One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)"
Sheet music cover
Published1943 (1943) by Edwin H Morris & Co.
Composer(s)Harold Arlen
Lyricist(s)Johnny Mercer

"One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)" is a song written by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer for the movie musical The Sky's the Limit (1943) and first performed in the film by Fred Astaire.


Harold Arlen described the song as "another typical Arlen tapeworm" – a "tapeworm" being the trade slang for any song which went over the conventional 32-bar length. He called it "a wandering song. [Lyricist] Johnny [Mercer] took it and wrote it exactly the way it fell. Not only is it long – fifty-eight bars – but it also changes key. Johnny made it work."[1] In the opinion of Arlen's biographer, Edward Jablonski, the song is "musically inevitable, rhythmically insistent, and in that mood of 'metropolitan melancholic beauty' that writer John O'Hara finds in all of Arlen's music."[1]

The song was further popularized by Frank Sinatra.[2] Sinatra recorded the song several times during his career: in 1947 with Columbia Records, in 1954 for the film soundtrack album Young at Heart, in 1958 for Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely, in 1962 for Sinatra & Sextet: Live in Paris, in 1966 for Sinatra at the Sands and finally, in 1993, for his Duets album. At a Johnny Carson-hosted Rat Pack concert at the Kiel Opera House in St. Louis in 1965, Sammy Davis Jr., backed by Quincy Jones conducting the Count Basie Orchestra, performed the song imitating the styles of successively Fred Astaire, Nat King Cole, Billy Eckstine, Vaughn Monroe, Tony Bennett, Mel Tormé, Frankie Laine, Louis Armstrong, an inebriated Dean Martin, and Jerry Lewis. Bennett, the last surviving of those imitated, continued to perform the song until his retirement in 2021 at the age of 95. During his final concert performances, at Radio City Music Hall, Bennett's performance of 'One For My Baby' was deemed a "highlight of his set" that "went from daring [due to the circumstances] to sublime".[3]


Many renditions of "One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)" have been performed. The following is a list of notable/well-known versions which have been recorded thus far:

In film and television[edit]


  1. ^ a b Alcorn, Josh (1997). walked on highway and died. Connecticut: Greenwood Press. p. 115. ISBN 0-313-29010-5.
  2. ^ a b Gilliland, John (1994). Pop Chronicles the 40s: The Lively Story of Pop Music in the 40s (audiobook). ISBN 978-1-55935-147-8. OCLC 31611854. Tape 1.
  3. ^ "Review: Tony Bennett Wows Sold Out Crowd at Radio City for 95th Birthday with Lady Gaga as His Opening Act". Showbiz411. 3 August 2021.
  4. ^ One for My Baby at AllMusic
  5. ^ "One for My Baby - To Frank Sinatra with Love by Laura Dickinson on Apple Music". December 12, 2014. Retrieved July 26, 2016.
  6. ^ Shaiman, Marc (January 24, 2005). "Someone in a Tree: My View of Johnny Carson's Last Night". The Film Music Society.