Friday 17 July 2015


One of the disadvantages of writing songs is that they can get stuck in your head and you find yourself going over words which sometimes- by putting them in a song - you had hoped to leave behind

Much better to have a song in your head that someone else wrote and which you really love  And that you would like to record. How Deep is the Ocean is that kind of song and recently it has been with me most days

I cannot recall if the song got there after revisiting a photograph of the house where I lived as a child - or if I revisited the photograph after hearing it in my head But I do remember the first time I ever heard the song 

It was being played by an older cousin on the piano in the linoleum floored parlour of my home 
I was probably about nine years old and of all the memories I have lost or have chosen to forget this one has never gone away
I thought then - and think now - it is a beautiful song 

The photograph below is a screen shot of the house and the street where I lived as a child and although the window frame (down left) has changed it is the window of the room in which I heard the song being played for the very first time

And because I was wondering if I might record it in a very simple way  - perhaps without any accompaniment - I did a search for the lyrics - although I was almost sure I had remembered them correctly 

And it was during the lyric search that I saw - as happens with all the most beautiful songs - that it had been recorded by numerous singers - and that Billie Holliday was one of them

With the lyrics confirmed (I will print them below later) I searched for Ms Holiday's recording of the song on You Tube and listened to it 
The link is 

It is splendid of course but of all those I listened to there were two which came close to what I had been hearing in my head 
These were a scratchy 1946 recording by Frank Sinatra 
And what I think is a superb version by Ella Fitzgerald 

How much do I love you? I'll tell you no lie
How deep is the ocean? How high is the sky?
How many times a day do I think of you?
How many roses are sprinkled with dew?
How far would I travel to be where you are?
How far is the journey from here to a star?
And if I ever lost you, how much would I cry?
How deep is the ocean? How high is the sky?

* "How Deep Is the Ocean " was a popular song written by Irving Berlin in 1932, and can be heard in the background of the 1933 film The Life of Jimmy Dolan. The song was introduced by Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra with vocals by Jack Fulton.
The song was written at a low point in Berlin's professional and personal life, and is among the select few of his numbers introduced on the radio rather than onstage or in film. The song is a series of questions posed in succession to one another, with the only exception being the second line, "I'll tell you no lie." The quote is from Wikipedia

PS It is co-incidental that the day I began searching for the lyrics for HOW DEEP IS THE OCEAN -and listening to the recording by Billie Holliday - was July 16th 2015  And it was on the same day that I came across an article from the New York Times about her death 
Entitled ON THIS DAY July 18th 1959: it can be accessed with the following link