Lullaby Doll

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Al Hirschfeld’s Harpo and Chico caricature

Harpo Marx’s second best published song, after the stellar “Guardian Angels,” is “Lullaby Doll.” You can hear Harpo’s rendition from his album Harpo in Hi-Fi here.

The sheet music is quite a rarity, as I had to request a copy from the Smithsonian Institute. In my rendition, I transcribed Harpo’s 8-bar intro that is from his recording but not in the sheet music. I love how it sounds like an early forerunner to “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” I also added a bit of Harpo’s rhythm to the main melody, as opposed to the straight quarter notes in the sheet music.

As with “Guardian Angels,” our lyricist is Gerda Beilenson, the wife of Harpo’s lawyer. Not to label her by her husband’s profession, but it does help to explain how this song ended up with the lyrics it did. (I have a tough time with her rhyming of “You’re my all” with “Best one of all.”)

Download fake-book style sheet music to “Lullaby Doll” here: Lullaby Doll

 

And here is a piano jazz trio rendition for what it’s worth:


Lyrics to “Lullaby Doll” by Gerda Beilinson:

Hushaby, who’ll be my doll? Bye and bye you’ll be my doll.
I want to play. Why don’t you say you’ll be my lullaby doll.
Haughty or naughty or sad. Smiling, beguiling, or glad.
You’re the right one, day and night one.
You’re my all, best one of all. Hushaby, lullaby doll.

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