Words: Dorothy Fields; Music: Jimmy McHugh (1928)

Lyrics

I can’t give you anything but love, baby,
That’s the only thing I’ve plenty of, baby,
Dream awhile,
Scheme awhile,
We’re sure to find
Happiness — and, I guess,
All those things
You’ve always pined for.

Gee, I’d love to see you
Looking swell, baby,
Diamond bracelets
Woolworth doesn’t sell, baby.
‘Til that lucky day
You know darn well, baby,
I can’t give you anything but love.

Background

“I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” was the hit of Blackbirds of 1928, was McHugh and Fields’s first hit, and has been covered extensively by subsequent popular artists and jazz musicians.

Some controversy surrounds the song’s authorship. Andy Razaf biographer Harry Singer suggests that Fats Waller might have sold the melody to McHugh in 1926 and that the lyrics were by Andy Razaf. Alternatively, Philip Furia has pointed out that Fields’ verse is almost identical to the end of the second verse of Lorenz Hart’s and Richard Rodgers’ song “Where’s That Rainbow?”.

Performances

Here are two very different versions by two very accomplished female singers. First a rendition by Judy Garland:

Here is Doris Day’s take on the number:

And here is the Sing-A-long version for listening to and downloading:

I Can't Give You Anything But Love