Ruth Lowe (m Cohen, m Sandler). Songwriter, pianist, b Toronto, of US-Canadian parents, 12 Aug 1914, naturalized US 1937, naturalized Canadian 1942, d Toronto 4 Jan 1981. After living in her early teens in California, she became a songplugger, playing piano in Toronto music stores at 16, promoting the sale of sheet music. With Sair Lee she performed in a two-piano team in Toronto nightclubs, and under the name Nancy Lee she worked in 1933 with the singer George Taggart on radio station CKNC. She was staff pianist with CKLC; sang with The Shadows, a female vocal trio, on CKNC; and performed with Red Hickey's dance band before joining Ina Ray Hutton's all-girl orchestra 1935-7 in the USA. She was pianist 1937-9 with the publishers Bregman, Vocco, and Conn in Chicago.
Lowe returned in 1939 to Toronto, where she was an accompanist on CBL and wrote her first hit song, I'll Never Smile Again. Collaborating on a number of other songs, she wrote the music for "Too Beautiful to Last" (Feist 1940) and the lyrics for "Put Your Dreams Away (For Another Day)" (Barton Music 1942), which was for many years Frank Sinatra's closing theme song. The latter song has also been recorded by Perry Como and Barry Manilow, and was sung by Gisèle MacKenzie on CBC Radio in 1950.
Lowe retired from performance in the early 1940s but continued to compose. The musical Ruthie, based on Lowe's life and employing several of her songs, was staged by Dinah Christie and produced in 1990 by the Smile Theatre Company of Toronto. The songwriter's story is chronicled in the video documentary I'll Never Smile Again: The Ruth Lowe Story (Great North Productions Inc., 2001), which was broadcast as part of the television series The Canadians.
The poignant war-time ballad I’ll Never Smile Again has the double distinction of being the first No. 1 record on Billboard’s modern chart, and also of being the vehicle that elevated the legendary Frank Sinatra to international stardom.
Ruth Lowe wrote this song shortly after the death of her first husband, Harold Cohen. Although, it is widely believed that Frank Sinatra was the first to record I’ll Never Smile Again, it was actually first broadcast to CBC listeners in 1939 on Percy Faith’s CBC radio program Music by Faith. The song became Sinatra’s first #1 record. In fact, Frank Sinatra and Tommy Dorsey’s version was so popular that it was selected in 1958 as one of the best pop songs of all time. Lowe also wrote Put Your Dreams Away (For Another Day), which was Frank Sinatra’s closing theme for many years. I’ll Never Smile Again received Grammy honours a year after Lowe’s death, when it was inducted into the American Recording Hall of Fame.
Popular Toronto conductor Percy Faith was the first to perform the song, on radio: Lowe explained: “I worked for CBC at the time. He came into the studio one day and he heard us rehearsing the song, and he rather liked it, and he asked if he could perform it for us.” Faith arranged the song for string orchestra, and broadcast it on his CBC radio show “Music by Faith.”
Next, when US band leader Tommy Dorsey performed at Toronto’s Canadian National Exhibition, Lowe took Faith’s unedited acetate recording, waiting at the musicians’ entrance for an opportunity to hand the record to him.
Dorsey immediately knew the timing was right for a song about separation and loss, with Canada at war, and America about to enter the conflict. He arranged for the sheet music to be published, and Glenn Miller introduced the song on U.S. radio and in 1940 made the first studio recording.
Meanwhile, in April 1940 Dorsey went into a studio with a rising young singer he had recently engaged. With Frank Sinatra, Dorsey recorded the 78-rpm single (Victor 26628-A) that by July became Sinatra’s first No. 1 record, and Billboard’s inaugural No. 1 on its new chart, where it reigned for 12 weeks, winning an ASCAP award.
|Johnson, Molly||I'll Never Smile Again||Lucky||03:59|
|Clayton-Thomas, David||I'll Never Smile Again (Ruth Lowe)||Canadiana||03:38|
|Lowe, Ruth||Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra - I'll Never Smile Again||Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra (Frank Sinatra, vocals) - I'll Never Smile Again||03:09|
|Richards, Dal & his Orchestra||I'll Never Smile Again||A Tribute to the Crooners||04:19|
|Stockwood, Kim||I'll Never Smile Again||Sometimes The Moon||03:18|
|Mother of Pearl||I'll Never Smile Again (vocals: Eleanor Collins) (Ruth Lowe, 1939)||She Bop! A Century of Jazz Compositions by Canadian Women||05:29|
|Biali, Laila||I'll Never Smile Again||From Sea to Sky||05:48|
|Arioli, Susie Swing Band||I’ll Never Smile Again||Pennies from Heaven||02:55|
|Lowe, Ruth||I'll Never Smile Again||Patti Page - I'll Never Smile Again||01:57|
|Lowe, Ruth||I'll Never Smile Again||Jo Stafford ft Nelson Riddle & His Orchestra||03:26|
|Peterson, Oscar||I'll Never Smile Again (Ruth Lowe)||The Personal Touch||02:33|