Here’s a rare song indeed: George Gershwin and Irving Caesar’s 1917 collaboration that can finally be heard again after many years in obscurity. This song was created when George was 18 years old and was working diligently to continue his streak of getting a few of his songs into Broadway shows. “You-oo Just You” debuted in a performance by singer Vivienne Segal on November 25, 1917 with the composer at the piano.
It found its home in the Broadway show Hitchy-Koo of 1918 and was subsequently the first of the many songs published by T.B. Harms along with “There’s More to the Kiss Than the Sound.” Lyricist Irving Caesar said of his $250 paycheck he got from the song, “We would have given them $500 to have the song published.”
It seems highly likely that the reason this song is so little known is the rather old-fashioned lyric. I can’t say that Gershwin and Caesar were wrong in looking for a Dixie-themed hit. Two years later, these same two people would write a blockbuster hit heard round the world: “Swanee,” and, yes, it was set in Dixie. About his lyric, Irving Caesar understood its limitations, explaining it simply, “We were kids.” Irving Caesar went on to write about 15 known songs with George Gershwin, including a fairly unsuccessful attempt to recreate the sales of “Swanee” with the song “Dixie Rose.”
Download the fake-book style sheet music PDF for “You-oo Just You” in E flat here: You-oo Just You (in E flat)
Download the fake-book style sheet music PDF for “You-oo Just You” in C here: You-oo Just You (in C)
Thank you to the Frances G. Spencer Collection of American Popular Sheet Music at Baylor University for their amazing collection of sheet music. Their electronic copy of the original sheet music for “You-oo Just You” can be found here.
Lyrics to “You-oo Just You” by Irving Caesar
Verse 1: Hon’ I’m goin’ to sing about you-oo,
’cause wooin’ time is just about due-oo.
I’m goin’ to tell the world a story,
and it’s all goin’ to be about you-oo.
Chorus: Who’s the most wonderful gal in Dixie? Who-oo You-oo You-oo
And tell me, who’s the most wonderful pal in Dixie? You-oo just you.
Whose eyes shine like the stars in the night?
Who’s got the kind of loving’ fills my heart with delight?
And who am I goin’ to wed in Dixie? Who-oo You-oo You-oo
You-oo just you.
Verse 2: Evenin’ comes and my work is thru-oo.
When the southern skies are so blue-oo,
Then I rambles o’er the old plantation,
I am a lookin’ for you-oo.