The song of the day for Monday. April 23, 2023, is “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing).”
About This Week
We are celebrating the anniversary of the birth of Edward Kennedy (Duke) Ellington, born in Washington, D.C. on April 29, 1899. For more information about Ellington, see Duke Ellington (on Wikipedia) and the Duke Ellington website.
About This Song
“It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing) was written in 1931 by Ellington, with lyrics 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 listen to. Significant recordings include those by Louis Armstrong, Django Reinhardt, Gigi Gryce, Tony Bennett, and Thelonious Monk.
About This Version
Tony Bennett recorded “It Done Mean a Thing” on May 1999 for his tribute album to Ellington: Bennett Sings Ellington: Hot & Cool, released 100 years after Ellington’s birth.
The album won the 2000 Grammy Award for Best Traditional Pop Performance.
Bennett Sings Ellington: Hot & Cool
“It Don’t Mean a Thing,” as well as
We have two additional recordings today.
First up is the first recording of today’s song, featuring Ivy Anderson.
Next up is Louis Armstrong who recorded the song with Ellington for The Great Reunion album.