Tagged: Dinah Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • mistermuse 12:00 am on October 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Dave Fleischer animation, Dinah, Dinah Washington, , , , , , , , What A Difference A Day Makes,   


    A favorite of jazz musicians ever since it first appeared in 1925, DINAH has been recorded hundreds of times, and yet, practically nobody remembers who wrote it. As they sing on some of the old records,”The name of this song is Dinah,” and it was written by HARRY AKST.Warren Vaché, author, THE UNSUNG SONGWRITERS

    • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    If you Akst me: of all the girl’s name songs beginning with D, is there any one finer than DINAH? I’d sigh, “DAH! Not in the state of Carolina!” Composed by Harry Akst (lyrics by Sam Lewis and Joe Young), the song “is so relaxed and without pretense, it’s almost as if it simply happened rather than was written” — so writes Alec Wilder in his book AMERICAN POPULAR SONG. I agree, to the tune of two hearings, starting with this animated effort by

    If you think #1 was animated, #2 is even more so:

    Let’s wrap it up with a favorite by a real Dinah — the great Dinah Washington, singing a song which takes me back to my 1960 basic training days at Fort Knox, KY, where I first heard her original 1959 recording on a ‘blue’ evening at the PX. Can you place the MC*?

    *The MC (emcee) in this 1960 clip was future U.S. President Ronald Reagan. PX, for the benefit of life-long residents of the DMZ (demilitarized zone), stands for Post Exchange.

    • scifihammy 6:28 am on October 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Nice to see the different versions – and a young Ronald Reagan! 🙂
      My favourite is Bing. I just love his voice!

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 8:20 am on October 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      That’s the young Bing on that clip. Several years later (late 1930s, as I recall), he had an operation (throat or vocal chords) which noticeably changed his voice. I like his young voice best.


    • Don Frankel 11:05 am on October 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Of all the singers whose recorded voice I’ve heard Dinah Washington sounds the most like a live voice. Like I’m in the audience or she’s just in the room next door.

      Muse, don’t forget Billie Holiday’s real name or the name on her birth certificate was Eleanora.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 2:59 pm on October 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks for the reminder, Don — I had forgotten what Billie’s given name was. I was thinking of ‘starring’ Ella Fitzgerald in my next post — now I’ll have to think about co-starring Billie. Woe is me, having to include probably the two greatest female pop/jazz vocalists of all time in one post!


    • Richard Cahill 11:48 am on October 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I once had four employees who went by Deanna, Dinah, Debbie and Denise. Hope the other three don’t feel slighted.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 4:44 pm on October 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Ricardo, the first name on your list brings to mind a gal who, pre-Wizard of Oz, was as popular as Judy Garland in their early teens in the 1930s. Here she is singing a Mexican favorite to remind you of your happy hours south of the border:


    • tref 11:58 pm on October 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Dinah has always been one of my favorite songs. (Eddie Cantor’s film, Roman Scandals had a great reference to the song, too.)

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 9:32 am on October 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for the comment. It’s been so long since I saw Roman Scandals that I’d forgotten the reference you referred to.
      P.S. Your mention of Eddie Cantor reminds me that one of his signature songs was MAKIN’IN WHOOPIE — a term I seem to recall mentioning in a comment to one of your recent posts. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • markscheel1 8:28 pm on October 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply


      Well, into an immersion of music of late. Great renditions. And last night I chauffeured my new friend Don Follmer to a recital of his musical creations to accompany war poetry written and recited by Arlin Buyert. The compositions were played by a cellist and a pianist. Don is the fellow I profiled in an earlier blog about the Wendy’s breakfast group “reloading.” From that group we lost Bob recently, the model for the character Clarence D.; he was 94. Don is 88.
      Thanks, BTW, for your input on my latest blog post. Appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 1:01 am on November 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Dinah, Harry Woods, , , , , piano roll, , , ,   



    In my last post (NOTES FROM THE ALLEY), I touched on TIN PAN ALLEY’s origins and location, but failed to mention where the name came from. For that, I quote from another book, FROM SAGINAW VALLEY TO TIN PAN ALLEY by R. Grant Smith:

