Today’s song of the day, “Imagination,” by Jimmy Van Heusen and the lyrics by Johnny Burke, is now considered standard jazz.
- Jimmy Van Heusen originally wrote it as a teenager, but with different words.
- “Imagination” was first published in 1940 and recorded and released by four different performing artists that year.
- Of the four releases, esteemed swing-dance bandleader and composer Glenn Miller and his Orchestra’s was one of the most successful and remains so to date. Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra also recorded one of the most successful of the arrangements released in 1940.
- When it’s played on the radio today, the most often played renditions are by Ella Fitzgerald. She recorded and released the song three times —1940, 1954 and again in 1962, accompanied by Nelson Riddle’s Orchestra.
- A song that has withstood the test of time, countless artists have released different versions of ‘Imagination.’ Some of the most notable are Patti Page (1956), Nat King Cole (1956), Frank Sinatra (1961), Shirley Bassey (1962), Petula Clark (1963), Rosemary Clooney (1963), Harry Connick Jr. (1988), and Lena Horne (1998). But when Jimmy Van Heusen heard Doris Day’s adaptation (1947), he commented, “It has been sung now by the very best.”
Imagination is funny
It makes a cloudy day sunny
Makes a bee think of honey
Just as I think of you
Imagination is crazy
Your whole perspective gets hazy
Starts you asking a daisy
What to do, what to do
Have you ever felt a gentle touch
And then a kiss, and then, and then
Find it’s only your imagination again
Imagination is silly
You go around willy-nilly
For example, I go around wanting you
And, yet I can’t imagine that you want me too