Tagged: Harry Akst Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • mistermuse 12:00 am on October 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Dave Fleischer animation, , Dinah Washington, Harry Akst, , , , , , , 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

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    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 1:15 am on August 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Charles Tobias, , Harry Akst, , , , , , 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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