My Funny Valentine was introduced in 1937 by Mitzi Green in “Babes in Arms”, the musical which yielded two more classics, Where or When and The Lady is a Tramp. Unlike those, the quality of My Funny Valentine had not been recognized whereupon the song was not included in the 1939 movie version of the show starring Judy Garland.
In 1945, the first recording failed as well, done by Hal McIntyre and his orchestra with Ruth Gaylor on vocals. Only Chet Baker’s solo, featured in a recording session by the Gerry Mulligan Quartet in late 1952 at the empty San Francisco Blackhawk nightclub, resurrected the ballad. Followed by Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and most notably Miles Davis in the mid-fifties, My Funny Valentine was finally established as one of the great ballads of modern jazz.
While probably the first Brazilian release of My Funny Valentine was by french-born Bernard Hilda in 1953, the first Brazilian recording was made in 1957 by trumpeter Arakén Peixoto and pianist Moacir Peixoto who performed their version on the family album Quando Os Peixotos Encontram, which also featured vocals by Cauby Peixoto and Andyara Peixoto on several songs.
The next year, pianist Alan Gordon and vocalist/drummer Hugo Lander issued My Funny Valentine on their album Dois Americanos no Rio, misleading their audience with the album title since they were born in China and Romania, respectively.
In Brazil, My Funny Valentine was recorded about sixty times throughout the decades, most notably by Dolores Duran in 1959, who recorded the song with the rarely performed introduction, Moacyr Marques in 1960 and, unsurprisingly, by Dick Farney who performed the song four times on record between 1960 and 1975.
Selected recordings of My Funny Valentine:
1. Arakén Peixoto & Moacir Peixoto from the album Quando Os Peixotos Encontram (1957, RGE XRLP 5008)
2. Alan Gordon & Hugo Lander from the album Dois Americanos no Rio (1957, Rádio 0060-GV)
3. Zito Righi aka Bob Fleming from the albums Sax in Hi-Fi (1958, Masterpiece Master 553) andEste é Bob Fleming – Album No. 2 (1962, Audiola/Musidisc AD-03)
4. Moacyr Silva from the album Meia Noite no Meia-Noite (1958, Todamérica LPP-TA-312)
5. Dolores Duran from the EP Dolores Duran no ‘Michel’ de São Paulo (1959, Copacabana CEP-4568)
6. Djalma Ferreira from the album Depois do Drink (1959, Discos Drink DF-LPP-13.004)
7. Moacyr ‘Bijú’ Marques from the album Jazz & Bossa Nova (1960, Tiger LP TR-005)
8. Dick Farney from the album Canções Para a Noite de Meu Bem (1960, Odeon MOFB 3153)
9. Luiz Cláudio from the album O Romântico Luiz Cláudio (1961, RCA Victor BBL 1111)
10. Dick Farney & Leny Andrade from the album Dick Farney Apresenta Sua Orquestra no Auditório de O Globo (1962, RGE USLP 500003)
11. Cipó from the album Aqui Começa o Mundo Maravilhoso da Música – A Fantástica Orquestra de Stúdio (1964, Imperial/Odeon IMP 30.063)
12. Os Poligonais from the album Novas Idéias (1966, Farroupilha LPFA-421)
13. Dick Farney from the album Dick Farney e Você (1974, London/Odeon LLB 1101-S)
14. Dick Farney from the album Um Piano ao Cair da Tarde No. 2 (1975, Odeon SMOFB 3893)
Comparative recordings of My Funny Valentine:
1. Hal McIntyre with Ruth Gaylor from the single My Funny Valentine b/w Saturday Night (Is the Loneliest Night in the Week) (1945, Bluebird Records [USA] 30-0837)
2. The Gerry Mulligan Quartet from the album Gerry Mulligan Quartet (1953, Fantasy [USA] 3-6)
MY FUNNY VALENTINE
Be hold the way our fine feathered-friend • His virtue doth parade • Thou knowest not my dim witted friend • The picture Thou hast made • Thy vacant brow and Thy tousled hair • Conceal Thy good intent • Thou noble upright, truthful, sincere • And slightly dopey gent, you are
My funny valentine • Sweet comic valentine • You make me smile with my heart
You looks are laughable, unphotographable • Yet you’re my favorite work of art
Is your figure less than greek • Is your mouth a little bit weak • When you open it to speak, are you smart?
Don’t change a hair for me • Not if you care for me • Stay little valentine, stay
Each day is valentine’s day