Words: Gus Kahn; Music: Isham Jones (1924)

Lyrics

Verse
Why do I do just as you say,
Why must I just give you your way?
Why do I sigh,
Why don’t I try to forget?
It must have been that something
Lovers call fate,
Kept on saying
I had to wait.
I saw them all,
Just couldn’t fall
‘Til we met.

Chorus
It had to be you,
It had to be you.
I wandered around
And finally found
The somebody who
Could make me be true
– Could make me feel blue –
And even be glad,
Just to be sad
Thinking of you.

Some others I’ve seen
Might never be mean,
Might never be cross,
Or try to be boss –
But they wouldn’t do.
For nobody else
Gave me a thrill:
With all your faults,
I love you still.
It had to be you,
Wonderful you,
It had to be you.

Background

“It Had to be You” is a classic example of American songwriting, even, though – surprisingly – neither lyricist Gus Kahn nor composer Isham Jones are particularly well remembered nowadays.  Jones was the leader of a popular Chicago-based dance band which recorded extensively in the 1920s and 30s, while Kahn penned a number of other hits in the 1920s, such as the still-popular “I’ll See You in My Dreams,” becoming a full-time movie song writer in Hollywood in the 1930s.  Aside from the catchy melody, the song is sincere and personal, which is perhaps why it has proved to be a perennial.

Performances

Here is Sinatra’s version, recorded very late in his career. Perhaps not Ol Blues Eyes at his peak, but this is his only studio recording of the song – and, heck, it is Sinatra!

For a remarkable performance of this song by one of our students with disabilities, Niklas Watkins, click here.