Louis Alter: I love the way you’re breaking my heart

Written by Efraín Solís


In category: Song of the Day

Published March 18, 2019

We start this week on a very easy, light hearted note. Originally written in 1951 by Louis Alter with words by Milton Drake, I discovered “I love the way…” with this exact performance. Not only are the words and music wonderfully quirky, I think Rachael Price is one of the best voices I’ve heard. She really knows how do seduce you with her phrasing. There’s an instrumental, almost brassy, quality that really attracts me and she has the ability of flipping it completely becoming very smooth and velvety. Genius! She’s now lead singer of the band Lake Street Dive —which I also love. They have a more modern funk style that is so much fun. She started as a jazz vocalist and she stretches those muscles here. Some would describe this as easy listening, but I can’t imagine doing anything else once she starts singing.

select author’s name to read all of their posts

Baritone Efraín Solís is a recent graduate of the San Francisco Opera Adler Fellowship program, known for his “theatrical charisma and musical bravado.” He will join soprano Corinne Winters in García Lorca: Muse and Magician on April 24, 2019 at Merkin Hall in NYC.

1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    It may have been published in 1951, but it’s a classic vaudeville song. Both Alter and Drake worked in vaudeville in the 20s when they were first starting out; Alter as pit pianist, Drake as a boy singer and writer. This is the perfect song for the house thrush to come out and sing with the pit band while they changed the sets for the next sketch behind the scrim.

    Of course, in 1951 the pop music world was going through a transformative limbo, as jump blues had not yet become rock and roll, while bebop was hijacking jazz. This tune sank without a trace at the time. My inside midnight guess is that Alter and Drake, working out of 1619 Broadway, cranked it out either by polishing an old vaudeville number, or simply leaning on the conventions of the idiom with which they were so intimately familiar.

    We’ll never know, at this point, its true provenance, but both of these authors were born at the turn of the last century, and were working the blue collar theater circuit that died at the intersection of radio and the Great Depression. This song could be a hundred years old!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *