This page is dedicated to information regarding his musical abilities and career.
For information on Danny's voice, ability, and songs...keep reading.

Danny had a beautiful baritone voice and an incredible ability to rattle off fast-paced, detailed lyrics. Some might think of Danny as only an actor. I like what Jim Murray writes in an LA Times article: "Danny Kaye is not just an anything. Danny Kaye was never just a dancer, just a singer, or an entertainer, actor, chef or comedian." ["True Blue and Knows History, Too," LA Times, April 22, 1986]

Danny had many talents; one of those was singing. He came out with a good number of albums and sang many songs at his live performances. Just take a look below at the Song List and you might be surprised just how many songs Danny sang throughout his career.

His Voice & Ability           Anatole of Paris           Stanislavsky           Tschaikovsky            Farming
Melody in 4-F            Minnie the Moocher             Little Child           Miscellaneous            Song List

His Voice & Ability

Time Magazine has a wonderful article from March 11, 1946 which describes the variety of songs that Danny had sung up until that point in time. After explaining the various songs, the journalist proceeded to describe Danny's voice: "These vocal varieties call for a versatile voice. Danny has it. It is a high baritone, with a two-octave range. He can impersonate an Italian baritone, bleat like an Irish tenor, mimic a coloratura soprano (almost reaching high C) or plead like a Slavic gypsy singer with basso profundo and schmalz." Another article (May 17, 1944) said, "With an amazing vocal range, he sings operatic arias on any and all occasions, especially in the shower, and can mimic all the famous singers from Robson to Pons."

Max Liebman, a writer, producer, and director, partnered with Danny and Sylvia for 4 years. He explained that "in those days Danny seriously believed he was a great singer. Today he is, but not then." But Liebman said he saw the potential in Danny. "Since Danny insisted he wanted to be a singer and had a voice range that was rare for a comedian, I let him sing Irish and Yiddish folk songs at first, but we soon changed the pace into comedy. [...] I was amazed at this vocal variety of speech and song--wide extremes from soft to loud, from slow to fast." (The Danny Kaye Story pg 69)

Interviewers must have asked him frequently about his ability to scat sing. "He gave us a demonstration of scat-singing today but couldn’t explain it. He just sort of gets up and opens his mouth and lets a flock of syllables fly. 'I have no more idea what I say than you do,' said Kaye when he sat down." While many of Danny's fans loved his fast-paced, scat singing, Danny explained that "a number of Gilbert and Sullivan singers" had been talking that fast for years; he admitted that he didn't understand what was so wonderful when he did it. (September 11, 1948) While it is true that most anyone could sing fast-paced lyrics, like Danny, if they merely applied themselves, there is definitely something wonderful about the way Danny did it. It wasn't just his talent and ability, it was the charm, the elegance, and the innocence he exuded on stage...something that cannot be mimicked by others. It was all this wrapped up in the form of the handsome Danny Kaye that made him special!

Anatole of Paris

This song, written by Sylvia Fine Kaye, was originally first performed at Camp Tamiment in Bushkill, PA in 1939. It was also used later that year in Danny's first Broadway production, Straw Hat Revue, which ran for 10 weeks that year. A revised version was written and added into The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947).  [Koenig, David. Danny Kaye: King of Jesters. Pg 43, 45]


Written by Sylvia Fine Kaye, this song was first performed at the nightclub, La Martinique, in the early '40s before Danny made his second Broadway appearance in Lady in the Dark.


This was one of the first songs that left audience members awestruck and gave Danny his first taste at immense popularity. A song written by Ira Gershwin (lyrics) and Kurt Weill (music), it contained a list of fifty-some Russian names and was rattled off, by Danny, in approximately 40 seconds. Amazingly, he memorized this song in only one afternoon, which just goes to show how spectacular his memory was! The first performance was in the Broadway production Lady in the Dark.

