"What's the Use of Crying?" featured image. Detail from original sheet music.

“What’s the Use of Crying?” (1927)

“What’s the Use of Crying?” Lyrics by Verdi Kendel, music by Louis Forbstein (1926). Recorded by Elsie Carlisle, accompanied by violin and piano (the latter played by Arthur Young), on August 22, 1927. HMV B2579 mx. Bb11403-2.

“What’s the Use of Crying?” – Elsie Carlisle

This song’s lyricist is comparatively obscure; its composer, Louis Forbstein, would later change his surname to Forbes and gain some amount of fame as musical director for David O. Selznick films (including “Gone with the Wind”). “What’s the Use of Crying?” is a song of unrequited love that begins in a rather moody register but quickly becomes more upbeat as the tempo is twice ratcheted up and the singer professes to have acquired a spirit of resignation in the face of her troubles, asking, “What’s the use of crying just for someone like you?”

Elsie Carlisle’s is the only British recording of this song that I have discovered. It was in vogue in America in late 1926-early 1927, with versions by Lee Sims, Charley Straight’s Orchestra, Ted Weems, Bessie Coldiron (as “The Sunflower Girl”), Greta Woodson, Gypsy & Marta (unissued), Peggy English (as Jane Gray), Bob Haring’s Dixie Music Makers, Harry Raderman (Arthur Hall, vocalist), and Willard Robison (accompanying himself on the piano).

"What's the Use of Crying" sheet music
“What’s the Use of Crying” sheet music

3 thoughts on ““What’s the Use of Crying?” (1927)”

  1. Further to my comments on “He’s the Last Word” – the violinist here does sound like Hugo Rignold. Even more certain now that Eric Siday rather than Rignold plays on “He’s the Last Word”. So I think you are correct in the guess about the Melody Maker reviewer of both recordings not realising that they came from different recording sessions with different musicians accompanying Elsie. This sounds very much like Hugo Rignold on violin and Arthur Young on piano, where as on “He’s the Last Word” it is almost certainly Eric Siday on violin with Carroll Gibbons on piano (too many similarities in the pianistic ideas that were common in some of his other piano solos with the Savoy Orpheans at that time to be anyone else).

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"The Idol of the Radio." British dance band singer of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s.