Category Archives: USA-1930’s

Roll ‘Em – Música

Mary Lou Williams (born Mary Elfrieda Scruggs; May 8, 1910 – May 28, 1981) was an American jazz pianist, arranger, and composer. She wrote hundreds of compositions and arrangements and recorded more than one hundred records (in 78, 45, and LP versions). Williams wrote and arranged for Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman, and she was friend, mentor, and teacher to Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Tadd Dameron, Bud Powell, and Dizzy Gillespie.
– Career
…………… Benny Goodman asked her to write a blues song for his band. The result was “Roll ‘Em”, a boogie-woogie piece based on the blues, which followed her successful “Camel Hop”, named for Goodman’s radio show sponsor, Camel cigarettes. Goodman tried to put Williams under contract to write for him exclusively, but she refused, preferring to freelance instead.

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Benjamin David Goodman (May 30, 1909 – June 13, 1986), best known as Benny Goodman, was an American jazz clarinetist and bandleader known as the “King of Swing”.
– Partial discography
Roll ‘Em, Vol. 1 (1937, Columbia)
Roll ‘Em, Vol. 2 (1937, Columbia)

“Roll ‘Em” (1937) Benny Goodman

Roll ‘Em

Sing Sing Sing – Música

“Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing)” is a 1936 song, with music and lyrics by Louis Prima, who first recorded it with the New Orleans Gang. Brunswick Records released it on February 28, 1936[1] on the 78 rpm record format, with “It’s Been So Long” as the B-side. The song is strongly identified with the big band and swing eras. Several have performed the piece as an instrumental, including Fletcher Henderson and, most famously, Benny Goodman.

1938 HITS ARCHIVE: Sing Sing Sing – Benny Goodman (original Victor version)

Begin the Beguine – Música

“Begin the Beguine” is a popular song written by Cole Porter. Porter composed the song between Kalabahi, Indonesia, and Fiji during a 1935 Pacific cruise aboard Cunard’s ocean liner Franconia. In October 1935, it was introduced by June Knight in the Broadway musical Jubilee, produced at the Imperial Theatre in New York City.
–  Artie Shaw version:
At first, the song gained little popularity, perhaps because of its length and unconventional form. Josephine Baker danced to it in her return to America in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1936, but neither she nor the song were successful. Two years later, however, bandleader Artie Shaw recorded an arrangement of the song, an extended swing orchestra version, in collaboration with his arranger and orchestrator, Jerry Gray.

Artie Shaw : Begin the Beguine

Little Brown Jug – Música

“Little Brown Jug” is a song written in 1869 by Joseph Eastburn Winner, originally published in Philadelphia with the author listed as Winner’s middle name “Eastburn.”
It was originally a drinking song. It remained well known as a folk song into the early 20th century. Like many songs which make reference to alcohol, it enjoyed new popularity during the Prohibition era. In 1939, bandleader Glenn Miller recorded and broadcast his swing instrumental arrangement of the tune with great success, and the number became one of the best known orchestrations of the American Big Band era.
– 1939 Glenn Miller recording
In 1939, Glenn Miller and His Orchestra released a hit version of the song on RCA Bluebird, as an A side 78 single, B-10286-A, in a new arrangement by Bill Finegan backed with “Pavanne”. The recording was an early chart hit for Glenn Miller. The song was performed in Glenn Miller’s Carnegie Hall concert that year and became a staple of the Glenn Miller Orchestra repertoire and a classic of the Big Band era.

Glenn Miller – Little Brown Jug (1939) HQ

Hooray for Hollywood – Música

“Hooray for Hollywood” is a song first featured in the 1937 movie Hollywood Hotel, and which has since become (together with “That’s Entertainment” and “Another Op’nin’, Another Show”) the staple soundtrack element of any Academy Awards ceremony. It is even frequently played during non-American movie ceremonies, e.g. the French César Awards. The popularity of the song is notably due to the lyrics by Johnny Mercer, which reference the American movie industry and satirize the illusory desire of many people to become famous as actors.
– Composition
The music was composed by Richard A. Whiting. In the original movie it was sung by Johnnie Davis and Frances Langford, accompanied by Benny Goodman and his orchestra.
Lyrics can be difficult to fully understand today, as they refer to people (e.g. Aimee Semple) or cultural elements (e.g. rotos) which have since been forgotten. The lyrics have also evolved over the years. Notably, the line “where any shopgirl can be a top girl, if she pleases the tired businessman” vanished quite quickly, and is absent from the 1958 Doris Day version, having been replaced with “and any barmaid can be a star made if she dances with or without a fan” The latter part of the line refers to Sally Rand and her fan dance. Today the song is performed mostly as a melody.