    On a summer day in New York City, just before 1900, songwriter and journalist Monroe Rosenfeld walked down West 28th Street, on the way to his publisher, to demonstrate a new song he had written. As he passed the rows of music publishing houses, clustered together and piled on top of each other, he heard the sounds of hundreds of pianos, playing hundreds of pieces of music, pouring out of the open windows. The tumultuous noise reminded him of tin pans clanging together.
    Later that day, when Rosenfeld returned to his typewriter at the New York Herald, he wrote an article about what he had just experienced, referring to the area he had visited as “Tin Pan Alley.” This name would remain synonymous with the popular music publishing industry in America for the next sixty years.

    Think of THE GOLDEN AGE OF POPULAR MUSIC (which includes the storied Roaring Twenties) as TIN PAN ALLEY writ large, a coast-to-coast cacophony of sounds impossible to paint a complete picture of in these few sketches — but my hope is to convey at least a feel for the era….principally with clips of songs written and performed by composers and artists like those featured in the previous post. Picking up where we left off in 1921, I’ll resist the urge to test your forbearance with a 1922 triumph of treacle titled GRANNY, YOU’RE MY MAMMY’S MAMMY (I kid you not), and go instead with 1922 and 1923 hits about guys named Harry and Barney:

    Skipping past such 1924/25 doozies as DOODLE DOO DOO and DOO WACKA DOO, we come to 1926, a banner year for songs that became all-time standards, including one that a very young Bing Crosby and the Mills Brothers blew out of the water — “The name of this song is DINAH”:

    Now we’re on a roll — here’s another 1926 standard, played by it’s Hart-less composer:

    But what’s a Richard Rodgers composition minus Lorenz Hart lyrics? It’s like romance expressed without a word, as proposed in another of their 1926 songs (1:40 into this clip):

    Hart died (tragically young) in the month of November, but many great Golden Age songwriters were born in this month, including Harry Woods, who began writing hits (like “I’m Looking Over A Four-Leaf Clover”) in the early 1920s….however, I’m going to jump ahead here with one of his lesser known songs from the 1930s — repeat, the 1930s:


    • arekhill1 7:41 pm on November 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I’m a punk rock fan myself, Sr. Muse. But history needs to be tended by historians like yourself.


    • mistermuse 10:51 pm on November 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Perhaps six music clips in one post was too much of a good thing, even for those who are open to the oldies, Ricardo….so how about some history-making political news: Rabbit Hash, Kentucky, has just elected a new mayor — a two-year old pit bull named Brynn — to succeed Lucy Lou, the border collie whose bid for President went up in smoke months ago. It’s been a bad year for females running for the White House.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Carmen 5:19 am on November 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      You mean we were watching Alfalfa in the 60’s and he was already over 30 years old?? 😉 That was certainly a blast from the past. ..

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:03 am on November 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Carmen, I remember watching the Keystone Kops on TV in the 60’s when they were already 50 years old, so if Alfalfa was a blast from the past, the madcap Kops were an indignity from antiquity! 🙂


    • Don Frankel 9:24 am on November 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Great stuff Muse. Roger’s first song or one of his first. And of course Alfalfa. I remember that scene from when I was a kid.


    • mistermuse 11:48 am on November 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks, Don. I own a biography of Rodgers (titled SOMEWHERE FOR ME) which shows that his first published songs go back as far as 1919, however BLUE ROOM was certainly one of his first HIT songs (after MANHATTAN, written in 1925).


    • Cynthia Jobin 8:54 pm on November 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Can’t beat Bing, in my book….

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 10:01 pm on November 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        I much prefer the voice of the young Bing to the 1940s-and-later Bing. His early recordings are classics, and I own most, if not all, of them.


    • D. Wallace Peach 10:46 pm on November 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Lots of music! Most from before my time but I remember them! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 11:12 pm on November 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you, Diana. In a certain sense, if you remember them, they’re not before your time. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 1:15 am on August 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Charles Tobias, Dinah, , , , , , , Ned Washington, , recordings, Rose O'Day, Sidney Clare, , Victor Young   

    ATTENTION! (Or, as the French say, ATTENTION!)* 

    *There is a pronounced difference.


