The song of the day for Saturday, April 21, 2018 is “Body and Soul.”
About This Song
“Body and Soul” was written in 1930 by Johnny Green, with 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 Billy Eckstine.
About This Version
Tony Bennett sang “Body and Soul” on his remarkable live performance in 1994 on the series MTV Unplugged. The album of the performance, MTV Unplugged, not only won 1995 Grammy Award for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Performance but also the coveted Album of the Year.
“Body and Soul,” as well as MTV Unplugged, is available from iTunes.
Our video today features the recording of Tony and Amy Winehouse recording “Body and Soul” in 2014 for Duets II, which was the last recording Amy Winehouse made.