It Could Happen To You

| Updated on July 30, 2020

This is one of my favorite jazz standards a very popular song by Jimmy van Heusen and Johnny Burke “It Could Happen To You”.

The song was introduced by Fred MacMurray and Dorothy Lamour in the Paramount film And the Angels Sing (1944).  It was recorded many times and it is loved by singers and players equally.

It Could Happen to You

Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke


The song was recorded by numerous famous singers such as Anita O’Day, Julie London, Lena Horne, Peggy Lee,  Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington, Shirley Bassey, Doris Day and Rosemary Clooney, Barbra Streisand, Perry Como, Nat King Cole,  Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra.

Even some pop singers like Robert Palmer, Barry Manilow and Art Garfunkel recorded it.

There are dozens of instrumental versions. Here are some of the  most noticeable:

Miles Davis, Buddy DeFranco, Sonny Rollins, Chet Baker, Dexter Gordon, Red Garland, Erroll Garner, Bud Powell, Ahmad Jamal, Sonny Clark, Dave Brubeck, Keith Jarrett and more.

You might notice so many piano players love to play this song (and it is not surprising). That is probably because of the lush harmony and various possibilities in the harmonization of the melody.

Playing The Song

It Could Happen to You has nice lyrics, beautiful melody and chord progression. All of this makes it a great tool for harmonization and improvisation.

Here is a little demonstration of It Could Happen to You from one of my lessons.

I will break it down and show you what did I do there. Meanwhile, you can try to copy and find your way of playing the song.

Here is the lead sheet with the lyrics that I have made.



Alec is a jazz pianist, composer, arranger and educator from Tel Aviv. He loves playing, writing, teaching and learning music. Alec has built his website and he loves sharing his knowledge, experience and musical ideas and content.

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