Irving Berlin was in Berlin and when he heard it, he almost choked on a weinerschnitzel.
The Gershwins had a car accident when they first heard it. Ira smashed his Mercedes into George's Mercedes.
The year was 1939. Irving, George and Ira were all Jews but their shocking reactions had nothing to do with Hitler's follies.
In his Parisian heyday, Cole Porter had just left Bricktops. He was with Ali Khan who was the first to say "I never heard anything so beautiful."
Cole nearly had a heart attack.
Rodgers and Hart were in Hollywood.
Richard turned to Lorenz and said "If she writes more songs as good as this one, we might as well go directly to the unemployment office."
Them that's got shall get
Them that's not shall lose
So the Bible said and it still is news
Rodgers and Hart, the Gershwins, Porter and Berlin were the creme de la creme of American songwriting. They were all poets with a g-clef.
They were Shakespeares with an orchestra instead of a stage. Musicians instead of actors.
Mama may have, Papa may have
But God bless the child that's got his own
That's got his own
Another composer, who preferred anonymity but was too infinitely talented to have his wish granted, was named Harold Arlen.
Richard Rodgers, without any explanation, played the song– the actual 78RPM– for Arlen. Harold was unmoved.
"Okay. It's Billie Holiday singing. Great lyrics. Sounds like it might have been Irving's work...or was it the Gershwin brothers?"
Richard Rodgers banged his fist on a table.
"None of us wrote it, Harold."
"I am not sure I follow, Richard. What are you trying to say."
"She wrote it herself."
Arlen reached for the newspaper.
"Shit. I thought maybe today was April 1, 1939. I thought you might be playing me for an April Fool."
"No fool intended. Billie Holiday wrote the goddam song. If we' are lucky, God will kill the Child."
At Musso & Frank's on Hollywood Boulevard, the back room was closed to the public.
A fifty-pound thick haze of cigar smoke shielded the people in the room from view.
All the above-mentioned composers were there as was Joe Greene, who organized this summit meeting. Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington, however, seemed to be in control.
A similar summit of world leaders should have been taking place elsewhere and the subject for the world leaders would have been Hitler.
Money, you've got lots of friends
Crowding round the door
When you're gone, spending ends
They don't come no more
Rich relations give
Crust of bread and such
You can help yourself
But don't take too much
But these attendees were only world leaders if and only if the world
were made of nothing but song.
"We have to call HARRY THE HORSE," someone said.
No one remembered who said it.
Harry was a hustler.
The composers had pooled together $64,000.
"Harry must give her his 'candy.' Keep her from ever writing another song or all of us will go down the toilet."
She feasted on the candy all the way to the grave but God Bless Billie Holiday
for this Fine and Mellow moment.
Don't explain and don't take any blame
[exclaimed a cat named Zelda]
I assume full responsibility for this page
This cat had eaten kaleidoscopic Kibbles the night before.
Zelda had a dream that took through the looking glass.
She confusedly dreamt the man pictured below was Tonto and the cat was Harry
Not to be confused with any of the Harry animals, Harold Arlen gets a long overdue hyperlink...
AND BILLIE HOLIDAY HAS A BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION.........here