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10 Clips: End of a Love Affair

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Here's what we know: The End of a Love Affair was composed by Edward “E.C. or Bud" Redding and published in 1950. That's it. There's virtually nothing about Redding's career online or the purpose of the song. So I rolled up my sleeves and discovered that it was likely written for a New York cabaret or musical revue.

In Julius Monk's book, Baker's Dozen (1964), the author's bio says Monk “founded the first repertory group in Provincetown summer stock and then went on to found the Downstairs Room in New York, followed by Upstairs at the Downstairs and the Plaza 9 Club at New York's Plaza Hotel." Inside, he refers to Redding: “Thanks to days of rehearsals, $700 and superhuman achievements from composer-pianists E.C. Redding and Bud McCreery, we opened Stock in Trade on July 10 for a highly successful seven-week season."

I also discovered that Redding died in New York in 1984 at age 68 and that “he composed for Julie Wilson, Jane Morgan, Martha Wright, Jane Pickens, Herb Shriner and others." All spent time as cabaret and musical revue singers. So more than likely, The End of a Love Affair originally was written for one of these revues or for a specific cabaret singer appearing at places like New York's Maisonette or the Blue Angel, where it was then heard by a major recording artist shopping for new material.

Here are my 10 favorite versions:

Here's Helen Merrill with strings in 1955 (pre-dating Billie Holiday by three years), backed by pianist Hank Jones, guitarist Barry Galbraith, bassist Milt Hinton and drummer Sol Gubin, with strings arranged by Richard Hayman...



Here are the Jazz Messengers in 1956, featuring trumpeter Donald Byrd, tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley, pianist Horace Silver, bassist Doug Watkins and drummer Art Blakey...



Here's pianist George Wallington in 1957, with bassist Teddy Kotick and drummer Nick Stabulas...



Here's Dexter Gordon in 1961, from Dexter Calling, with pianist Kenny Drew, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Philly Joe Jones...



Here's pianist Walter Norris, guitarist Billy Bean and bassist Hal Gaylor in 1961, from The Trio...



Here's Julie London in 1963 from Love on the Rocks...



Here's Lorez Alexandria in 1963 from For Singers Only, backed by pianist John Young, guitarist George Eskridge, bassist Jimmy Garrison and drummer Philip Thomas...



Here's Sahib Shihab on flute in Germany in 1968 from Seeds, backed by Francy Boland on piano, Jimmy Woode on bass, Kenny Clarke on drums and Fats Sadi on bongos, with an arrangement by Boland...



Here's Tony Bennett in London in 1972 backed by the Robert Farnon Orchestra...



And here's Billie Holiday in 1958 from Lady in Satin, the finest recording of the song, arranged by Ray Ellis...

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
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