The Man I Love

Reviewed by mojo

While this is not my all-time favorite song, you just GOTTA love how Ella sings it. Here in this live performance she plays with it a little bit, but not so radically that you don't know where she is in the course of the song. It's a fairly straight rendition.

Okay, if you are not convinced that Ella is THE GREATEST SINGER EVER, just shut your eyes and listen to her control as she sustains each note at the end of each line. To say nothing of the half-sob yearning she puts in her voice. Her usual girlishness is totally absent here. What we have instead is a full-grown woman who's been beaten down by life, but she hasn't quite given up on the dream yet. Heartache and yearning and still a faint glimmer of hope. It breaks your heart.

Another feature of this version--if you can be distracted by Ella's heartache long enough--is the totally awesome piano player accompanying her. This guy is Paul Smith, and listening to him makes Mojo wonder if he ever did an instrumental version of this song on his own. I would buy it. He is just freakin' excellent. According to Wikipedia he was "was active as a conductor and pianist for Ella Fitzgerald" between 1956 and 1978, so that probably explains why he's so awesome. Birds of a feather, don'tcha know.

According to my list in a couple of days I'll be reviewing the studio version on the official Ella Sings the Gershwin Songbook "The Man I Love". In the meantime, you can make do with all the YouTube clips I've found for you. And yes, you're welcome.

The Man I Love (1960)

Click below to hear a sample--or scroll down for associated media: 
From What Album(s)?: 
Ella in Berlin: Mack the Knife
Disc Number: 
George Gershwin
Ira Gershwin

From Wikipedia:


"The Man I Love" is a popular standard, with music by George Gershwin and lyrics by his brother Ira. Originally part of the 1927 score for the Gershwin antiwar musical satire Strike Up the Band, the song was removed from the 1930 version of the show, and, as with many standards of the era, has become more famous as an independent popular song than as one from a Broadway musical.

Popular torch singer Helen Morgan first made the song into a big success. [1]

Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, and Lena Horne recorded versions of this song, as did Ella Fitzgerald for Ella Fitzgerald Sings the George and Ira Gershwin Songbook (1959). On this version, Ira Gershwin commented, "I didn't realize our songs were so good until Ella sang them.". Hazel O'Connor recorded a version for her Smile album in 1984.

Cher recorded the song for her album Bittersweet White Light (1973).

Barbra Streisand recorded the song for her album Back to Broadway (1993).

In 1995, Tony Bennett recorded the song for his MTV Unplugged performance with lyrics revised by Ira Gershwin as "The Girl I Love".

In 2006, Israeli musician Ivri Lider recorded a version of the song as a part of the soundtrack from the movie The Bubble.

In 2008, Malian musician Rokia Traoré recorded the song for her album Tchamanché. She had previously performed it in 2005 as a duet with Dianne Reeves.