Manhattan Serenade

"Manhattan Serenade" was composed by Louis Alter in 1928, with lyrics by Howard Johnson. Alternate lyrics were written ca. 1942 by Harold Adamson. It was a hit record for swing era bandleaders Harry James (vocals by Helen Forrest) and Tommy Dorsey (vocals by Jo Stafford). [1]


The song may be most familiar as the title theme of My Man Godfrey (1936),[2] and as the music orchestrating Corleone family consigliere Tom Hagen's flight to Los Angeles in the 1972 classic The Godfather. Scott Bradley based his score for Mouse in Manhattan (a Tom and Jerry cartoon released in 1945) on this tune. Also featured in Vertigo when John 'Scottie' Ferguson is dancing with Judy. Also featured in 1940 musical Broadway Rhythm to back a routine by dancers/contortionists the Ross Sisters.


"Manhattan Serenade" was also used as the theme for the 1930-1945 radio comedy Easy Aces, both in a version played by an in-studio organist and, later, a small quartet consisting of organ, celeste, and two string instruments. A short-lived, expanded version of the show, Mr. Ace and Jane, used a full orchestra arrangement of the song.


In addition to the Dorsey/Stafford and James/Forrest recordings, "Manhattan Serenade" has been recorded by such artists as the Beau Hunks Saxophone Soctette, Earl Coleman, Billy Cotton, Joan Edwards, The Four Coins, Curtis Fuller, George Greeley, Andre Kostelanetz, Enoch Light, Mantovani, Lincoln Mayorga, Raymond Scott, Nat Shilkret, Dinah Shore, Morton Gould. Paul Whiteman and Caterina Valente (1964 - lyrics by Harold Adamson).


  1. Whitburn, Joel (1986). Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890-1954. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 547. ISBN 0-89820-083-0.
  2. "Internet Movie Database". Retrieved December 30, 2018.
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