“The dreams that we cherish so often might perish” — Einar Swan

January 30, 2010

I was listening to Jonathan Schwartz on WNYC a week ago today, and he played a recording by Frank Sinatra of one of my favorite songs from the 1930s — “When Your Lover Has Gone.” Schwartz is such an aficionado of recorded popular songs that he often dwells on minor points about such things as the arrangement or the instrumentation or even — as he did in one case that day — on the matter of which cut on a vinyl disk a song might have occupied.

I was surprised, then, that he didn’t discuss the fact that Sinatra didn’t sing my preferred introduction to Einar Swan’s song — which, by the way, was written in 1931 and featured in the film “Blonde Crazy” with James Cagney and Joan Blondell.


On my favorite recording of that song, for instance — the one from Kate Smith’s concert at Carnegie Hall — Kate Smith sings this intro: “From ages to ages, the poets and sages, of love — wond’rous love — always sing ….” But Sinatra’s recording began with the second verse: “What good is the scheming, the planning, the dreaming, that come with each new love affair ….”

Swan, who died at 37, had only one hit song, but it did it right that one time. “When Your Lover Has Gone” has always  been a favorite of vocalists and instrumentalists and it has been covered by Billie Holliday, Sarah Vaughan, Louis Armstrong, and Ethel Waters, among others. It turns out that most artists prefer the introduction that Sinatra chose, and they drop the first verse altogether. I would try to make an argument for my preference, but considering the talent arrayed against me, what would be the point?

Einar Aaron Swan in a photo, circa 1927, published in the Worcester (Mass.) Telegram

There is an interesting article about “When Your Lover Has Gone” with some samples of recording of the song at JazzStandards.com. Follow THIS LINK.

There is also an extensive article about Swan at JazzHistoryDatabase.com, and you can reach it at THIS LINK.


4 Responses to ““The dreams that we cherish so often might perish” — Einar Swan”

  1. Sven Bjerstedt Says:

    Charles, I do agree with you about the wonderful first verse of When Your Lover Has Gone. There’s a bit more information on Einar Swan at this link: http://finlander.genealogia.fi/sfhswiki/bilder/Swan.pdf

  2. John Says:

    As you probably know, Einar Swan had close ties to the Worcester, Massachusetts area. I have a wonderful, signed photograph of him and his “serenaders” that was given to my grandmother many, many years ago. Whenever I hear the song “When Your Lover Has Gone”, it makes me reminisce about it .

  3. Sven Bjerstedt Says:

    John, Thanks. In my essay on Einar Swan (link above) there are a few pictures of Swanie’s Serenaders (pp. 26-28). If you would be willing to share a scan of the photograph in your possession, I would be very interested and grateful indeed. (And I’m sure Einar’s son would be, too!)

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