Marion Harris was a popular singer of early Twentieth century vaudeville and Broadway shows. In July of 1917 she recorded "When I Hear That Jazz Band Play" which can be considered the first rendition of a jazz song that was recorded by a woman or at least the first song recorded by a woman that included "Jazz" in the title. To the general public she must have seemed the epitome of a flapper with her blonde bobbed hair and Jazz themed songs such as "Jazz Baby", Take Me to the Land of Jazz" and "I'm A Jazz Vampire". Little is known about Marion's background but her life on the stage is thought to have begun sometime in the 1910s singing in movie theatres and in vaudeville. Show business legend has it that she was discovered by dancer Vernon Castle. She was brought to New York by Broadway producer Charles B. Dillingham who supposedly gave her a small role in his production at the Globe Theatre of "Stop! Look! Listen!" in December of 1915. In 1918 she appeared in the Broadway musical "Listen Lester" at the Knickerbocker Theatre. Harris' recording career began in 1916 with the Victor label. She left Victor for the Columbia label in 1920 allegedly because Victor wouldn't allow her record W.C. Handy's "St. Louis Blues" which she recorded soon after joining Columbia and again in 1923 after she had switched to the Brunswick label. W.C. Handy remembered it this way in his autobiography;

"Marion Harris, celebrated White Blues singer, left a recording company that objected to her making a record of "St. Louis Blues". Miss Harris had used our numbers in vaudeville for a long time, and she sang blues so well that people sometimes thought that the singer was colored."

Throughout her recording career Harris tended to record Blues or Jazz flavored tunes and featured the songs of many African-American songwriters. By the mid-1920s Harris had become a star of vaudeville and regularly played the Palace Theatre, appeared in Zeigfeld's Midnight Frolic in New York and toured the country with vaudeville shows. She got married in 1924 and had two children but divorced in 1928. She briefly left show business during this period. Marion appeared in "Yours Truly" at the Shubert Theatre and starred in "A Night In Spain" at the 44th Street Theatre in New York in 1927 and "The Second Little Show" at the Royale Theatre in 1930. In 1928 Marion appeared in her first film entitled "Marion Harris, Songbird Of Jazz". It was an eight minute early sound film of her singing. In 1929 she made her feature-length motion picture debut in MGM's early all-talking picture "Devil-May-Care" with Ramon Novarro and Dorothy Jordan. The film was a musical romance set in Napoleonic France and Marion played the heartbroken girlfriend whom Ramon Novarro left for Dorothy Jordan's character. The film was one of the very first motion picture musicals and also featured a short color dance sequence. When Variety magazine reviewed the film on December 25th, 1929 and they had this to say about Marion's performance:

"Miss Harris may have been cast for this picture to help work out a contract. For she seemed in a strange role for this popular singer and had but one song which wasn't and won't be popular. Her make up looked odd, although perhaps that was in the Napoleonic period."

She appeared in a few other films including "Gems of M-G-M" in 1930 and "Trouble Ahead" in 1936, but her greatest success was as a vaudeville singer. In the early 1930s she was singing on the radio in New York and continued to do vaudeville and cabaret work. In 1931 she went to England and performed at London's Café de Paris (3 Coventry Street). She spent a lot of time in London during the 1930s and sometime in the mid-1930s she moved there, where she performed in cabarets and on BBC radio shows. Harris recorded ten songs between 1931 to 1934 on the Columbia and Decca labels. In the late 1930's she retired from show business and married English theatrical agent Leonard Urry. During World War II her house was destroyed in a German rocket attack during the Blitz. She returned to the United States in 1944 and tragically died from burns after falling asleep in bed with a lit cigarette at the Le Marquise Hotel in New York (12 East 31st Street) on April 23, 1944.

For more information about the life and music of Marion Harris please see David Garrick's Music Pages and Brian Blair's Marion Harris Songbird Of Jazz. Thanks to Brian for the great photo of Marion Harris on this page. Thanks to Bob Palmer and Linda Fitak for their help with this page.

