Saturday, June 4, 2011

"Bye, Bye, Blackbird"

OK, back to the 20's: Ray Henderson and Mort Dixon penned this feel-good jazz standard in '26 (the year my Mom was born). That same year it was recorded three times - Gene Austin (#1), Nick Lucas (#4) and Eddie Cantor, spending 18 weeks on the charts. There's speculation about the theme - some say it's about a prostitute leaving "the life" and returning home to her mother while others believe it is about the pleasures of returning home to a loving and understanding sweetheart. Re-popularized in '55 by the Jack Webb movie "Pete Kelly's Blues", set in the 20's, with vocals by Peggy Lee. Next year Miles Davis made it a jazz classic on his "Round About Midnight" album. John Coltrane's '81 version won the Grammy for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance. Joe Cocker's cover appears in "Sleepless In Seattle", Diana Krall's in "Public Enemies" and Lou Rawls sang in on "The Muppet Show".

Yesterday's answer: "The Longest Time" by Billy Joel. One of his best!

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