Prisoner of Love (Russ Columbo song)

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"Prisoner of Love" is a 1931 popular song with music by Russ Columbo and Clarence Gaskill and lyrics by Leo Robin.


Written in 1931, Leo Robin has related how publisher Con Conrad walked into his hotel room with Russ Columbo, and asked him to write words within the hour for a tune he had. Robin, who was on vacation, at first refused but Conrad explained that he wanted Columbo to demonstrate it to Flo Ziegfeld who needed a song for Helen Morgan in one of his shows. Robin then wrote the lyric, which he afterwards said he disliked, and the song was duly performed for Ziegfeld but he did not accept it.[1] Russ Columbo, however, sang it on his radio show and recorded it on October 9, 1931 for Victor Records[2] and it was very popular in 1932.[3] Columbo also sang it in the 1933 short film That Goes Double.[4] In 1946 the song became a major hit for Billy Eckstine, Perry Como and the Ink Spots.[5]

Billy Eckstine version

African-American crooner Billy Eckstine recorded his version with Duke Ellington on piano and Art Blakey on drums September 4, 1945. The record became a million seller and a No. 10 hit.[6]

Perry Como versions

Como's first recording was made on December 18, 1945 and released by RCA Victor as catalog number 20-1814-B. It first reached the Billboard magazine charts on March 30, 1946 and lasted 21 weeks on the chart, peaking at No. 1. The flip side was "All Through the Day".[7] This recording was re-released in 1949, by RCA Victor, as a 78rpm single (catalog number 20-3298-A) and a 45rpm single (catalog number 47-2886), with the flip side "Temptation." Billboard ranked it as the No. 1 song of the year for 1946.[8]

Como made two further recordings of the song: one in February 1946 for a V-Disc, number CS-656-B, and another in July 1970 in a live performance in Las Vegas, issued as a long-playing album (titled Perry Como in Person at the International Hotel, Las Vegas in its United States and United Kingdom releases, Perry Como in Person in its Japanese release, and Perry Como in Concert in its Dutch release).

The Como version was used on the soundtrack of the 1980 film Raging Bull.[9]

The Ink Spots version

This was recorded on March 18, 1946 for Decca Records (catalogue No. 18864)[10] and it spent 11 weeks in the USA charts, peaking at No. 9.[11]

James Brown version

"Prisoner of Love"
Single by James Brown
from the album Prisoner of Love
B-side "Choo-Choo (Locomotion)"
Released April 1963 (1963-04)
Format 7"
Recorded December 17, 1962, Bell Sound Studios, New York City, New York
Genre R&B, Soul
Length 2:24
Label King Records
  • James Brown
  • Hal Neely
James Brown charting singles chronology
"Every Beat of My Heart"
"Prisoner of Love"
"These Foolish Things"

James Brown revived "Prisoner of Love" in 1963. It charted No. 6 R&B and No. 18 Pop. The studio recording was arranged by Sammy Lowe.[12] Brown performed the song live with his vocal group, The Famous Flames, in the concert film T.A.M.I. Show and on a mid-1960s telecast of The Ed Sullivan Show. It also appears on many of his live albums.

Other notable recordings


  1. ^ Reynolds, Fred (1986). The Crosby Collection 1926-1977 (Part 4 - 1951-1960 ed.). Gateshead, UK: John Joyce. p. 164.
  2. ^ "THE ONLINE DISCOGRAPHICAL PROJECT". Retrieved June 12, 2017.
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1986). Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890-1954. Wisconsin, USA: Record Research Inc. p. 97. ISBN 0-89820-083-0.
  4. ^ "Internet Movie Database". Retrieved June 12, 2017.
  5. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1986). Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890-1954. Wisconsin, USA: Record Research Inc. p. 569. ISBN 0-89820-083-0.
  6. ^ Billy Eckstine, 'Mr B', ASV Mono, Living Era, 2001
  7. ^ "Perry Como Discography". Retrieved June 12, 2017.
  8. ^ "Number One Song of the Year: 1946-2015". Retrieved 2016-07-26.
  9. ^ "Internet Movie Database". Retrieved June 12, 2017.
  10. ^ "THE ONLINE DISCOGRAPHICAL PROJECT". Retrieved June 12, 2017.
  11. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1986). Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890-1954. Wisconsin, USA: Record Research Inc. p. 223. ISBN 0-89820-083-0.
  12. ^ Leeds, Alan, and Harry Weinger (1991). "Star Time: Song by Song". In Star Time (pp. 46–53) [CD booklet]. New York: PolyGram Records.
  13. ^ "THE ONLINE DISCOGRAPHICAL PROJECT". Retrieved June 12, 2017.
  14. ^ "Teddy Wilson Catalog". Retrieved June 12, 2017.
  15. ^ "". Retrieved June 12, 2017.
  16. ^ "". Retrieved June 12, 2017.
  17. ^ "". Retrieved June 12, 2017.
  18. ^ "". Retrieved June 12, 2017.
  19. ^ "". Retrieved June 12, 2017.

External links

  • AllMusic review of the James Brown recording
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