Music by Johnny Green
Lyrics by Edward Heyman
Performed by vocalist Lena Horne, Accompanied on the piano by Teddy Wilson
NOTE: Lena Horne was only 24 years old when she made this recording in 1941; Wilson was 29. I remember watching Lena Horne on The Ed Sullivan Show and on The Dean Martin Show, two of the best comedy-musical-variety-type shows that were not uncommon on television during the 50's and early 60's. Such programming, unfortunately, will never be again seen on today's network television. The music on these shows was unbelievable and most was performed live by artists like Frank Sinatra, Nancy Wilson, Ella Fitzgerald and, of course, Dean himself.
[Below are several clips from The Dean Martin Show featuring, variously, Ms. Lena, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Perry Como and Dean from The Dean Martin Show:]
There's no Ms. Lena in the next one. I snuck it in just because it's a classic! It has to be from the mid-50's or so.
And here, finally, is Teddy Wilson and Ms. Horne and her haunting rendition of "Out of Nowhere." The pictures of Ms. Horne on the video are worth a second look. She was a stunning beauty on screen and was always a classy lady. She died on May 9th of last year. I can only imagine seeing or hearing her in person. One of God's chosen creatures.
Here's another version of the song recorded by Ruth Etting in 1931, when the vocal flourish at the end of the song was stylish. Notice too how Ms. Etting includes a mini-"Christina Aguilera" run on a few notes. (Don't quite care for that.) Ms. Etting begins with the verse which Ms. Horne omitted from her version. The lyrics of the verse may be difficult to make out. Here they are:
When I least expected,Kindly fate directedYou to make each dream of mine come true.
If it’s clear or raining,There is no explaining.
Things just happen and so did you.
UPDATE: Believe it or not, my first exposure to the song "Out of Nowhere" was as a young child watching, of all things, a Popeye cartoon on black and white television. I'm not talking the modern Popeye, mind you, the santitized Popeye. I'm talking Max Fleischer's original, salty, mumbling, banned-during-the-war Popeye, the all-American uncensored Popeye.
Through the magic of YouTube we're able to re-live the past to an extent. Below is the original Popeye cartoon that introduced me to the song. The cartoon is titled "Quiet! pleeze" and was made in 1941. It seems Popeye's "Pappy" is sick (hung over) and needs rest and quiet. He yells to his obliging son: "...And keep it quiet!" The scene where Popeye quiets a radio performer singing "Out of Nowhere" begins at the 3:59 mark.
Spoiler Alert! Watch the cartoon to the very end. The punch line is that Popeye's poor, sick ole' Pappy, after all of his son's hard "woik" keeping things quiet, is seen singing and dancing up a storm at a wild, noisy party.
Strange, the song has stuck in my mind all these years. I must have liked it even then.