    It is said that youth must be served, but the extent of what this generation knows of music is such that 1920s-1940s popular music/classic jazz, and hence this post, might as well be in a foreign language. However, for those past being served by the myopic world of current culture, listen up! August 15 is one of those days of a convergence which doesn’t come along every day: it’s the birthday of no less than four Golden Age American songwriters, the titles of whose songs afford me a theme-opportunity beyond the happenstance of their birthdays-in-common.

    All four (born on this date from 1892 to 1901) were prolific tunesmiths, but what caught my attention is that each wrote one song with a girl’s name in the title which, in two cases, became standards, and in all four cases, were big hits in their day. The writers: Harry Akst, Sidney Clare, Charles Tobias, and Ned Washington; the songs: DINAH, MISS ANNABELLE LEE, ROSE O’DAY and STELLA BY STARLIGHT.

    Although none of these men’s fame survived their era, a number of their compositions did (or, as an Irving Berlin song title put it, The Song Is Ended, But The Melody Lingers On). One such ditty is DINAH, by Harry Akst,  a favorite of jazz musicians which has been recorded countless times since the 1920s. I like so many versions of this song that I couldn’t further narrow down this list if you Akst me to:

    (Louis Armstrong)
    (New Orleans Jazz Vipers)
    (Bing Crosby/Mills Bros.)
    (Fats Waller)

    The next tune, by Sidney Clare, is a particular favorite of mine.Written in 1927, it was recorded by numerous jazz and dance bands and became a toe-tapping best seller in America and Europe. What’s not to like about her? She’s wonderful, she’s marvelous….MISS ANNABELLE LEE:

    (George Fisher Kit Cat Band)
    (Savoy Havana Band)

    Next we have Charles Tobias’s ROSE O’DAY, the most lightweight of the four — due, not to diet, but to being a silly novelty song which nevertheless was one of 1941’s top hits:

    (Dick Todd)

    Last but not lightweight, there’s STELLA BY STARLIGHT, composed by Victor Young as the theme for the 1944 film “The Uninvited,” with lyrics added by Ned Washington in 1946. This beautiful standard has been recorded by dozens of artists, including the following:

    (Billy Eckstein)
    (Anita O’Day)
    (Frank Sinatra)

    That’s all. AS YOU WERE (if you’ve ever been in the military, you know what that means).


    • sonniq 7:35 am on August 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      You are right that the kids today won’t know this music. I listened to one with Louie Armstrong and then got lost in YouTube watching video after video of old clips. Fun.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 8:49 am on August 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I grew up with this music and was still in my teens in the early to mid 1950s when R&B and R&R burst on the scene, some of which I dug & some of which I didn’t. I think young people should be open to sounds different from what they hear every day, but they’re captives of their culture, and most will probably never know any better/grow to be open to expanded horizons.


    • Mél@nie 2:24 pm on August 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      excellent post, comme d’habitude… 🙂 well, “attention!” sounds better than… “achtung!” 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 3:50 pm on August 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      You got that right. When the Germans said “Ach-tung!”, they weren’t just “Act-ing!” – they meant it! 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mél@nie 6:24 am on August 22, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        it does mean almost the same thing nowadays, as well… they haven’t changed that much and do believe they’re THE best – at least in Europe…

        Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 3:41 pm on August 17, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I’m going with Louis Armstrong on Dinah, Billy Eckstein on Stella by Starlight and the Savoy Havana Band on Miss AnnaBelle Lee. But you can’t go wrong with any of these. Keep ’em alive Muse. Keep ’em alive.


    • mistermuse 4:27 pm on August 17, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Don, did you notice that when Sinatra made that 1947 recording of STELLA BY STARLIGHT, he still pronounced Stella “Stellar’ like he never left New Jersey? But that doesn’t take away from his fine rendition, though I agree that Billy Eckstein takes the prize, and Anita O’Day’s version is also top notch.


    • BroadBlogs 1:22 pm on August 18, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Lovin’ all that jazz.


    • mistermuse 3:01 pm on August 18, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      If you didn’t love jazz before, I’m glad you’re lovin’ it now, because I love to win converts to my religion. 🙂


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