The song of the day for Sunday, September 14, 2014 is “Body and Soul.”
About This Song
Today’s song, “Body and Soul,” was written in 1930, with music by Johnny Green and lyrics by Edward Heyman, Robert Sour and Frank Eyton. Ted Gioia, in his book The Jazz Standards, says that Body and Soul “is the granddaddy of jazz ballads, the quintessential torch song, and the ultimate measuring rod for tenor sax players of all generations. Even in the new millennium, this 1930 composition continues to serve as the cornerstone of the repertoire.” Louis Armstrong recorded the song first, followed in the 1930s by recordings from primarily white society bands, such as those led by Paul Whiteman. That said, some early recordings by jazz artists including Benny Goodman and especially Art Tatum started to cement this song as a serious jazz standard (in fact, it’s rated #1 on the jazzstandards.com website). However, the Coleman Hawkins recording from 1939 is widely acknowledged to have made the song a true jazz standard. The Hawkins recording was followed by great jazz recordings by Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk, Art Pepper, Dave Brubeck and many more. Fine vocal recordings include those by Billie Holiday and Tony Bennett.
About This Version
Today’s version is the 2011 duet of “Body and Soul” with Amy Winehouse. It was arranged and conducted by Jorge Calandrelli and recorded in London at Abbey Road Studios. This was the last song that Amy recorded; she died just a few weeks after their session. The recording won the Grammy award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance.
Today would have been Amy Winehouse’s 31st birthday. She died from alcohol poisoning on July 23, 2011. Every time I listen to her music, I am filled with sadness over all the music she never got to make and gratitude for the music she did make.
For more information about Amy’s legacy, please visit amywinehouse.com. Her parents have created the Amy Winehouse Foundation to help combat the misuse of drugs and alcohol on young people. You can learn more about the foundation at amywinehousefoundation.org.
“Body and Soul,” as well as the album Duets II, is available from iTunes.
And here’s the wonderful video of Tony and Amy recording “Body and Soul.”