“Tenderly” is a popular standard written by Walter Gross (music) and Jack Lawrence (lyrics). It was published as a waltz (in 3/4 time) but is better known in common (4/4) time, and has become a jazz standard since.

Maybe the best-known version of the song was done by Rosemary Clooney in 1952. It rose to #17 on the charts and became her signature song. This is not part of the battle, but I put it here in case you haven’t heard it, and besides, I love Rosemary Clooney’s voice.

Many other versions have been done, both vocal (most notably Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan, who was one of the first to record it) and instrumental, including the two versions I’ve selected for today. Your job will be to pick the version you like better.

CONTESTANT #1: Jackie Gleason

“The Great One” was not only a very funny guy, he was also a talented trumpet player who recorded a number of albums of lush romantic music.

CONTESTANT #2: The Red Norvo Trio

Red Norvo was one of the early jazz vibraphonists. Around 1949, while looking for work, he formed a trio with a bass player and guitarist. This is from the early 1950’s, when the Tal Farlow was his guitarist.

Now, it’s time to vote…

Whose “Tenderly” did it for you? Jackie Gleason’s lush arrangement, or the vibes and guitar of Red Norvo and Tal Farlow? You know what to do: cast your vote in the comments below, tell us why you liked that one, then visit the other folks having battles today:

Tossing It Out
Far Away Series *
StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands *
Your Daily Dose
Mike’s Ramblings
Curious as a Cathy
DC Relief – Battle of the Bands
This Belle Rocks
Book Lover
Alex J. Cavanaugh
Shady Dell Music & Memories
Debbie D. at The Doglady’s Den
Angels Bark
Jingle Jangle Jungle
Janie Junebug Righting and Editing
Cherdo on the Flipside
Holli’s Hoots ‘n’ Hollers
J. A. Scott
Quiet Laughter

* Check these blogs for further updates to this list!

I’ll announce the winner of this battle next Tuesday, March 8, so you have until midnight on Monday to cast your vote. Good luck to our contestants!

20 thoughts on “BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “Tenderly”

  1. Like so many others have said, I had no idea Jackie Gleason played trumpet. The things you learn in BoTB!!!

    I’m going to spill the beans, giving you my vote, and then tell you why vs. leaving you in suspense. Jackie Gleason is the clear winner for me.

    As I was listening to his version of Tenderly, I felt transported back to a different time. I imagined myself in a very elegant lounge (in another decade!)… you know, when men were gentlemen and women were ladies. As Tenderly played, I could see that everyone was in their finest. Conversations were muted and people were respectful. Romance was in the air.

    The guys in the trio were talented, but it didn’t create that feeling. At all. I guess it wasn’t all that tender to these ears.

    That said, I really enjoyed this battle. Excellent!!!


  2. Oh, wow. First off, I’m one of those who never knew Jackie Gleason was also a musician. This is a fantastic battle, as both contestants provided worthy and stellar covers, and it is not easy to choose between Jackie’s romantic instrumental and Red’s upbeat tune.

    In the end, I’m going with Red Norvo – I loved the perky sound and the uniqueness the vibraphone gave the classic!


  3. That’s a revelation! I had no idea Jackie Gleason was also a trumpet player.Both versions were enjoyable to listen to, but I preferred Jackie’s smooth rendition. The second one was less mellow and jazzier.


  4. I knew Gleason composed music the most famous is the Homeymooners song but I didn’t know he played the trumpet. I loved that version way over the other one, Red Norvo. I am not one for the xylophone. Gleason gets my vote.


  5. I was not expecting this, but Jackie Gleason was fantastic. As you say, he was a very funny man. I was half expecting some sort of a jokey tune. Nope! Very well done. Gleason gets my vote.


  6. JOHN ~
    In my opinion, this is one of your all-time best BOTBs.

    Of course, if you start with one of the most beautiful melodies ever composed, it’s hard to mess that up.

    I love ‘TENDERLY’ so damned much that it’s been on my “To BOTB” list for over 2 years. I just haven’t gotten to it yet. I will though…

    On my BOTB list, I have only one artist mentioned (hadn’t decided on the second contestant). But maybe someday I’ll BOTB him against YOUR winner in THIS Battle… which is obviously going to be JACKIE GLEASON.

    When I was pretty young, my beloved Ma turned me onto Gleason’s music, and as a teenager, I even bought one or two of his LPs. You can imagine what an “anti-Zeppelin” and “anti-Judas Priest” loser THAT made me! (Never mind that my favorite bands were STYX(sux) and THIN LIZZY.)

    In THIS Battle, my vote goes to the artist whose recording appears on THIS [link:] album:

    Maybe someday I’ll BOTB my own personal favorite version of the incredible melody ‘TENDERLY’ against the winner of YOUR ‘Battle’ here: Jackie Gleason. THAT should be an A-list knock-down / drag-out!

    Good Battle, Bro! Certainly one of your very best.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    ‘Loyal American Underground’


  7. Makes me feel my age when several of your followers say they never knew Jackie Gleason was a musician. Both contestants are great. I vote for “The Great One” Jackie Gleason. (I call this type of music “Crossword Puzzle Music.”)


      1. No, I mean I play this type of music when I do crossword puzzles. I guess it allows me to concentrate totally on the task at hand. – Or something like that.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow, wow, and WOW! I loved the Jackie Gleason version. I’m with Janie: unexpected! Great battle.


  9. John, I’m not familiar with this song, so I appreciate you sharing Rosemary Clooney’s version. The two covers are different, but Jackie Gleason beautiful arrangement swept me away with its peaceful quality. Nice battle.


  10. Rosemary Clooney has always been a vocal hero. In fact I have a battle, somewhere with her.

    I never knew Jackie Gleason was a musician! Excellent. He gets my vote!!

    P.S. I have a battle on today.


  11. I had no idea Jackie Gleason was a trumpeter! I absolutely loved his version. It took me to another world. Very romantic for sure. I didn’t really care for the other version. It was okay but Jackie Gleason blew me away. Please cast my vote for him.

    Michele at Angels Bark


  12. The Norvo version was pretty cool, but not very tender. The version by the Jackie Gleason Orchestra exudes tenderness and romance. The arrangements on those Gleason albums make me melt. Light some candles and break out the wine with your best girl, it’s old-fashioned perhaps, but I like it.

    I vote for Jackie Gleason and his Orchestra.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out


  13. I didnt particularly care for the Red Norvo Trio version, but I was swept away by Jackie Gleason.
    Another Great battle!


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