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My Funny Valentine
Song by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart from the 1937 musical "Babes in Arms"
The song is usually performed in C minor, although for vocalists the key of B minor is fairly common. Frank Sinatra recorded the song in B minor, and the theatrical version was also in B minor. Ella Fitzgerald recorded the song in G minor.
The song follows the following chord progression (in the key of C minor):
The second A section follows a similar progression, but the last two bars are replaced with a minor ii-V in Eb heading into the bridge.
The bridge is in the relative major and speeds up the harmonic progression to 2 chords per measure:
Cm7 Bbm7 A7
The last A section is extended by 4 bars:
This simple and classic structure makes it easy to adapt to other genres and for jazz musicians to improvise over the established chords.
Babes in Arms opened at the Shubert Theatre on Broadway, in New York City on April 14, 1937 and ran for 289 performances. In the original play, a character named Billie Smith (played by Mitzi Green) sings the song to Valentine "Val" LaMar (played by Ray Heatherton). In the song, Billie pokes fun at some of Valentine's characteristics, but ultimately affirms that he makes her smile and that she doesn't want him to change (the song is often sung by a man to a woman, though to say that a woman's looks are "laughable" is anomalous).
The song first hit the charts in 1945, performed by Hal McIntyre with vocals by Ruth Gaylor. It only appeared for one week and hit #16.
Bing Crosby recorded the song in 1956 for use on his radio show and it was subsequently included in the box set The Bing Crosby CBS Radio Recordings (1954-56) issued by Mosaic Records (catalog MD7-245) in 2009.
Elvis Costello recorded a cover version in 1978. It came out in 1979 as the B-side of the single Oliver's Army and was later included in multiple compilation albums.
In Part 7 of Hirohiko Araki's long-running Japanese manga series JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, entitled Steel Ball Run, the main antagonist, the president of the United States, is named Funny Valentine. The series is known for its many references to pop culture, particularly with regards to music, making this a reference to the song.
In The Good Cop Season 1 episode Did the TV Star Do It?, Tony Caruso Sr., played by Tony Danza starts to sing "My Funny Valentine" on TV, but the murderer/TV host pretends to be offended by what he claims are the misogynistic lyrics. He then fires Tony Sr, allowing him to claim Tony Jr. is out for revenge when he arrests the murderer.
In the 1998 anime series directed by Shinichiro Watanabe Cowboy Bebop the main character Faye Valentine's name is directly attributed to the song.
Hischak, Thomas S. (2007). The Rodgers and Hammerstein Encyclopedia. Greenwood Press. p. 189. ISBN0-313-34140-0.
Holbrook, Morris B. (2005). "The Ambi-Diegesis of "My Funny Valentine"". In Steve Lannin and Matthew Caley (eds.). Pop fiction: The Song in Cinema. Portland, OR: Intellect Books. pp. 48-62. ISBN1-84150-078-X.CS1 maint: uses editors parameter (link)