What Good Does It Do

Jamaica
PROFILE
Composer Harold Arlen
Lyricist E.Y. “Yip” Harburg
Year Written 1957
About What Good Does It Do
“What Good Does It Do” was written for the Broadway musical Jamaica, which starred Lena Horne and Ricardo Montálban; the principal dancer was Alvin Ailey. Yarburg had been blacklisted during the McCarthy period and was unable to work in film or TV from 1951 to 1962. Fortunately, producer David Merrick and Broadway welcomed Yarburg. Jamaica was nominated for major Tony Awards, including Best Musical, all the acting nominations and both scenic and costume design, though it lost to The Music Man.

Lyrics

The Sun is full of liquor
The Earth is full of wine
Crickets doin’ nip-ups
Brown the columbine
The feeling is infectious
June is everywhere
Hearts, light and windy
‘Cause Spring is in the air

Although what good does it do a guy
To know that June is in the sky
What good to know
That there are birds and bees
Composin’ beautiful calypsos
In the eucalyptus trees
It’s strange, but sad
When love go bad
The Spring that once come to tickle us
Now add up to re-dic-ulas

And so I say
What good is April or June or May
What good are sonnets in the Spring
That you sing
Or cherries in the trees
That you see
Or lilies in the dell
That you smell
When you’re all alone
With June in the sky
What good does it do
Does it do a guy

The smell in the dell
The rose in your hair
The thrillin’ spell
And the whole mir-a-kell
Of the Moon in the velvet sky
What good does it do
Does it do, does it do a guy.

Session / Album Information

1960

This song was recorded on August 18, 1960 and released in 1960 on the album Tony Bennett Sings a String of Harold Arlen.

This recording released on:

  • 1960: Columbia LP 12″: CS 8359 — A String Of Harold Arlen
  • 1960: Columbia LP 12″ (Mono): CL 1559 — A String Of Harold Arlen
  • 1960:  Philips LP 12″ (Mono): BBL 7455 — Sings A String Of Harold Arlen (UK)
  • Sony Music CD: SMSP A 8359 — A String Of Harold Arlen
  • 1990: CBS/Sony CD: CSCS-5244 — Sings A String Of Harold Arlen [Japan]
  • 1990: Columbia House Music Collection CD: C22 8015 — The Great American Composers: Harold Arlen
  • 1993: Sony Music Special Products CD: 15056 — Tony Bennett Sings for You
  • 2011: Disc #18 in The Tony Bennett Complete Collection (88697874602-JK18) Tony Bennett Sings a String of Harold Arlen

1962

“What Good Does It Do” was recorded live at Tony Bennett’s concert at Carnegie Hall on June 9, 1962 and was initially released in 1962 on the album Tony Bennett at Carnegie Hall. Ralph Sharon arranged the song.

This recording released on:

  • 1962: CBS LP 12″: BPG62116 — At Carnegie Hall – Part 2 (UK)
  • 1962: Columbia LP 12″: C2L 23 — Tony Bennett At Carnegie Hall
  • 1962: Columbia LP 12″: C2S 823 — Tony Bennett At Carnegie Hall
  • 1993: Sony Music Special Products CD: 15056 — Tony Bennett Sings for You
  • 1995:  Sony Music CD: WK 75012 — Tony Bennett At Carnegie Hall
  • 1997: Columbia CD: C2K 64609 — At Carnegie Hall June 9, 1962: Complete Concert
  • 2011: Disc #24 in The Tony Bennett Complete Collection (88697874602-JK24) Tony Bennett at Carnegie Hall

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