Tune in to First Take with Lando and Chavis – weekdays from 6-9 am MT – for Stories of Standards to hear our favorite versions of this song all week long!
“Lover, Come Back to Me” (1928) by Sigmund Romberg, with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, was written for the musical The New Moon. Inspired by an 18th-century autobiography, it celebrates a French aristocrat who allies with New Orleans bond-servants and is pursued by a detective-villain until news of the successful 1792 revolution provides freedom. “Lover, Come Back to Me” is sung by Marianne, our hero Robert’s true love. The musical had a remarkable run of over 500 performances on Broadway. “Lover, Come Back to Me” was recorded several times during the show’s run, with three 1929 recordings making the Top Ten: Paul Whiteman, Arden-Ohman Orchestra and Rudy Vallee and His Connecticut Yankees. Romberg’s most popular of many compositions, the mid-section refers to Tchaikovsky’s “June Barcarolle”, to the delight of many.
As a young man Sigmund Romberg (1887-1951) emigrated from Hungary to the United States, where he worked as a composer of revues and adapted European musicals for Broadway. In the early 1920s he began a series of tremendously popular operettas: The Student Prince (1924), The Desert Song (1925) and The New Moon (1928). After the operetta style faded from Broadway, Romberg continued as a conductor and composer for stage and screen until his death in 1951. The 1954 movie “Deep in My Heart”, starring Jose Ferrer was based on his life.
Oscar Hammerstein II (1895-1960) studied law at Columbia University before beginning his long and prolific career in theater. Before his exclusive partnership with Richard Rodgers began in 1943, Hammerstein’s succession of collaborators included Sigmund Romberg, Rudolf Friml, Vincent Youmans and Jerome Kern. His lyrics are known for their clarity, sincerity and ability to engage listeners in the progression of the storyline. Honors received include two Oscars, eight Tony Awards and two Pulitzer Prizes.
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