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Monday, December 19, 2011

Stardust

By Hoagy Carmichael & Mitchell Parish
1927

In honor of my grandfather, who passed away on December 4, I give you the single most popular standard of all time, and one of his very favorite songs. Composed on an old upright piano at the Keuka Hotel on Keuka Lake in New York, this unusual melody was based by Carmichael on the idiosyncratic stylings of trumpeter Bix Beiderbecke. Carmichael himself was the first to record it, together with the Dorsey brothers. Parish joined Carmichael to come up with the lyrics two years later, making it "a love song about a love song," as Hoagy would characterize it. It was Isham Jones who turned it into a ballad in 1930, and from there it became one of the most recorded songs of all time. In fact, during the big band era, it was the most recorded pop songs, period--more than 1,500 versions are believed to exist.

With its gorgeous verse and a complex refrain, Stardust is the ultimate American standard, and I happily dedicate it to the memory of Anthony Salica.

Lyrics:

And now the purple dusk of twilight time steals across the meadows of my heart.
High up in the sky, the little stars climb, always reminding me that we're apart.
You wander down the lane and far away, leaving a smile that will not die.
Love is now the stardust of yesterday; the music of the years gone by...

Sometime I wonder why I spend the lonely night
Dreaming of a song.
The melody haunts my reverie,
And I am once again with you,
When our love was new, and each kiss an inspiration.
But that was long ago, and now my consolation
Is in the stardust of a song.

Beside a garden wall where stars are bright,
You are in my arms.
The nightingale tells his fairytale,
Of paradise where roses bloom.
Though I dream in vain,
In my heart you will remain,
My stardust memory...the melody of love's refrain.

Recorded By:

Louis Armstrong
Nat King Cole
Artie Shaw
John Coltrane
Ella Fitzgerald

4 comments:

emma wallace said...

Ahhh... this song is perfection!

B-Sol said...

Isn't it, though? :-)

heavy hedonist said...

A great intro for me to this blog-- Nat King Cole's haunting voice and pretty, wistful lyrics...

B-Sol said...

Welcome aboard! Keep reading! And yes, there's a reason this song is so timeless...

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