The song of the day for Saturday, October 31, 2020, is “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing).”
About This Song
“It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” was written by Duke Ellington in 1931; the lyrics are by Irving Mills. This song was one of the first songs to use the word “swing” in the title and this song certainly defined what it meant to swing. Ellington recorded the song with Ivie Anderson on vocals and it was an immediate hit. It has been widely recorded since it was written and the song is a lot of fun to play and to listen to. Significant recordings include those by Louis Armstrong, Django Reinhardt, Gigi Gryce, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, and
About This Version
Tony Bennett recorded “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” for his album of Duke Ellington songs, Bennett Sings Ellington: Hot & Cool, released in 1999 (the centennial anniversary of Ellington’s birth). The arrangement is by Ralph Burns, who worked first with Bennett in 1959 for Hometown, My Town. It features great guitar from Gray Sargent and great drumming from Clayton Cameron. It does swing!
“It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing,” as well as Bennett Sings Ellington: Hot & Cool, is available from Apple Music.
There two other versions of this song that I just love, so I’m adding them to today’s post.
First, is the original Ellington recording in 1931 with Ivie Anderson on vocals:
Next, is Ellington and Louis Armstrong from The Great Summitt, recorded in 1961. This recorded also has the verse, which you almost never hear.