“Little White Lies.” Music and words by Walter Donaldson (1930). Recorded in London c. September 10, 1930 by Elsie Carlisle under the musical direction of Jay Wilbur (Imperial 2346).
Personnel probably Jack Miranda-cl-ts / Eric Siday-vn / vn / Harry Jacobson-p-cel / Len Fillis-g
Video by hawkmoon03111951 (YouTube)
Prolific composer Walter Donaldson, also known for such jazz standards as “Makin’ Whoopee,” “My Baby Just Cares for Me,” and “My Blue Heaven,” published “Little White Lies” in 1930, and it became an instant hit. Initially recorded by Fred Waring’s Pennsylvanians, the song saw countless American recordings within months, including by such noted female vocalists as Marion Harris, Lee Morse, and Annette Hanshaw (“That’s all!”).
“Little White Lies” saw equal attention that year in Britain. Notable recordings were made by the Rhythmic Eight and the Rhythm Maniacs (both with Maurice Elwin as vocalist), Harry Hudson’s Radio Melody Boys (Sam Browne, vocalist), Jack Hylton and His Orchestra (Pat O’Malley, vocalist), Bert Madison’s Dance Orchestra (directed by Nat Star, with Cavan O’Connor as vocalist), and Jay Wilbur and His Band (vocals by Jack Plant). Jay Wilbur was, of course, the musical director at Imperial at the time, so he would have overseen Elsie Carlisle’s recording the previous month.
Sir Paul McCartney has reported that “Little White Lies” was John Lennon’s favorite childhood song, and that this was a fondness that they shared, but it is assumed that it was the 1947 Dick Haymes version that they were familiar with.