Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Paul Robeson

Mood Indigo

First recorded (as “Dreamy Blues”) by The Harlem Footwarmers (1930).
Also recorded by The Jungle Band (1930), Duke Ellington & His Cotton Club Orchestra (1930), Paul Robeson (1937), Ella Fitzgerald (1957).
Hit version by The Norman Petty Trio (US #14 1954).

From the wiki: “‘Mood Indigo’ was written by Duke Ellington and Barney Bigard. Ellington is said to have claimed ‘I wrote [‘Mood Indigo’] in 15 minutes while I was waiting for my mother to finish cooking dinner.’

“Ellington’s biographer, Terry Teachout, described the song as ‘an imperishable classic, one of a handful of songs that come to mind whenever Ellington’s name is mentioned anywhere in the world.’ The tune was composed for a radio broadcast in October 1930 and was originally titled ‘Dreamy Blues’. It was ‘the first tune I ever wrote specially for microphone transmission,’ Ellington recalled. ‘The next day wads of mail came in raving about the new tune.’ Renamed ‘Mood Indigo’, it went on to became a Jazz standard.

“‘The Harem Footwarmers’ was the name of Ellington’s orchestra while recording for Okeh Records. For other recording sessions for other, competing labels, the Ellington band became known as ‘The Jungle Band’ (for Brunswick Records), and ‘Duke Ellington & His Cotton Club Orchestra’ (for Victor Records). Three versions of ‘Mood Indigo’ – two titled the same – with three similar line-ups for three different record labels, all recorded and released by Ellington around the same time in 1930.

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