With only two days until Valentine’s Day, we thought we’d look at one of the sweetest and most popular love songs, “They Didn’t Believe Me.” Composer Jerome Kern wrote the music for a 1914 American adaptation of a British musical.
Don Tyler writes in his book, Hit Songs, 1900-1915:
The Girl from Utah was brought to the United States by producer Charles Frohman. The plot involved an American girl who flees to London rather than become a rich Mormon’s latest wife. The British score proved unsuitable, so Frohman hired composer Jerome Kern and lyricist Herbert Reynolds to write five new songs. One of their additions was the wonderful “They Didn’t Believe Me.”
The music-buying public agreed that the song was wonderful. It became Kern’s first major success and the sheet music sold over a million copies.
Jerome Kern went on to become one of the most famous American composers, writing hits from the early 1900s to the 1940s. Any lover of music will know these titles: Ol’ Man River, Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man, Make Believe, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, I Won’t Dance, A Fine Romance and The Way You Look Tonight.
This version of They Didn’t Believe Me is a duet sung by Harry MacDonough and Alice Green (known also as Olive Kline), who helped popularize the song. MacDonough and Green were best-selling artists for Victor Records and both had long recording careers. Other performers who recorded best selling versions include Harry Belafonte, Rudy Vallee, Vic Damone and Irene Dunne.
We hope you enjoy our Valentine’s Day selection, and whichever song you choose, we hope you share it with someone you love. Happy Valentine’s Day!