Billie Holiday

Somebody’s On My Mind

Her longtime pianist Bobby Tucker explains a less-than-virtuous collaborator in Billie:

I can show you the original transcript, but my name isn’t on the music. I used to play this tune [I made up]. She said, “why don’t we write a song?” We put it together and she said she’d call it “Somebody’s On My Mind.

The idea at the time was not to write a great tune. We would write it. Take it to a publisher and get and advance — enough to get high on. This was the general idea.

She got in trouble with the lyric and Arthur Herzog ended up doing about 26 or 27 different sets of lyrics. They played one publisher against the others, saying that she’d record it — trying to get the largest advance.

After she was arrested and went away she asked me to go through her things and see if there was anything that might involve somebody else and get rid of it.

I found a letter from E. B. Marks which said, “Dear Miss Holiday, here is the advance of $400. Per request we have removed Bobby Tuckers name.

But I didn’t really get angry about it. Many years later they were playing the record and she said, “well WE know, don’t we?”

Recorded for Decca January 30, 1950. Credited to Arthur Herzog Jr. & Billie Holiday

- Donald C. Clarke’s “Wishing On The Moon”

Billie Holiday and piano accompanist Bobby Tucker

Spotify_IconListen to the 1950 Studio Version on Spotify

LYRICS ::

Somebody’s on my mind
Like an old sweet song, “The Lasting Time”
Somebody’s on my mind
So I’m walking on clouds on a silver line

To dream my dream could be my mistake
But I’d rather be wrong
And sleep right along than wake
Love may be blind I’ll take my chances
That it cares this affair, my real romance
That’s why you’ll find somebody’s on my mind