoon show. And, oh yeah, he also wrote the lyrics to (among others) "The Shadow Of Your Smile," "Love Is A Many-Splendored Thing," "April Love," and the steaming-hot "Black Coffee":

Peggy's centenary is coming up in five years. Meanwhile, she'll be appearing here again, much later in the year.

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