Billie Holiday, it seems, really liked [“SJI”] and wanted something similar but ‘original’ that she could take into the recording studio. The result was a song called “Tell Me More” based on SJI but with writing credit to Holiday herself. Holiday recorded the song in 1940.
The details are attributed to Billie Holiday: Wishing on the Moon, a book by Donald Clarke. Read about it here, but the upshot is that Holiday approached songwriting partner Danny Mendelsohn with a “great” melody — which Mendelsohn immediately recognized as “SJI.” Holiday was undeterred, pushed Mendelsohn to “bend” it a little and suggest some new lyrics — and promptly recorded the results, listing herself as the writer.
I hadn’t had a chance to listen to “Tell Me More” until the other day. Weirdly, I’m not sure if I would have picked up the “SJI”-ness of it without the pointer — and I sometimes feel like I hear the song everywhere. (For possibly obvious reasons.)
I was struck by the lyrics that Mendelsohn claims to have tossed off.
Tell me more and more and then some
The way that you feel and then
When you’ve told that old sweet story
And you’re through, then start right in again.
There is here a kind of yearning for words of “love and devotion” despite … well, despite everything, words to be repeated from “now till doomsday, I never will hear enough.”
I’ve made that old mistake, know the awful ache,
Of a heart that’s double-crossed.
The wait has been so long, it’s hard to be believing.
If I miss my guess, happiness is lost.
Seems in keeping with, or nicely complementary to, the “SJI” narrative. To me.