Title Recording Date Recording Location Company
A Good Man Is Hard To Find
(Eddie Green)
2-18-1919 Camden, New Jersey Victor
18535-A
After You've Gone
(Henry Creamer / J. Turner Layton)
10-18-1918 Camden, New Jersey Victor
18509-A
Aggravatin' Papa
(Roy Turk / J.Russell Robinson)
10-1922 New York, New York Brunswick
2345
An Ev'ning In Caroline
(Walter Donaldson)
5-3-1932 London, England Columbia
DB-822
Away Down South
(Harry Akst)
10-1922 New York, New York Columbia
A3659
Beale Street Blues
(W.C. Handy)
3-2-1921 New York, New York Columbia
A3474
Before You Go 9-28-1923 New York, New York Brunswick
2539
Beside A Babbling Brook
(Gus Kahn / Walter Donaldson)
4-2-1923 New York, New York Brunswick
2421-A
Blue
with Isham Jones' Orchestra

(Grant Clark / Lou Handman / Edgar Leslie)
8-1922 New York, New York Brunswick
2310-B
Blue Again
From the Musical Comedy "The Vanderbilt Revue"

(Dorothy Fields / Jimmy McHugh)
12-12-1930 New York, New York Brunswick
6016-A
Brother In Law Dan
(Jordan)
9-1922 New York, New York Brunswick
2318-B
Carolina In The Morning
(Gus Kahn / Walter Donaldson)
9-1922 New York, New York Brunswick
2329-B
Charleston Charlie
(Austin / O'Hara)
9-29-1924 New York, New York Brunswick
2735-B
Cuddle Up Blues
(M.K. Jerome)
1-16-1922 New York, New York Columbia
A3555
Dearest
(Benny Davis / Harry Akst)
4-2-1923 New York, New York Brunswick
2421-B
Did You Mean It?
(From "A Night In Spain")

(Phil Baker / Sid Silvers / Abe Lyman)
12-8-1927 Chicago, Illinois Victor
21116-A
Dirty Hands, Dirty Face
(James Monaco / Al Jolson / Edgar Leslie)
6-1923 New York, New York Brunswick
2458-B
Dixie Highway
(Gus Kahn / Walter Donaldson)
9-1922 New York, New York Brunswick
2318-A
Does My Sweetie Do - And How
(Sidney Holden / Maceo Pinkard)
3-1925 New York, New York Brunswick
2807-B
Don't Leave Me, Daddy
(J.M. Verges)
10-5-1916 New York, New York Victor
18185-B
Everybody But Me
(James Hanley)
4-7-1920 New York, New York Columbia
A2939
Everybody's Crazy 'Bout the Dog-gone Blues But I'm Happy
(Henry Creamer / J. Turner Layton)
12-06-1917 New York, New York Victor
18443-A
Fickle Flo
(Roy Turk / J.Russel Robinson)
5-16-1922 New York, New York Columbia
A3630
For Johnny And Me
(Lew Brown / Albert Von Tilzer)
2-18-1919 Camden, New Jersey Victor
18535-A
Funny, Dear, What Love Can Do
(Joe Bennett / George A. Little / Charley Straight)
12-10-1929 Chicago, Illinois Brunswick
4663
Gettin' Sentimental 4-25-1932 London, England Columbia
DB-851
Go, Emaline
(Henry Creamer / Ray Brown)
8-1924 New York, New York Brunswick
2672-B
Good-Bye Alexander
(Good-Bye Honey Boy)

(Henry Creamer / J. Turner Layton)
7-22-1918 Camden, New Jersey Victor
18492-A
Grieving For You
(Gibson / Ribaud / Gold)
11-29-1920 New York, New York Columbia
A3383
Haunting Blues
(Henry Busse)
6-8-1922 New York, New York Columbia
A3646
He Done Me Wrong
(Cannon)
4-20-1920 New York, New York Columbia
A2968
He's My Secret Passion
(Arthur Young / V. Valentine)
12-12-1930 New York, New York Brunswick
6016-B
He's Not Worth Your Tears
From The Musical Comedy "Sweet And Low"

(Mort Dixon / Billy Rose / Harry Warren)
11-1930 New York, New York Brunswick
4972
Hey Hey And Hee Hee
(I'm Charleston Crazy)

(Matson / Booker / Mills)
3-30-1924 New York, New York Brunswick
2622-B
Homesick
(Irving Berlin)
9-1922 New York, New York Brunswick
2329-A
Homesickness Blues
(Cliff Hess)
4-16-1920 New York, New York Columbia
A2944
Hot Lips
(Henry Busse / Jack Lange / Lou Davis)
10-1922 New York, New York Brunswick
2345
How Come You Do Me Like You Do?
Piano Passages by Phil Ohman

