The Man I Love – Billie Holiday

August 27, 2022

Originally written by George and Ira Gershwin, “The Man I Love” went on to be covered by many famous artists, including Billie Holiday.

Behind the Music

Originally published as “The Girl I Love” in 1924 and intended to be performed in George and Ira Gershwin’s musical, “Lady, Be Good,” the song was dropped from the performance before it hit the stage. Afterward, the song was changed into “The Man I Love,” and the brothers began shopping it around from production to production. First performed in Strike Up the Band, an anti-war musical written by the two brothers in 1927. The song then went on to find popularity with covers by artists like Marion Harris and Sophie Tucker, charting at No. 4 and 11, respectively. This song went on to be, like many songs from the Gershwin brothers, considered part of the Great American Songbook, a collection of American jazz standards from the 1900s.

Billie Holiday’s Version

During the late 30s, “The Man I Love” became one of Billie Holiday’s regular songs during her live performances. Her version of the song was released in 1940 as the B-side to a single with the label Vocalion. With “Night and Day” occupying the A-side. It also went on to be released in various compilation albums throughout her life and posthumously.

Fun Facts

  • “Night and Day” and “The Man I Love” were originally sung by Fred Astaire and Adele Astaire.
  • The song was recorded the same year as “Strange Fruit,” one of Billie’s most famous performances.
  • Billie Holiday’s nickname was “Lady Day,” given to her by Lester Young, a saxophonist who often toured with her.

Lyrics 

Someday he’ll come along

The man I love

And he’ll be big and strong

The man I love

And when he comes my way

I’ll do my best to make him stay

He’ll look at me and smile

I’ll understand

Then in a little while

He’ll take my hand

And though it seems absurd

I know we both won’t say a word

Maybe I shall meet him Sunday

Maybe Monday, maybe not

Still I’m sure to meet him one day

Maybe Tuesday will be my good news day

He’ll build a little home

That’s meant for two

From which I’ll never roam

Who would, would you

And so all else above

I’m dreaming of the man I love

Maybe I shall meet him Sunday

Maybe Monday, maybe not

Still I’m sure to meet him one day

Maybe Tuesday will be my good news day

He’ll build a little home

Just meant for two

From which I’ll never roam

Who would, would you

And so all else above

I’m dreaming of the man I love

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