In the era before television became popular, many of the old jazz standards were used as lullabies for young children. This was partly due to the simple fact that these songs were written in a more innocent time when lyrics were not subject to the same kind of scrutiny for sexual content that is common today. But, more than that, the melodic sophistication and subtle wordplay of the songs made them suitable for a lullaby.
Ella Fitzgerald was the perfect singer to do this, with her voice being able to convey both a sense of innocence and sophisticated urbanity at the same time. Her song, Dream a Little Dream of Me is no exception. It has a slow tempo of 79 BPM and can be played in either major or minor mode.
The music for this song was written by Fabian Andre and Wilber Schwandt in 1930. Schwandt recalled that the pair wrote it during a 10-minute break at a concert in Paw Paw, Michigan.
Despite its relative simplicity, this song has been covered many times. The most successful version was by Mama Cass Elliot with the Mamas and Papas in 1968, followed a year later by an Anita Harris recording. More than 40 other versions have been recorded, including the Mills Brothers, Sylvie Vartan, Henry Mancini, The Beautiful South, Anne Murray and Erasure.
The song was also featured on a couple of episodes of Farscape in 2010 and was performed live by Zooey Deschanel at fashion designer Erin Fetherston’s 2007 show. It was also used as the final scene and credits song in the Jude Law movie Repo Men. ella fitzgerald dream a little dream of me