Girish Mahajan (Editor)

Thanks for the Memory

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Published  1938
Language  English
Writer(s)  Composer: Ralph Rainger Lyricist: Leo Robin

"Thanks for the Memory" (1938) is a popular song, with music composed by Ralph Rainger and lyrics by Leo Robin. It was introduced in the 1938 film The Big Broadcast of 1938 by Bob Hope and Shirley Ross, and recorded by Shep Fields and His Orchestra with vocals by Bob Goday. Dorothy Lamour's solo recording of the song was also popular, and has led to many mistakenly believing over the years that it was she, and Hope, who sang the tune in the film (in which Lamour also appeared).


In the film, Ross and Hope's characters are a divorced couple who encounter each other aboard a ship. Near the film's end they poignantly sing one of the many versions of this song, recalling the ups and downs of their relationship (then they decide to get back together).

The song won the Academy Award for Best Original Song, and became Hope's signature tune, with many different lyrics adapted to any situation. In 2004 it finished #63 on AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs survey of top tunes in American cinema.

The song is often regarded as a companion piece to "Two Sleepy People", written in September 1938 by Hoagy Carmichael with lyrics by Frank Loesser, also performed by Bob Hope and Shirley Ross in the movie Thanks for the Memory which appeared in 1939, taking its title from the success of the song.

Cover versions

  • Martha Tilton sang vocals with Benny Goodman's orchestra recorded on December 2, 1937. RCA Camden Records CAL-872
  • Mildred Bailey recorded the song on January 10, 1938 with a mixed group featuring Chu Berry doing a nice tenor sax solo.
  • Bing Crosby recorded the song for his 1956 album, Songs I Wish I Had Sung the First Time Around.
  • Ella Fitzgerald recorded this with AndrĂ© Previn and his orchestra in 1955 (released as a single and on Sweet and Hot) and on her 1967 Verve release Whisper Not, with backing by Marty Paich and his orchestra.
  • Stacey Kent - included the tune on her 2001 Dreamsville album.
  • Harry Nilsson released a version on his album recorded with Gordon Jenkins, A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night.
  • Susannah McCorkle - Thanks For The Memory - Songs Of Leo Robin (1983), Most Requested Songs (2001)
  • Frank Sinatra recorded an extended version of the song with altered lyrics for his 1981 album, She Shot Me Down.
  • Rosemary Clooney on her 1985 album Rosemary Clooney Sings Ballads.
  • Rod Stewart as the title track to his 2005 album Thanks for the Memory: The Great American Songbook, Volume IV.
  • Anita O'Day on the album Anita O'Day and Cal Tjader: Time for Two
  • Jim Hall recorded a nice arrangement on his 1957 debut album Jazz Guitar
  • Parodies

  • Charlie and his Orchestra, a Nazi-sponsored German propaganda swing band, produced a version during World War II.
  • The song was performed by Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, and Desi Arnaz on the episode "Lucy and Bob Hope" on the television sitcom I Love Lucy.
  • Marilyn Monroe's performance of "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" to U.S. President John F. Kennedy in 1962 was followed by an additional verse sung to the tune of "Thanks for the Memory": "Thanks, Mr. President/For all the things you've done/The battles that you've won/The way you deal with U.S. Steel/And our problems by the ton/We thank you so much."
  • The song was parodied as "Thanks for the Medicare" on one episode of the 1980s NBC-TV sitcom The Golden Girls. Estelle Getty's character, Sophia Petrillo, sang these lyrics to the melody of the song: "Thanks for the Medicare/For Blue Cross and Blue Shield/For a hip that finally healed/Remember, on prescriptions, generic is a steal/We thank you so much."
  • The song was used a special version for the closing of NBC Nightly News as Tom Brokaw appears his final broadcast in December 1, 2004.
  • Connie Chung sang a rendition of it with her husband Maury Povich on the final episode of her show Weekends with Maury and Connie in 2006.
  • Judi Dench sang her own 'thank you' version especially for Sir Michael Parkinson on his final show - The Final Conversation - in December 2007.
  • References

    Thanks for the Memory Wikipedia

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