DEAR JERRY: I was introduced to a great song in a Simpsons episode, when Sideshow Bob (Kelsey Grammer) sang a few lines of "Every Time We Say Goodbye."
Wanting to hear the complete song, I found it on the "Queen and Quincy" LP, by Dinah Washington with Quincy Jones and His Orchestra.
I was also hoping for background on this brilliant composition, but all it says in the liner notes is: "a lovely Cole Porter ballad of the 1940s." Geez, tell me something I don't already know!
Do you have more information about this tune, and did anyone have a hit with it?
Ellen Greeley, Mansfield, Ohio
DEAR ELLEN: I just had to see for myself if the "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye" research, found on "Queen and Quincy," reported nothing other than "a lovely Cole Porter ballad of the 1940s."
Sure enough, that embarrassingly brief and vague comment is all they could come up with, and it appears that way on the 12-inch LP (Mercury SR-60928), and the seven-inch Compact 33 LP (Mercury SR-650).
Even the title is uncertain. Shown on the label and back cover is "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye," yet has "Every Time We Say Goodbye" in the liner notes, and on the front cover.
Far more shocking was seeing the author of these notes is Leonard Feather, one of the most esteemed and influential jazz writers ever, with hundreds of albums bearing his usually reliable notes. This was not one of his finer journalistic efforts.
Here is the background you were hoping for:
"Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye" is how Porter titled it, and it was written for the short-lived Original Broadway Musical, "Seven Lively Arts."
Starring Bea Lillie, Bert Lahr, and Anton Dolen, with music and lyrics by Cole Porter, "Seven Lively Arts" opened at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York on the third anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, December 7, 1944. It closed May 12, 1945, after 183 performances; by Broadway standards, a five-month run is considered a flop.
The Benny Goodman Quintet appearing as themselves in "Seven Lively Arts," and they of course played "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye" 183 times on stage.
Which brings us to your other question:
As great a song as it is, the 78 rpm single by "Benny Goodman Quintet With Vocal Chorus by Peggy Mann," was the only record of "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye" to reach the charts (Columbia 36767). It stuck around for only three weeks, peaking at No. 12.
The record came out in March 1945, while "Seven Lively Arts" was still playing at the Ziegfeld Theatre.
IZ ZAT SO? From 1945 to the end of the century, I confirmed a dozen other singles, with at least four title variations other than "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye."
We'll make that the default title, with exceptions being noted.
None of these appeared on any national chart, nor could I find any of them on anyone's regional survey:
1945: Stan Kenton and His Orchestra (Vocal by Gene Howard) - Capitol 187
1945: Teddy Wilson Quintet (Vocal by Maxine Sullivan) - Musicraft 317
1945: Charlie Spivak and His Orchestra (Vocal by Irene Daye) - Victor 20-1636
1947: Fred Waring and His Pennsylvanians - Decca 23699
1949: Delta Rhythm Boys - RCA Victor 47-2828
1956: "The Voice and Guitar of Caterina Valente and the Trumpet of Chet Baker" - Decca 30025 ("Ev'rytime We Say Goodbye")
1960: Malcolm Dodds - Ramrod E-3 ("Everytime We Say Goodbye")
1961: Kent Drake - Jubilee 5399
1964: Bobbie Shelton - Towne House 114 ("Every Time We Say Goodbye [I Cry A Little])"
1965: Milt Jackson - Limelight L-3057
1967: Susan Barrett - RCA Victor 47-9384
1997: Carly Simon - Arista ASCD-3400 ("Every Time We Say Goodbye")
I located 13 albums by well-known artists containing "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye," either that way or with another of the title options:
1954: Jeri Southern with the Dave Barbour Trio "Warm Intimate Songs in the Jeri Southern Style" - Decca DL-5531 ("Ev'rytime We Say Goodbye")
1956: Stan Kenton and June Christy "Duet" - Capitol T-656
1956: "Gisele MacKenzie" - Vik LX-1055 ("Everytime We Say Goodbye")
1957: Four Freshmen "4 Freshmen and 5 Trumpets" - Capitol T-763
1961: "Ray Charles and Betty Carter" - ABC/Paramount ABC-385 ("Everytime We Say Goodbye")
1961: John Coltrane "My Favorite Things" - Atlantic 1361
1961: Sarah Vaughan "After Hours" - Roulette SR-52070
1964: Jack Jones "Where Love Has Gone" - Kapp KS-3396
1966: Julie London with the Bud Shank Quartet "All Through the Night (The Choicest of Cole Porter)" - Liberty LST-7434
1966: "Sammy Davis, Jr. Sings, Laurindo Almeida Plays" - Reprise RS-6236
1987: Nana Mouskouri "Nana" - Philips 832 900-1 ("Everytime We Say Goodbye")
1987: Simply Red "Men and Women" - Elektra 60727
1997: Brian McKnight "Anytime" - Mercury 536215-2 ("Everytime We Say Goodbye")
In 1992, a CD album by Alison Krauss & Union Station came out titled "Every Time We Say Goodbye" (Rounder 0285), but it is a completely different song than Cole Porter's.