‘Kicked around for eight years‘ with roaming titles — “You’re the Flower of My Heart,” “Sweet Rosalie” — the iconic barbershop lovers’ lament standard that became known as “Sweet Adeline,” in its instrumental form, was written by a prize fighter of all sensitive people in 1886 by Harry Armstrong.
It wasn’t until 1903 that a lyricist he met a few years earlier, Richard H. Gerard, had the gumption to put ‘Adeline’ in the mix, inspired by a poster he saw advertising the “farewell performance of Adelina Patti,” a famous Italian opera singer of the times.
Still without traction on the harmony circuit, Gerard and Armstong had to wait the better half of the year before Philadelphia’s Quaker City Four stumbled upon the song at Witmark publishing house — Gerard’s home — and took it large on this day at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City. Ever since, it has been considered the grandfather of the genre, whereupon four dudes get their cathartics on in suspender-strap pull and porkpie hat unison.
Sweet Adeline (Sweet Adeline)
My Adeline ( My Adeline)
At night dear heart (At night dear heart)
For you I pine (For you I pine)
In all my dreams (In all my dreams)
Your fair face beams (Your fair face beams)
You’re the flower of my heart, Sweet Adeline