(Gene Austin / Ray Bergere)
3-1924 New York, New York Brunswick
2610-B
I Ain't Got Nobody
(Charles Warfeld / David Young)
4-21-1920 New York, New York Columbia
A2271
I Ain't Got Nobody
Saxophone Passage by Bennie Krueger

(Roger Graham / Spencer Williams)
12-1922 New York, New York Brunswick
2395-A
I Ain't Got Nobody Much
(Roger Graham / Spencer Williams)
8-9-1916 New York, New York Victor
18133-B
I Can't Get The One I Want
(Fred Rose / Herman Ruby / Lou Handman)
6-1924 New York, New York Brunswick
2651-A
I Can't Realize
(Buddy De Sylva / Walter Donaldson)
3-1925 New York, New York Brunswick
2807-A
I Don't Want You To Cry Over Me
(Gus Arnheim / Abe Lyman)
9-28-1923 New York, New York Brunswick
2552-A
If I Could Be With You
(James P.Johnson / Henry Creamer)
8-1930 New York, New York Brunswick
4873
I Gave You Up Just Before You Threw Me Down
(Bert Kalmer / Herman Ruby / Fred E. Ahlert)
12-1922 New York, New York Brunswick
2370-A
I'll See You In My Dreams
(Isham Jones / Gus Kahn)
1-1925 New York, New York Brunswick
2784-A
I'm A Jazz Vampire
(Carey Morgan)
10-1-1920 New York, New York Columbia
A3328
I'm Gonna Do It If I Like
(Irving Berlin)
12-30-1920 New York, New York Columbia
A3367
I'm Gonna Make Hay While the Sun Shines in Virginia
(Joe Young / Sam Lewis / Archie Gottler)
8-31-1916 New York, New York Victor
18143-B
I'm Just Wild About Harry
From "Shuffle Along"
with Isham Jones' Orchestra

(Noble Sissle / Eubie Blake)
8-1922 New York, New York Brunswick
2309-B
I'm Looking For A Bluebird
(To Chase My Blues Away)

(Rich)
6-22-1921 New York, New York Columbia
A3457
I'm Nobodys Baby
(Benny Davis / Lester Santley / Milton Ager)
5-27-1921 New York, New York Columbia
A3433
I Remember You From Somewhere
(Harry Warren / Edgar Leslie)
5-1930 New York, New York Brunswick
4812
Is I In Love? I Is 5-3-1932 London, England Columbia
DB-822
It Had To Be You
Piano Passages by Phil Ohman

(Isham Jones / Gus Kahn)
3-1924 New York, New York Brunswick
2610-A
I Told You So
(Albert Von Tilzer)
8-26-1920 New York, New York Columbia
A3300
I've Been Saving For Rainy Day
(Swanstrom / Clark)
7-1923 New York, New York Brunswick
2470-A
I've Got A Cross Eyed Papa
(Roy Ingraham / King Zany / Billy Duval)
10-5-1923 New York, New York Brunswick
2494-B
I've Got The Wonder Where He Went And When He's Coming Back Blues
(Little / Lyman)
1-20-1922 New York, New York Columbia
A3555
I Wonder Where My Sweet Daddy's Gone
(Stark)
6-7-1921 New York, New York Columbia
A3433
I Wonder Why
(from the Musical "Love O' Mike")
with Billy Murray

(Harry B. Smith / Jerome Kern)
2-28-1917 Camden, New Jersey Victor
18270-A
Jazz Baby
(Blanche Merrill / M.K. Jerome)
4-19-1919 Camden, New Jersey Victor
18555-B
Jealous
(Malie / Finch / Little)
3-30-1924 New York, New York Brunswick
2622-A
Left All Alone Again Blues
from "The Night Boat"

(Jerome Kern)
3-26-1920 New York, New York Columbia
A2939
Little White Lies
(Walter Donaldson)
9-1930 New York, New York Brunswick
4873
Look For The Silver Lining
from "Sally"

