Thursday, February 11th, 2016...4:19 pm

Romance gone bad

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The Historical Sheet Music Collections have plenty of love songs – songs about flirting, courtship and weddings. But there are also songwriters who understand the opposite end of the romance spectrum, from the perspectives of the ones done wrong. Here are six amusing examples just in time for Valentine’s Day.

SHEET MUSIC 241

SHEET MUSIC 241

Never introduce your bloke, to your lady friend
Words by John P. Harrington, music by George Le Brun [sic]
1907

The composer, George Le Brunn, had a hit with this tune; singer Alice Lloyd was a vaudeville star, sister of the British music hall star Marie Lloyd, and had a “genteel” stage presence. Note the lyrics:

I used to ‘ave a lovely bloke, Harry Wilkes Esquire,
Until I introduced him to my bosom friend Mariar.
We met her down at South End, forget I never shall;
I said: “My friend Mariar,” He said “What a pretty gal.”
He paid her such attentions that I fairly got the spike,
But didn’t like to say so, ‘cause it looked unladylike:
(Chorus)
Never introduce your bloke to your lady friend …

Here is Alice Lloyd singing it.

I’ve lost you so why should I care
Words & music by Richard Howard
1916

Silent film vamp superstar Theda Bara poses on the cover of this piece. She was not a singer, but her film persona was a temptress, and in the 1916 recording the song is sung by Henry Burr.

Oh why should I care what becomes of me now
I had nothing to live for but you
Oh why should I care if I fall by the way
When I know that you’re no longer true …

The songwriter, Richard Howard, also wrote the next song:

It’s only the end of a romance to you but to me it’s the end of the world
Words & music by Richard Howard
1918

The cover, in contrast to the previous, shows a daintily dressed woman sadly waving a handkerchief in farewell by the ocean.

My love to the winds you will throw,
But one look in your eyes and I know
(Chorus)
It’s only the end of a romance to you,
Just the end of a day at play …

Judging by the blurb for the songwriter’s other works, including the previous song and “After you’ve had your way,” Mr. Howard profited from musical heartbreak.

Love is an awful thing!
Words by A. Alexander, music by Maurice Porcelain
1906

This tune from 1906 has a rather blunt title (and violent cover illustration), but the publisher (also the composer) has a blurb at the top of the front cover that reads “A song that appeals to everybody”.

You’ll find that you’ll be broke
If you buy a wedding ring,
So protect your heart from Cupid’s dart
For love is an awful thing.

What do I care, what do I care, my sweetie turned me down
Words by Gus Kahn, music by Walter Donaldson
1925

Here is the tune performed by Arthur Fields and His Band.


Don’t cry Joe (let her go, let her go, let her go)
Words & music by Joe Marsala
1949

Johnny Desmond recorded the song in 1949; Frank Sinatra later recorded another popular version, as did Sammy Davis, Jr.

All that aside, love songs do seem to be more plentiful than melancholy heartache songs. Good to remember that Spring is just around the corner …


Open up your heart and let a little sunshine in
Words & music by Chas. E. Baer
1908

… When the heart beats true skies are blue and for you,
Pleasures will begin,
Bid the shadows depart just you open your heart,
And let a little sunshine in.

[Thanks to Dana Gee, Project Sheet Music Cataloger, for contributing this post.]

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