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Friday, April 10, 2009

Take the "A" Train

By Billy Strayhorn & Joya Sherrill
1939

Inspired by Duke Ellington's directions to new writer Strayhorn upon his hire, this seminal jazz classic became the theme song of the Ellington band, replacing "Sepia Panorama", after is was first recorded in February 1941. Duke's son Mercer recalled rescuing the composition out of the trash, after Strayhorn had discarded it for being too similar to an arrangement by Fletcher Henderson, whose style had inspired the song. 17-year-old Sherrill contributed the lyrics in 1944, after herfather brought her to Ellington's attention. She promptly became a singer with the band as well.

Lyrics:

You must take the "A" train
To go to Sugar Hill way up in Harlem.

If you miss the "A" train,
You'll find you've missed the quickest way to Harlem.

Hurry, get on, now, it's coming.
Listen to those rails a-thrumming.

Get on the "A" train--
Soon, you will be on Sugar Hill in Harlem.

Recorded By:

Dave Brubeck
Mel Torme
Sarah Vaughan
Dexter Gordon
Oscar Peterson

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