Although Jenkins had written "Goodbye" in 1934, he hadn't pursued publishing it or writing an arrangement. While working with the Jones band in New York he had become friendly with clarinetist Benny Goodman. When Goodman's band was hired by NBC in 1934 to perform on the "Let's Dance" radio program, Benny needed a closing theme. While with Jenkins one day, he mentioned this, asking if Gordon might have a composition he could use. Jenkins sat down at the piano and played a few bars of "Goodbye." Goodman was ecstatic, remarking, "That's it!" Jenkins scored an arrangement for Benny, and it was introduced on the first "Let's Dance" program. Much to Jenkins' surprise it made the hit parade in 1936, his first composition to do so.
I was a long time friend of Gordon¡Çs. He originally wrote "Goodbye" to his first wife who died on the operating table giving birth to his first child. The baby also died. It was published 4 years later when he gave it to Benny Goodman, one of his tennis partners. One day, after playing, Benny asked Gordy if he had anything he, Benny, could use as a theme--the rest, as they say, is musical history.
I'll never forget you. I'll never forget you. I'll never forget how we promised one day, To love one another forever that way. We said we'd never say, "Good-bye."
But that was long ago. Now you've forgotten, I know. No use to wonder why. Let's say farewell with a sigh. Let love die.
But we'll go on living, Our own way of living. So you take the high road and I'll take the low. It's time that we parted, It's much better so. But kiss me as you go. Good-bye.