Words & Music: Irving Berlin (1932)

Lyrics

How much do I love you?
I’ll tell you no lie.
How deep is the ocean?
How high is the sky?

How many times a day do I think of you?
How many roses are sprinkled with dew?

How far would I travel
To be where you are?
How far is the journey
From here to a star?

And if I ever lost you
How much would I cry?
How deep is the ocean?
How high is the sky?

Background

In 1932 when the rest of the country was sunk in the depths of the Great Depression, Irving Berlin embarked on the second half of his career. After the success of his song “Say It Isn’t So” a reenergized Berlin then borrowed four lines of the chorus of his “To My Mammy” (1920), including the querying phrase, “How Deep Is the Ocean?” and created a new song whose lyrics are a succession of questions.

(From JazzStandards.com)

Performances

Here is a beautiful performance by the great Judy Garland:

And here is a livelier rendition by Peggy Lee with Benny Goodman & His Orchestra (note that they switch the lyrics around to make the title of the song come first!). The song begins one minute into the recording.