Tune in weekday mornings for Stories of Standards to hear our favorite versions of “Just Friends.” Rodney Franks presents Stories of Standards Monday through Friday at 7:50 and 8:50 am beginning Monday, October 25.
“Just Friends” by John Klenner (left) and Sam M. Lewis (right) was introduced in 1931 by Red McKenzie and His Orchestra and first hit the charts with Russ Columbo’s version in 1932. Ben Selvin and His Orchestra also had a recording that year which hit the charts. Since then it has become a jazz standard, recorded over 400 times.
John Klenner (Feb. 24, 1899 – Aug 13, 1955), born in Germany, was a songwriter, composer, author, pianist, and arranger. His training in piano and composition led to his composition of a number of classical works as well as music/lyrics for dozens of popular songs. He joined ASCAP in 1932.
Sam M. Lewis (Oct 25, 1885 –Nov 22, 1959) was a singer and lyricist who wrote a number of popular songs, including “Dinah“, ”For All We Know”, “Has Anybody Seen My Gal?”, “How Ya Goin’ to Keep Them Down on the Farm (After They’ve Seen Paree)?, “I’m Sitting On Top of the World” and “Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody”. A charter member of ASCAP (1914), he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970. He was also a charter member of The Friars.