Written by Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields “Exactly Like You” was one of the two songs introduced in Lew Leslie’s “International Revue” on February 25, 1930, at the Majestic Theater in New York City which went on to become jazz standards. The other song was “On the Sunny Side of the Street”. “Exactly Like You” hit the charts several times during the 1930s and has been recorded over 250 times.
Jimmy McHugh (Jul 10, 1894 – May 23, 1969), who wrote over 500 songs, started his career in Boston, where he worked first as a rehearsal pianist for the Boston Opera House, then as a pianist-song plugger for Irving Berlin’s publishing company. In 1926 he moved to New York City, where he wrote songs for the Cotton Club revues in Harlem, one of which was “When My Sugar Walks Down the Street” (lyrics by Gene Austin, credited to publisher Irving Mills). One of his best-known partnerships was with Dorothy Fields, starting with the all-black Broadway musical “Blackbirds of 1928”, which starred Adelaide Hall and Bill Bojangles Robinson and included the songs “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” and “DigaDiga Doo”. McHugh and Fields moved to Hollywood, where they worked on films in the 1930s for RKO, Paramount, 20th Century Fox, and Universal, for whom he created the musical fanfare that started every picture. McHugh then collaborated with several lyricists, including Frank Loesser and Harold Adamson. In the 1950s he began touring musical revues and working with television. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970.
Dorothy Fields (15 July 1904-28 March 1978), one of the greatest lyricists and librettists of the 20th century, wrote over 400 songs and worked on 15 stage musicals and 26 movies . She was the daughter of vaudevillian Lew Fields and Rose Fields; the latter was quoted as saying “You children must be extra polite to strangers because your father’s an actor.“ J. Fred Coots, co-author of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town”, introduced her to Jimmy McHugh, with whom she then wrote the words to “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Baby” for “Delmar’s Revels”. This song became a hit when used in “Blackbirds of 1928”. The two wrote together until 1935. She then began working with other composers, including Jerome Kern, with whom she wrote for the film “Swing Time” (1936), earning the duo an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1936 for “The Way You Look Tonight”. “Swing Time” also introduced “A Fine Romance”, which was later used as the title theme song for the television series of the same name, starring Judy Dench and Michael Williams. Her last big musical was “Sweet Charity”, which included the song “Big Spender.” She was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1971.