Hard Hearted Hannah (The Vamp of Savannah)

Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald Buy

About Hard Hearted Hannah (The Vamp of Savannah)

”Hard Hearted Hannah, the Vamp of Savannah” is a popular song with words by Jack Yellen, Bob Bigelow, and Charles Bates, and music by Milton Ager. The song was published in June 1924 by Ager, Yellen & Bornstein, Inc., New York. “Hard Hearted Hannah” tells in humorous fashion the story of a "vamp" or femme fatale from Savannah, Georgia "the meanest gal in town." Hannah is "a gal who loves to see men suffer." Popularized by vocalist Margaret Young, it also had early recordings by vocalists Lucille Hegamin and Dolly Kay, Vernon Dalhart in 1924, Herb Wiedoeft's band (1924) and by Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra. A quarter century later Peggy Lee revived "Hannah" very successfully for Capitol Records, and the Ray Charles Singers made a hit version for Decca. The song has been recorded numerous times by such performers as Patti Austin, Belle Baker, The Bronson Singers, The Buffalo Bills, Jim Croce, Bobby Darin, Cliff "Ukulele Ike" Edwards, Ella Fitzgerald, Sue Keller, Stacey Kent, Julie London, Joyce Moody, Turk Murphy, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Nancy Sinatra, Kay Starr, Pat Suzuki, The Temperance Seven, Toni Tennille, Mary Testa, Sophie Tucker and Margaret Whiting. Memorable television or film performances of the song include those by Carol Burnett, Peggy Lee, Dorothy Loudon, Ella Fitzgerald (on Pete Kelly's Blues), and Beatrice Arthur on Maude and The Golden Girls. The song was performed by vampire Bill Compton (played by Stephen Moyer) in the sixth episode of the second season of the HBO show True Blood, also called Hard-Hearted Hannah; Dolly Kay's recording of the song plays over the final credits. It is known that the Soviet poet Vladimir Mayakovsky was fond of this song. He heard it during his first trip to the United States and later referred to it in his influential essay How to Make Poems. He also asked his friend, the translator Rita Rait-Kovaleva, to translate the song for him, but due to his heavy accent, she couldn't understand a word of what he was singing. In season 1 of American Idol, contestant Nikki McKibbin sang this song in the finals where she ended up in the Bottom 3. 


Year:
1955
443 Views

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In old Savannah, I said Savannah
The weather there is nice and warm
The climate's of a Southern brand
But here's what I don't understand

They got a gal there, a pretty gal there
Who's colder than an arctic storm
Got a heart just like a stone
Even ice men leave her alone

They call her Hard-Hearted Hannah
The Vamp of Savannah, the meanest gal in town
Leather is tough, but Hannah's heart is tougher
She's a gal who loves to see men suffer

To tease them and thrill them, to torture and kill them
Is her delight, they say; I saw her at the seashore with a great big pan
There was Hannah, pouring water on a drowning man
She's Hard-Hearted Hannah, the Vamp of Savannah, GA

They call her Hard-Hearted Hannah
The Vamp of Savannah, the meanest gal in town
Talk of your cold, refrigerating mamas
Brother, she's the polar bear's pajamas

To tease them and thrill them, to torture and kill them
Is her delight; they say an evening spent with Hannah sitting on your knees
Is like traveling through Alaska in your B-V-D's
She's Hard-Hearted Hannah, the Vamp of Savannah, GA

Can you imagine a woman as cold as Hannah?
She's got the right name, the Vamp of Savannah
Anytime a woman can take a great big pan
Start pouring water on a drowning man
She's Hard-Hearted Hannah, the Vamp of Savannah, GA

Oh, she's sweet as sour milk

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Peggy Lee

Peggy Lee (May 26, 1920 – January 21, 2002) was an American jazz and popular music singer, songwriter, composer, and actress in a career spanning six decades. From her beginning as a vocalist on local radio to singing with Benny Goodman's big band, she forged a sophisticated persona, evolving into a multi-faceted artist and performer. She wrote music for films, acted, and created conceptual record albums—encompassing poetry, jazz, chamber pop, and art songs. more »

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Written by: BOB BIGELOW, CHARLES BATES, JACK YELLEN, MILTON AGER

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

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