“Willow Weep For Me” (Ann Ronell): Louise Howlett (vocals), Albert Combrink (Piano), Charles Lazar (Double Bass)

Recorded Live at Alexander Bar, Cape Town

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Poster Design: Bryn van Wyk (bryn@brynvanwyk.com)

Blue Willow

More about the song “Willow Weep For Me” (Ann Ronell)

Willow Weep for Me” is a popular song composed in 1932 by Ann Ronell, who also wrote the lyrics. The song form is AABA and it is written in 4/4 time. It is mostly known as a jazz standard, having been recorded first by Ted Fio Rito (with vocal by Muzzy Marcellino) in October 1932 and by Paul Whiteman (with vocal by Irene Taylor) the following month. Both were hits in December 1932. It was a Top 40 hit for the British duo Chad & Jeremy in 1964; the song was released on their Yesterday’s Gone album and reached No. 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 1 on the Adult Contemporary chart.[3]

One account of the inspiration for the song is that, during her time at Radcliffe College, Ronell “had been struck by the loveliness of the willow trees on campus, and this simple observation became the subject of an intricate song”.

The song was not initially accepted by publishers, for several reasons. First, the song is dedicated to George Gershwin; a dedication to another writer was disapproved of at the time, so the first person presented with the song for publication, Saul Bornstein (who was worried that it was just too complicated to be popular), passed it to Irving Berlin, who chose to accept it. Other reasons stated for its slow acceptance are that it was written by a woman and that its construction was unusually complex for a composition that was targeted at a commercial audience (i.e. radio broadcast, record sales and sheet music sales).  Ronell was romantically involved with George Gershwin at the time she wrote her most famous song, “Willow Weep for Me” and speculation in the New York City composer community is that Gershwin actually wrote the song and gave her the copyright as a gift. However, this has never been proven and is still, at this point, based on the striking similarities in the song to the blues-inflected style of Gershwin.

Ann Ronell

Tin Pan Alley pianist and composer Ann Rosenblatt, better known as Ann Ronell (1908-1993)

More about Ann Ronell

Ann Rosenblatt, known as Ann Ronell (December 28, 1906 or 1908—December 25, 1993) was an American composer and lyricist best known for the jazz standard “Willow Weep for Me” (1932).

Ronell was born in Omaha, Nebraska, studied music with Walter Piston, and was married to producer Lester Cowan. The couple had no children.

Ronell was, along with Dorothy Fields, Dana Suesse, and Kay Swift, one of the first successful Hollywood and Tin Pan Alley female composers or librettists. She co-wrote Disney’s first hit song, “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?” with Frank Churchill for the cartoon Three Little Pigs (1933).


She wrote the lyrics and music for the Broadway musical Count Me In (1942) She wrote songs for movies including Champagne Waltz (1937) and Blockade (1938) and wrote the scores for movies including the Cowan produced The Story of G. I. Joe (1945), the film adaptation of the Weill/Nash musical One Touch of Venus (1948), and the Marx Brothers Love Happy (1949). She served as musical director for Main Street to Broadway (1953). She was nominated for Best Song, “Linda,” and with co-composer Louis Applebaum for Best Score, for her work on The Story of G. I. Joe.

Download Free Sheet Music of “Willow Weep for Me” (Ann Ronell):

Willow Weep For Me

Louise Howlett & Charles Lazar

Louise Howlett & Charles Lazar

Albert Combrink

“Willow Weep For Me” (Ann Ronell) Full Lyrics:

Willow weep for me
Willow weep for me
Bend your branches down along the ground and cover me
Listen to my plea
Hear me willow and weep for me

Gone my lovely dreams
Lovely summer dreams
Gone and left me here
To weep my tears along the stream
Sad as I can be
Hear me willow and weep for me

Whisper to the wind and say thay love has sinned
To leave my heart a sign
And crying alone
Murmur to the night
Hide her starry light
So none will find me sighing
Crying all alone

Weeping willow tree
Weep in sympathy
Bend your branches down along the ground and cover me
Listen to me plea
Hear me willow and weep for me