The song of the day for Monday, February 1, 2021, is “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing).”
About This Song
Written in 1931, “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” was one of the first songs to use the word “swing” in the title, and this song certainly defined what it meant to swing. Irving Mills wrote the lyrics. 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 Thelonious Monk.
About This Version
Tony Bennett recorded “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” in 1999 for the album Bennett Sings Ellington: Hot & Cool. Ralph Burns, who Bennett first started working with Bennett 40 years earlier, wrote the arrangement. And yes, it sure 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.
The first recording, by Ellington with Ivie Anderson on vocals, is terrific:
I also love this recording by Ellington and Louis Armstrong, recorded at the Great Summit in 1961. It’s one of the few recordings where the verse is sung: