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Thread: I Can Dream, Can't I - Sammy Fain

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    326

    Default I Can Dream, Can't I - Sammy Fain

    In 1938, two memorable songs emerged from the Broadway flop "Right This Way" with music by Sammy Fain and lyrics by Irving Kahal: "I'll Be Seeing You" and the lesser known "I Can Dream, Can't I." The latter was a hit, first for the Tommy Dorsey band in 1937, and then for the Andrews Sisters and for Toni Arden, both in 1949. It was also featured in an episode of the TV series "Mad Men."

    Sammy Fain (1902-1989) had a long career as a songwriter both for live musicals and films. Early songs include "Let A Smile Be Your Umbrella," "You Brought A New Kind of Love To Me," and "When I Take My Sugar To Tea." Later songs include "Dear Hearts and Gentle People," "I'm Late" and "Alice In Wonderland" (from the Disney film "Alice in Wonderland"), "The Second Star From the Right (from the Disney film "Peter Pan") and "April Love" (from the film of the same name) . He was nominated ten times for the Academy Award for best song and won twice for "Secret Love" and "Love Is A Many Splendid Thing." Fain was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1972.

    "I Can Dream, Can't I" has a standard 32-bar ABAC form, with each section being 8 measures long. The lovely melody is very tightly composed based on two main motives. The two A sections, identical for the first seven measures, are based on a three-note descending scalar motive on the first, fourth, and seventh scale degree, all with the same rhythm: half note, quarter note, and half-note. The first B section starts with three instances of a three-note scalar motive using quarter-note triplets; similar motives using the same rhythm are used in the second B section. The repeated use of these two motives brings a satisfying coherence to the melody. The lyrics, a plaintive admission of unrequited love fit the melody beautifully.

    The Tommy Dorsey (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2NX5KhzIJ0) and Andrews Sisters (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJ1qmGJ3eyY) performances are both available. Particularly nice is a 1975 performance by Karen Carpenter from the Carpenters album "Horizon" at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myXD...kVFmgnHwBxm7kf, which also includes the little-known verse.

    Lead sheets are available in a number of fake books, including The Ultimate Fake Book published by Hal Leonard. My chart uses the Jazz-Ballad style at 90 bpm. I hope you enjoy playing this beautiful song.

    I Can Dream, Can't I - Sammy Fain
    Last edited by Keith88; 08-18-2018 at 09:19 AM. Reason: Corrections

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
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    713

    Default

    Good one, Keith.

    Your jazz changes are a big improvement on the sketchy changes in the fake books.

    And as usual, your inclusion of background information is marvelous.

    I'm surprised the 1300 Standards list missed this fine tune.

    Cheers,
    Jer
    Jerry Engelbach
    Pianist • Arranger • Composer
    Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, México
    Music Website
    Art Website
    The Internationale Website

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    Default

    Hi Jer,

    Thanks for the complements. I appreciate them. I try to include biographical information about the composers of the songs because I think it is important to honor those who provide us with beautiful material to play and to provide a context for placing the material in the repertoire. I also think it is useful to understand the structure of the music in order to generate an effective performance of it. Too many performers are taught how to play or particularly how to sing without learning any music theory.

    I noted that Sammy Fain had been nominated ten times for the Academy Award for Best Song in a film. Here is the list of the songs:

    That Old Feeling - 1937
    Secret Love - 1953 (Winner)
    Love Is a Many Splendid Thing - 1955 (Winner)
    April Love - 1957
    A Very Precious Love - 1958
    A Certain Smile - 1958
    Tender Is the Night - 1962
    Strange Are the Ways of Love - 1972
    A World That Never Was - 1976
    Someone Is Waiting For You - 1977

    I've posted charts for "A Very Precious Love" and "A Certain Smile" to the forums and I regularly perform many of these songs. It is a pleasure to play these songs by a great composer.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
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    Default

    Thanks, Keith.

    I don't know any of those tunes from 1962 on, but the earlier ones I play from time to time, especially Love Is a many-Spendored Thing.

    Cheers,
    Jer
    Jerry Engelbach
    Pianist • Arranger • Composer
    Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, México
    Music Website
    Art Website
    The Internationale Website

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Posts
    5

    Default

    Thank you for the material. I'm a jazz vocalist and always looking for those lesser known almost forgotten songs of yester year. Thank you again.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    326

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    You're welcome. I regularly play for retirees who enjoy many now-neglected songs of the 40s and 50s. I suggest that you check out the chord charts that I have posted on this forum for such material.

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