(Jerome Kern)
12-29-1920 New York, New York Columbia
A3367
Lovey Come Back
(Lou Handman / Samuel M. Lewis / Joesph Young)
9-1923 New York, New York Brunswick
2494-A
Malinda Brown
(Walter Donaldson)
4-5-1922 New York, New York Columbia
A3604
Mammy's Chocolate Soldier
(Sidney Mitchell / Archie Gottler)
6-18-1918 Camden, New Jersey Victor
18493-B
Maybe You Think You're Fooling
(Sol Violinsky)
4-5-1922 New York, New York Columbia
A3604
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 8-2-1934 London, England Decca
F-5160
Mississippi Choo Choo
(P.L. Frost / Fred Rose)
11-1922 New York, New York Brunswick
2361-A
My Canary Has Circles Under His Eyes
(Kohler / Pola / Golden)
3-17-1931 London, England Columbia
DB-453
My Cradle Melody
with Isham Jones' Orchestra

(Sam Lewis / Joe Young / George W. Meyer)
8-1922 New York, New York Brunswick
2309-A
My Fate Is In Your Hands
From Connie's Review "Load Of Coal"

(Andy Razaf / Fats Waller)
12-10-1929 Chicago, Illinois Brunswick
4681
My Man From Caroline
(Walter Donaldson)
11-1930 New York, New York Brunswick
4972
My Syncopated Melody Man
(Blanche Merrill / Eddie Cox)
11-17-1916 New York, New York Victor
18152-B
Nashville Nightingale
(George Gershwin)
12-1923 New York, New York Brunswick
2539
Never Let No One Man Worry Your Mind
(Skidmore / Baxley)
10-6-1920 New York, New York Columbia
A3328
No One
(Jack Yellen / Milton Ager)
4-1925 New York, New York Brunswick
2836-A
Nobody Cares If I'm Blue
From the First National and Vitaphone Production "Bright Lights"

(Harry Akst / Grant Clarke)
5-1930 New York, New York Brunswick
4812
Nobody Lied
(When They Said I Cried Over You)

(Edwin J. Weber)
10-6-1920 New York, New York Columbia
A3646
Nobody's Sweetheart
(Gus Kahn / Ernie Erdman / Elmer Schoebel / Billy Meyers)
12-10-1929 Chicago, Illinois Brunswick
4681
Nobody's Using It Now
From the Motion Picture "The Love Parade"

(Grey / Schertzinger)
12-10-1929 Chicago, Illinois Brunswick
4663
Oh Judge
(He Treats Me Mean)

(James Hanley)
4-7-1920 New York, New York Columbia
A2968
One Morning In May
(Hoagy Carmichael / Mitchell Parish)
3-29-1934 London, England Decca
F-3954
Oo-Oo-Ooh! Honey
(What You Do To Me)
Introducing Ooh! That Kiss
3-29-1934 London, England Decca
F-3954
Paradise Blues
(Walter Hirsch / Spencer Williams)
11-17-1916 New York, New York Victor
18152-A
Poor Little Me
(Davis)
1-21-1922 New York, New York Columbia
A3593
Rose Of The Rio Grande
(Warren / Gorman)
11-1922 New York, New York Brunswick
2370-B
Runnin' Wild
(Joe Grey / Leo Wood / A. Harrington Gibbs)
2-28-1923 New York, New York Brunswick
2410-A
Send Back My Honeyman
(Lou Handman)
6-21-1922 New York, New York Columbia
A3659
Singin' The Blues
(Sam Lewis / Joe Young / Con Conrad / J. Russel Robinson)
8-2-1934 London, England Decca
F-5160
Some Sunny Day
(Irving Berlin)
3-15-1922 New York, New York Columbia
A3593
Somebody Loves Me
From George White's "Scandals"

(Buddy De Sylva / George Gershwin)
10-1924 New York, New York Brunswick
2735-A
Someone Else Walked Right In
(Irving Berlin)
6-1923 New York, New York Brunswick
2458-A
Some Sweet Day
(Ed Rose / Tony Jackson / Abe Olman)
7-12-1917 New York, New York Victor
18343-B
Spring Is Here Again 6-2-1932 London, England Columbia
DB-851
Stealing To Virginia
(Gus Kahn / Walter Donaldson)
8-1922 New York, New York Brunswick
2310-A
St. Louis Blues
(W.C. Handy)
4-16-1920 New York, New York Columbia
A2944
St. Louis Blues
Saxophone Passage by Bennie Krueger

(W.C. Handy)
2-1923 New York, New York Brunswick
2395-B
St Louis Gal
(J. Russel Robinson)
10-6-1923 New York, New York Brunswick
2552-B
Sweet Mamma (Papa's Getting Mad)
(Rose / Little / Frost)
8-31-1920 New York, New York Columbia
A3300
Sweet Cookie
(Le Claire)
7-25-1921 New York, New York Columbia
A3457
Sweet Indiana Home
with Isham Jones' Orchestra

(Walter Donaldson)
8-1922 New York, New York Brunswick
2310-A
Tain't Nuthin' Else
(Benny Davis / Lester Santley)
6-15-1923 New York, New York Brunswick
2470-B
Take Me To The Land of Jazz
(Edgar Leslie / Bert Kalmar / Pete Wendling)
6-11-1919 Camden, New Jersey Victor
18593-B
Tea For Two
From "No, No Nanette

(Irving Caesar / Vincent Youmans)
11-1924 New York, New York Brunswick
2747-A
That Red Head Gal
(Gus Van / Joseph Schenk / Henry Lodge)
4-26-1923 New York, New York Brunswick
2734-B
There's a Lump of Sugar Down in Dixie
(Alfred Bryan / Jack Yellen / Albert Gumble)
6-18-1918 Camden, New Jersey Victor
18482-A
There'll Be Some Changes Made
(Higgins / Overstreet)
6-1924 New York, New York Brunswick
2651-B
The Blues Have Got Me
(Turk / Silver)
11-1924 New York, New York Brunswick
2747-B
The Man I Love
(From "Strike Up The Band")

(Ira Gershwin / George Gershwin)
12-8-1927 Chicago, Illinois Victor
21116-B
The Memphis Blues
(Norton - Founded on Handy's Blue Melody)
3-2-1921 New York, New York Columbia
A3474
They Go Wild, Simply Wild, Over Me
(Joe McCarthy / Fred Fisher)
7-12-1917 New York, New York Victor
18343-A
Two-Time Dan
(Roy Turk / J. Russel Robinson)
4-26-1923 New York, New York Brunswick
2734-A
Waitin' For The Evenin' Mail
(Billy Baskette)
5-21-1923 New York, New York Brunswick
2443-B
Wanted "Someone To Love"
(Gene Austin / Irving Mills / Jimmy McHugh)
8-1924 New York, New York Brunswick
2672-A
Wasn't It Nice? 5-1930 New York, New York Brunswick
4806
When Alexander Takes His Ragtime Band to France
(Alfred Bryan / Cliff Hess / Edgar Leslie)
6-18-1918 Camden, New Jersey Victor
18486-A
When I Hear That Jazz Band Play
(From Ziegfeld's "Midnight Frolic")

(Gene Buck / David Stamper)
7-18-1917 New York, New York Victor
18398-B
When You And I Were Seventeen
(Kahn / Rosoff)
4-1925 New York, New York Brunswick
2836-B
When You Walked Out
(Irving Berlin)
6-15-1923 New York, New York Brunswick
2458
Where Is My Daddy Now Blues
(Motzam / Olman)
10-6-1920 New York, New York Columbia
A3371
Who Cares?
(Jack Yellen / Milton Ager)
10-1922 New York, New York Brunswick
2361-B
Who'll Take My Place?
(Fazioli)
5-11-1922 New York, New York Columbia
A3630
Who's Sorry Now?
(Bert Kalmar / Harry Ruby / Ted Snyder)
5-1923 New York, New York Brunswick
2443-A
Why Couldn't It Be Poor Little Me?
(Gus Kahn / Isham Jones)
1-1925 New York, New York Brunswick
2784-B
Would You Like To Take A Walk? 3-17-1931 London, England Columbia
DB-453
Yankee
(George Gershwin)
11-29-1920 New York, New York Columbia
A3383
You Do Something To Me 5-1930 New York, New York Brunswick
4806
You've Got To See Mamma Every Night
(Billy Rose / Con Conrad)
3-1-1923 New York, New York Brunswick
2410-B
Your Mama's Gonna Slow You Down
(Bud Cooper / Gilbert Wells)
10-19-1923 New York, New York Brunswick
2513-A
Orchestra
Isham Jones Orchestra (Brunswick 2309)
Rosario Bourdon Orchestra
Eddie King Orchestra
Joseph Pasternack Orchestra
Prince's Band
Carl Fenton Orchestra
Billy Mason and his Café de Paris Orchestra
other unknown studio orchestras
Title Director Year
Marion Harris, Songbird Of Jazz Metro-Movietone Short 1928
Devil-May-Care Sidney Franklin 1929
Gems of M-G-M MGM Short 1930
Trouble Ahead Monty Banks 1936