hooray for hollywood 1937

Hooray for Hollywood
That screwy ballyhooey Hollywood
Where any office boy or young mechanic can be a panic
With just a good looking pan
And any barmaid can be a star maid
If she dances with or without a fan

Hooray for Hollywood,
Where you’re terrific if you’re even good
Where anyone at all from Shirley Temple to Aimee Semple
Is equally understood
Go out and try your luck, you might be Donald Duck
Hooray for Hollywood

Hooray for Hollywood
That phoney super-Coney Hollywood
They come from Chillicothes and Paducas with their bazookas
To get their names up in lights
All armed with photos from local rotos
With their hair in ribbon and legs in tights

Hooray for Hollywood
You may be homely in your neighbourhood
But if you think that you can be an actor, see Mr. Factor
He’ll make a monkey look good
Within a half an hour you’ll look like Tyrone Power
Hooray for Hollywood

Hooray for Hollywood

*****

**LYRIC VARIATIONS:

Hooray for Hollywood
That screwy ballyhooey Hollywood
Where any office boy or young mechanic can be a panic
With just a good looking pan
And any shop girl can be a top girl
If she pleases Mister Businessman

Hooray for Hollywood
Where you’re terrific, if you’re even good
Where anyone at all from TV’s Lassie to Monroe’s chassis
Is equally understood
Go out and try your luck, you might be Donald Duck
Hooray for Hollywood

Hooray for Hollywood
You may be homely in your neighbourhood
To be an actor, see Mr. Factor
He’ll make your kisser look good
Within a half an hour you’ll look like Tyrone Power
Hooray for Hollywood

Puttin’ On The Ritz – Música

“Puttin’ On the Ritz” is a song written by Irving Berlin. He wrote it in May 1927 and first published it on December 2, 1929. It was registered as an unpublished song August 24, 1927 and again on July 27, 1928. It was introduced by Harry Richman and chorus in the musical film Puttin’ On the Ritz (1930). According to The Complete Lyrics of Irving Berlin, this was the first song in film to be sung by an interracial ensemble. The title derives from the slang expression “to put on the Ritz”, meaning to dress very fashionably. The expression was inspired by the opulent Ritz Hotel.
Hit phonograph records of the tune in its original period of popularity of 1929–1930 were recorded by Harry Richman and by Fred Astaire, with whom the song is particularly associated. Every other record label had their own version of this popular song (Columbia, Brunswick, Victor, and all of the dime store labels). Richman’s Brunswick version of the song became the number-one selling record in America.

1930 HITS ARCHIVE: Puttin’ On The Ritz – Harry Richman

Fred Astaire – Puttin On the Ritz

Puttin’ On The Ritz [Song by Irving Berlin] 1930

Have you seen the well-to-do
Up and down Park Avenue
On that famous thoroughfare
With their noses in the air

High hats and arrowed collars
Wide spats and lots of dollars
Spending every dime
For a wonderful time

If you’re blue and you don’t know
Where to go to, why don’t you go
Where fashion sits
Puttin’ on the Ritz

Different types, who wear a day coat
Pants with stripes, and cut away coat
Perfect fits
Puttin’ on the Ritz

Dressed up like a million dollar trooper
Trying hard to look like Gary Cooper
Super-duper!

Come, let’s mix where Rockerfellers
Walk with sticks, or umber-ellas
In their mitts
Puttin’ on the Ritz

Spangled gowns upon a beauty
Of hand-me-downs, on clown and cutie
All misfits
Puttin’ on the Ritz

Strolling up the avenue so happy
All dressed up just like an English chappie
Very snappy!

You’ll declare it’s simply topping
To be there, and hear them swapping
Smart tidbits
Puttin’ on the Ritz
Puttin’ on the Ritz
Puttin’ on the Ritz

******

ALTERNATE VERSE:

Tips his hat just like an English chappie
To a lady with a wealthy pappy
Very Snappy!

