Poor Butterfly

Composer Raymond Hubbell
Lyricist John Golden
Year Written 1916
About Poor Butterfly
“Poor Butterfly” was inspired by Giacomo Puccini’s opera, Madame Butterfly; the verse references the Puccini melody briefly.The song was written for a 1916 Broadway show called The Big Show, where it was introduced by Sophie Bernard.


There’s a story told of a little Japanese
Sitting demurely ‘neath the cherry blossom trees
Miss Butterfly her name, a sweet little innocent child was she
Till a fine young American from the sea, to her garden came

They met ‘neath the cherry blossoms every day
And he taught her how to love in the American way
To love with a soul was easy to learn
And he sailed away with a promise to return

Poor Butterfly, ‘neath the blossoms waiting
Poor Butterfly, for she loved him so
The moments pass into hours, the hours pass into years
And there she smiled through her tears, she murmured low

The moon and I knew that he’d be faithful
She knew he’d come to a by and by
But if he n’er came back, she’d never sigh or cry
She just would die, poor Butterfly

But if he n’er came back, she’d never sigh or cry
She just would die, poor Butterfly

Session / Album Information


This song was recorded on February 29, 1960 and released in 1950 on the album Alone Together.

This recording released on:

  • 1960: Columbia LP 12″: CS 8262 — Alone Together
  • 1960: Columbia LP 12″ (Mono): CL 1471 — Alone Together
  • 1960: Philips LP 12″: BBL 7452 — Alone Together (UK)
  • 1990: CBS/Sony CD: 32DP-568 — Alone Together [Japan]
  • 2011: Disc #17 in The Tony Bennett Complete Collection (88697874602-JK17) Alone Together


“Poor Butterfly” was recorded in July 1995 and released that year on Here’s To The Ladies.  The song is in tribute to Sarah Vaughan. It was arranged and conducted by Jorge Calandrelli.

This recording released on:

  • 1995: Columbia CD: CK 67349 — Here’s To The Ladies   (1995)
  • 1996: Columbia CD: SRCS-7936 — Here’s To The Ladies [Japan]
  • 2011: Disc #62 in The Tony Bennett Complete Collection (88697874602-JK60) Here’s To The Ladies

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