My Funny Valentine
The best pro vs. the best amateur, plus a lyrical surprise at the end.
Respond with your choice, or offer an alternative.
MAYBE YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE SONG
The lyricist, Lorenzo Hart, considered himself too short and ugly to be loveable. Yet he was able to make Richard Rodgers’ tune one of the most romantic ever written.
I am not certain the the song’s message - “I love you just the way you are” - is what every woman or man wants to hear on Valentine’s Day (or any day) from his or her most significant other. For myself, when I love a woman, I only see her as beautiful. Wikipedia has a few more things to say, but read to the lyric’s end for my surprise to you.
“My Funny Valentine" is a show tune from the 1937 Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart musical Babes in Arms in which it was introduced by former child star Mitzi Green. The song became a popular jazz standard, appearing on over 1300 albums performed by over 600 artists. One of them was Chet Baker, for whom it became his signature song. In 2015, it was announced that the Gerry Mulligan quartet featuring Chet Baker's version of the song was inducted into the Library of Congress's National Recording Registry for the song's "cultural, artistic and/or historical significance to American society and the nation’s audio legacy". Mulligan also recorded the song with his Concert Jazz Band in 1960.
Babes in Arms opened at the Shubert Theatre on Broadway, in New York City on April 14, 1937 and ran for 289 performances.In the original play, a character named Billie Smith (played by Mitzi Green) sings the song to Valentine "Val" LaMar (played by Ray Heatherton).The character's name was changed to match the lyric of this song.
In the song, Billie describes Valentine's characteristics in unflattering and derogatory terms (at one point Billie describes Valentine's looks as "laughable", in keeping with the title), but ultimately affirms that he makes her smile and that she doesn't want him to change. The lyrics are sufficiently gender-neutral to allow the song to conversely be sung about either gender, and a large proportion of cover versions of the song have been by men describing a hypothetical woman.
My funny valentine
Sweet comic valentine
You make me smile with my heart
Your looks are laughable
Yet you're my favorite work of art
Is your figure less than Greek?
Is your mouth a little weak?
When you open it to speak
Are you smart?
But don't change a hair for me
Not if you care for me
Stay little valentine stay
Each day is Valentine’s Day
How about this for a closing lyric:
Somehow in the beholder’s eyes
The mirror often belies
The beauty that’s the poet’s truth
Keeping us in forever youth.