******

IRVING BERLIN’S ORIGINAL LYRICS
The original version of Berlin’s song referred to the then-popular
fad of well-to-do white New Yorkers visiting African American jazz
music venues in Harlem. Berlin later revised the lyrics because of
the racial references and to make it more generally applicable to
going out on the town in style:

Have you seen the well-to-do
Up on Lennox Avenue
On that famous thoroughfare
With their noses in the air

High hats and arrow collars
White spats and fifteen dollars
Spending ev’ry dime
For a wonderful time

If you’re blue and
You don’t know where to go to
Why don’t you go where Harlem sits
Puttin’ on the Ritz

Spangled gowns upon the bevee of high browns
From down the levee
All misfits
Puttin’ on the Ritz

That’s where each and ev’ry Lulu-Belle goes
Ev’ry Thursday evening with her swell beaus
Rubbing elbows

Come with me and we’ll attend
The jubilee, and see them spend
Their last two bits
Puttin’ on the Ritz

** Some lyric explanations:
Lennox Avenue – A main thoroughfare in Harlem.
High browns – A variation of the phrase “high yellow”, referring to
someone of mixed racial background, usually with the inference that
they’re putting on airs beyond their social station.
Lulu-Belle – A generic nickname for a black maid.
Ev’ry Thursday evening – Typically, the maid’s night off.

Cheek to Cheek – Música

“Cheek to Cheek” is a song written by Irving Berlin in 1935, for the Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers movie Top Hat (1935). In the movie, Astaire sings the song to Rogers as they dance. The song was nominated for the Best Song Academy Award for 1936, which it lost to “Lullaby of Broadway”. The song spent five weeks at #1 on Your Hit Parade and was named the #1 song of 1935. Astaire’s 1935 recording with the Leo Reisman Orchestra was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2000. In 2004, Astaire’s version finished at No. 15 on AFI’s 100 Years…100 Songs survey of top tunes in American cinema.

Fred Astaire – Cheek to Cheek

Heaven, I’m in Heaven
And my heart beats so that I can hardly speak;
And I seem to find the happiness I seek
When we’re out together dancing, cheek to cheek

Heaven, I’m in Heaven
And the cares that hung around me thro’ the week
Seem to vanish like a gambler’s lucky streak
When we’re out together dancing, cheek to cheek

Oh! I love to climb a mountain
And to reach the highest peak
But it doesn’t thrill me half as much
As dancing cheek to cheek

Oh! I love to go out fishing
In a river or a creek
But I don’t enjoy it half as much
As dancing cheek to cheek

Dance with me
I want my arm about you;
The charm about you
Will carry me thro’ to Heaven

I’m in Heaven
And my heart beats so that I can hardly speak;
And I seem to find the happiness I seek
When we’re out together dancing cheek to cheek

Swingin’ The Blues – Música

William James “Count” Basie (August 21, 1904 – April 26, 1984)was an American jazz pianist, organist, bandleader, and composer. His mother taught him to play the piano and he started performing in his teens. Dropping out of school, he learned to operate lights for vaudeville and to improvise accompaniment for silent films at a local movie theater in his home town of Red Bank, New Jersey. By age 16, he increasingly played jazz piano at parties, resorts and other venues. In 1924, he went to Harlem, where his performing career expanded; he toured with groups to the major jazz cities of Chicago, St. Louis and Kansas City. In 1929 he joined Bennie Moten‘s band in Kansas City, and played with them until Moten’s death in 1935.
In 1935, Basie formed his own jazz orchestra, the Count Basie Orchestra, and in 1936 took them to Chicago for a long engagement and their first recording. He led the group for almost 50 years, creating innovations like the use of two “split” tenor saxophones, emphasizing the rhythm section, riffing with a big band, using arrangers to broaden their sound, and others. Many musicians came to prominence under his direction, including the tenor saxophonists Lester Young and Herschel Evans, the guitarist Freddie Green, trumpeters Buck Clayton and Harry “Sweets” Edison and singers Jimmy Rushing, Helen Humes, Thelma Carpenter, and Joe Williams

Count Basie Orchestra – “Swingin’ The Blues” – 1938

Jumpin’ at the Woodside – Música

“Jumpin’ at the Woodside” is a song first recorded in 1938 by the Count Basie Orchestra, and considered one of the band’s signature tunes. When first released it reached number 11 on the Billboard charts and remained on them for four weeks. Since then it has become a frequently recorded jazz standard.

“Jumpin’ at the Woodside” (1938) Count Basie and Lester Young

Lady Be Good – Música

Oh, Lady Be Good! is a 1924 song by George and Ira Gershwin. It was introduced by Walter Catlett in the Broadway musical Lady, Be Good!, written by Guy Bolton, Fred Thompson, and the Gershwin brothers, starring Fred and Adele Astaire. It ran for 330 performances in its original Broadway run.
Artie Shaw and his Orchestra – Performed in the Warner Brothers/Vitaphone short subject Artie Shaw’s Symphony In Swing (June,1939) – rec. August 27, 1939 – released as Bluebird B10430-A, matrix 042609-1

Artie Shaw : Lady Be Good