Lucky Us: Jazz Chapter Titles

For me, chapter titles, like short story titles, are both gifts to the reader, a little extra, and prisms through which the chapter can be both previewed and reviewed. If you know the song, you can hear it, playing faintly in your head. And if you don’t, you haven’t missed out—the words themselves still evoke and invite: They can’t take that away from me; Spring will be a little late this year…

My mother sang me everything from “Bicycle Built for Two” to “When You Wore a Tulip” to “Lullaby of Broadway”. She, like me, sang poorly but with great feeling and more than enough brio (and jazzhands). Thanks to her, I have been enjoying the music of Irving Berlin, Louis Armstrong, Hoagy Carmichael, Cole Porter,  Fats Waller, Jerome Kern and the Gershwins since the day I was born.

Before television, much of our public and private entertainment centered on music. Although there was, then as now, cultural divides (age, color), much of the music that was played at home on the record player, at the dance clubs and over the radio was listened to by 132 million people. The high school girl, her science teacher, the principal, the custodian and the guy who delivered school supplies all listened to the same music. The older people didn’t listen to everything the teen-ager loved and white middle-aged men may have listened to Bing Crosby more than Billie Holiday but people who listened to music could find a lot of other people who shared their musical taste, and the knowledge of every lyric, at the gas pump, at the grocery store, on the bus and at every gathering place.

Chapter Openers from Lucky Us

Name Year Lyrics by Listen
I’d Know You Anywhere 1940-42 Jimmy Mchugh/ Johnny Mercer
I May Be Wrong (But I Think You’re Wonderful) 1929 Harry Ruskin
Dirty Butter 1929 Minnie Wallace/ Memphis Jug Band
My Blue Heaven 1928 George A Whiting
If You Ain’t Got the Do-Re-Mi Woodie Guthrie
Every Day’s a Holiday 1938 Sam Coslow and Barry Trivers
Dream a Little Dream of Me 1931 Gus Kahn
I’ll Get By 1928 Roy Turk
You’re Not the Only Oyster in the Stew 1934 Johnny Burke
Pennies from Heaven 1936 Johnny Burke
Bei Mir Bist Du Schon 1932 Jacob Jacobs
You Made Me Love You 1913 Joseph McCarthy
Beginning To See The Light 1944
Never a Day Goes By Donaldson /DeRose
Let’s Fly Away 1930 Cole Porter
Harbor Lights 1937 Jimmy Kennedy
After You’ve Gone 1918 Henry Creamer
Hitler Has Only Got One Ball 1939 Toby O’Brien
Going Home, Going Home Antonin Dvorak
Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year 1944 Frank Loesser
Buttons and Bows 1947 Ray Evans
Not In the Day and Not At Night 1946 Chaim Nachman Bialik
Step We Grandly 1916 Cole Porter
They Can’t Take That Away From Me 1937 George Gershwin & Ira Gershwin
Prisoner of Love 1931 Leo Robin
On The Sunny Side of the Street 1930 Dorothy Fields
Find Out What They Like Fats Waller
Now Is the Hour 1913 Clement Scott
It’s Been a Long, Long Time 1945 Sammy Cahn
How High the Moon 1940 Nancy Hamilton