“I Get Along Without You Very Well” and “The Nearness Of You” are my two favorite Hoagy Carmichael songs. I saw an album cover which claimed that Carmichael was “The First Of The Singer Songwriters.” That’s clearly an exaggeration, but he was one of the few composers of his time who also gained notoriety as a performer. Here’s another bit of trivia. He was also a lawyer for a short time before becoming a musician.
This particular song was written in 1939 with lyrics inspired by poet Jane Brown Thompson. There are several excellent versions on You Tube. I chose this Billie Holiday version. It was recorded in 1959 quite near the end of her brief life. Her voice was very frail at this point but still lovely.
So I’ve been doing a bit of writing lately. What, you may ask, has that got to do with today’s song? Not much, except it is a torch song and, as it happens, I write trashy romance. It’s always the same basic story. They meet. They fall in love. Boinking ensues. They’re torn apart by their tragic flaws. The power of love is too strong so once again they are reunited. Then more boinking ensues and they live happily ever after. In romance novels, the only variety is in the window dressing.