From the Biography Part 1
Danny's part within
Lady in the Dark was a small one, but after he finished singing "Tschaikowsky," the audience went wild! Columnist Billy Rose describes it like this: "The lyrics of 'Tschaikowsky' were too hot to be cooled off, and Kaye had too much of what it takes not to give. When he finished the funny tongue-twister, the crowd applauded for two solid minutes—practically a lifetime in the theater. The distressed Danny tried to shush the audience, but this was mistaken by the customers for modesty and they clapped all the louder." (February 27, 1948)

"Tschaikovsky" was indeed a showstopper and to hear it for the first time is truly amazing. Though it was usually sung in 40 seconds, Danny said that he could sing it faster. (December 1941) In fact, he did this during his appearance on his wife's Musical Comedy Tonight II where he sung it in an amazing 31 seconds!

It is also interesting to note that, according to a February 5, 1981 article, Sylvia Fine's song "Pavlova" was a possible inspiration for Ira Gershwin in digging up the song "Tschaikovsky" for Danny: "One of her numbers, 'Pavlova,' which consisted of a series of complex Russian ballet dancers’ names sung rapidly, inspired Ira Gershwin to dig his Russian composers’ number out of his trunk for Danny to sing in 'Lady in the Dark.'”


"Farming" was written by Cole Porter and included in his musical Let's Face It starring Danny Kaye and Eve Arden. It is described in a February 5, 1981 article as a song that "catalogued the top Who’s Who of America who were indulging in “Farming” as part of the newly declared war effort." Sylvia recalled that she approached Cole Porter and told him that she wasn't sure her husband would be willing to sing some of the lyrics because they "were too dirty." A couple of those lines included: "Dear Mae West is at her best in the hay" and "Don't inquire of Georgie Raft, why his cow has never calved, Georgie's bull is beautiful but he's gay." (Not necessarily dirty by 21st century standards, but certainly a bit bolder for the early 1940s!) In the article, Sylvia explained that Cole Porter asked her to rewrite any lyrics that she felt Danny would not sing. He was so impressed with her rewrites that he asked her to write some additional songs for Danny for the musical.

While I am not sure if or what Sylvia rewrote in this particular song, you can hear Danny sing Cole Porter's original version (including the above italicized lyrics) by doing a search on the internet. To read the entire lyrics of Cole Porter's song, visit this page. And for more information on Let's Face It, this particular page is an excellent one.

Melody in 4F

Written by Sylvia Fine Kaye and Max Liebman, "Melody in 4-F" is another song which shot Danny to popularity. For Let's Face It, a Cole Porter Broadway musical, Sylvia had been "commissioned to write the songs for all of Danny's special numbers." (The Danny Kaye Story pg 96) It was also used in Danny's first film, Up in Arms. The song is about a young man who is drafted into the army. There aren't many lyrics to follow, however; instead it consists mainly of scat singing with Danny pantomiming various actions.

In The Danny Kaye Story Sylvia explained how she came up with the idea for "Melody in 4-F"
Sylvia had been trying to come up with a song but was having little success. ""I was progressing very slowly,' Sylvia recalls, 'when one night I remembered a silly bit of improvisation Danny had once done at a dinner party. Our host, a doctor, was called away to perform a very delicate emergency operation. My medicine-happy husband begged to be allowed to accompany him. When they returned someone asked Danny how the operation went, and he answered them by going into an elaborate pantomime, punctuated by scat and a few intelligible words.
"'This memory started an idea. It was the first year after our entrance into the war. Every man--and every woman--had the draft uppermost in his mind. The draft, medical examinations, doctors . . . .
"'In approved movie style, I woke Danny up with a loud, "I've got it!" and scrambled out of bed to wake up poor Max with a phone call.'" (pg 97)

Sylvia continued: "'[...] If you think I know what all that gibberish is in between, you are wrong. I can't even say it, much less write it. That is where the cooperation of Danny himself is invaluable to the creation of a number."' (pg 98)

On opening night, Danny was afraid he hadn't done the song justice. "Still perturbed after the curtain, he ran backstage and, amidst all the cheering and applause, blurted out, 'Syl, I loused up your song--didn't I?'" But Danny and Sylvia, both assuming the song had not gone off well, were wrong. The audience loved it! Let's Face It "was a smash hit on Broadway for sixteen months." (pg 100)

Minnie the Moocher

This song became one of Danny's standards at performances and was used as an audience participation number. Danny would sing a small verse then rattle off various sounds and allow the audience to echo him. An amusing story was related by Danny to a journalist regarding one of his performances at the Walter Reed hospital in the early '40s. He had gone through most of his performance without being able to solicit a reaction from the general. None of the other officers dared react if their general wasn't. "He was two-thirds through 'Minnie' when the singing volume leaped up as though somebody had turned on the amplifiers full blast. Danny, startled, stopped singing, looked around, and what he saw nearly passed him out. The general was on his feet singing 'Minnie the Moocher' at the top of his lungs and every other officer in the party was accompanying him, their faces wreathed in smiles." (September 4, 1943)

Little Child

In the mid-'50s, Danny's daughter, Dena, recorded a duet with her father. "'How do you like the record?' Danny asked when the finished product was played back. 'I don't like it at all,' replied Dena with the same critical judgment she displays toward her father's pictures. 'I think I sound better off the record than on it.' 'She is really twenty-four, and not ten,' commented Danny out of her hearing. 'She doesn't fool me for a minute.'" (The Danny Kaye Story pg 212)


In 1965, the album Great Songs of Christmas, Volume 5 was released. It contained songs by a variety of artists, including Danny. He contributed the 2 carols "O Come All Ye Faithful" and "The First Noel." Check out this link for images and info. These two songs can by found on the Internet for download if one does a detailed search. Danny also sung another Christmas song, "Deck the Halls," and was released at some point in his career. This song is also available for download.

Song List

I'm quite sure this list is by no means comprehensive!
If you're wanting to hear or purchase some of Danny's music, search the Internet for MP3 downloads. Amazon, for instance, offers a lot of MP3s.

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Accentuate the Positive
All About You
Anatole of Paris
Anywhere I Wander
The Babbitt and the Bromide
Bali Boogie
Ballin’ the Jack
Bathtub Admiral
Beatin’ Bangin’ ‘n Scratchin’
Begin the Beguine
The Best Things Happen When You’re Dancing
Bloop Bleep
Civilization (Bongo Bongo Bongo)
Colored Kisses
Crazy Barbara
Don’t Tickle Me
The Fairy Pipers
The First Noel
The Five Pennies
The Frim Fram Sauce
Good Old 149
The Gypsy Drinking Song
Happy Times
Hula Lou
I’m Five
I’m Hans Christian Andersen
I’m Hiding
I’m Late
I Belong to Glasgow
I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts
I Taut I Taw a Putty-tat
Jenny (aka The Saga of Jenny)
Just Imagine
The Kings New Clothes
Knock on Wood
Laugh It Off Upsy Daisy
Let’s Not Talk About Love
Life Could Not Better Be
Little Child (aka Daddy Dearest) (with Dena Kaye)

The Little Fiddle
The Little White Duck
Lobby Number (aka Manic-Depressive Presents)
Mad Dogs and Englishmen
Madam I Love Your Crepe Suzette
The Maladjusted Jester
McNamara’s Band
Melody in 4F
Minnie the Moocher
Molly Malone
Mommy Gimme a Drink of Water
The Music Goes Round and Round
The New Baby
No Two People
Not Since Nineveh
O Come All Ye Faithful
Oh by Jingo!
Outfox the Fox
Pass the Basket
Playing on the Seesaw
The Peony Bush
The Policeman’s Song
Popo the Puppet
The Puddle
St. Louis Blues
Soliloquy For Three Heads
Symphony for Unstrung Tongue
Tschaikovsky and Other Russians
The Thank You Letter
There’s a Hole in the Bottom of the Sea
Tongue Twisters
Tubby the Tuba
The Ugly Duckling
Uncle Pockets
When the Saints Go Marching In
The Walrus and the Carpenter
Wonderful Copenhagen
Willow Willow Walley
Yakov’s Golden Elixir
The Woody Woodpecker