Blue Skies (1926 song)

Blue Skies is a jazz standard, composed in 1926 by Irving Berlin and was made ​​in 1927 by Ben Selvins Knickerbockers to the top hit.


Blue Skies was originally written by vaudeville star Belle Baker (Bella Becker). She was not happy with the title This Funny World, the famous writing team Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart had planned as a solo act for them in the Zigfield production Betsy. Without Rodgers / Hart to contact a friend of Baker successful composer and music publisher Irving Berlin Baker was asked if he could leave a title as a solo for Betsy. It was Blue Skies, he spontaneously evening at home with Belle Baker wrote on 16 December 1926.

Structure of the song

The 32taktige song is composed in the song form AABA. The song plays with the ambiguity of the English word Blue: "Blue days" one hand " sad days ", on the other hand is the " blue sky" the bright - blue sky - and musically. " The A section begins in a curtained E minor and opens in the middle to G major. Breaks new ground The blue sky " While the melody of the A section " sluggish limited to 14 tones in 8 bars, seems to double the pace in the B section. 36 syllables phrased in quaver movement, suggieren the jazzy break- heartedness: Freshly fallen seems to be a whistling stroll through the streets. "

Producer Florence Zigfield interpolated the title in the coming of Rodgers / Hart complete works of Betsy. The actual Betsy authors were very angry about the incorporated into their overall work title. Already 12 days after its composition Blue Skies was at the opening show of Betsy in New York's New Amsterdam Theater on December 28, 1926 outstanding song of the performance, because in the evening 24 encores were demanded by the public.

The copyright was published on January 14, 1927 in Irving Berlin's own music publishing. Belle Baker sang the song only with the only 39 performances by Betsy, at the last performance was Irving Berlin from the audience added; the musical itself, however, was not a success. Baker has not received the title on board.

Al Jolson sang the song as one of nine pieces in one of the first sound films, The Jazz Singer, on October 6, 1927 had premiere.

Cover versions

In 1927 followed recordings, namely equal to seven versions, including those by Ben Selvin and his orchestra, which worked here under the pseudonym Knickerbockers. Selvins recording was created on 15 January 1927, reached after the publication in April 1927 the first rank of the charts, where they remained for 2 weeks. This version with singer Charles Kaley was the most successful version of the title.

  • George Olsen and His Music (1927, # 2 )
  • Vincent Lopez and His Orchestra ( singer Frank Munn, 1927, # 9)
  • Johnny Marvin and Ed Smalle (1927, # 9)
  • Harry Richman (1927, # 13)
  • Vaughn De Leath (1927, vocal, # 15)

These versions came into the American charts. In August 1927 played in Berlin singer Al Bowlly with pianist Edgar Adeler the first European recording of the song. In Europe, the song was performed in 1927 by Josephine Baker and Fritz Kreisler.

On April 4, 1939 Paul Whiteman and his orchestra recorded a version in February 1942 was a version of Mel Powell & His Orchestra; both missed the charts. Other cover versions created by Moon Mullican (1939 ), Slim Gaillard ( 1940-1942 ) and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra ( with Frank Sinatra ) ( 1941). Benny Goodman came with his created on May 14, 1945 version to number 9 in the U.S. charts, Count Basie and his recording of 9 October 1945 after publication in September 1946 to 8th ranked

On October 16, 1946, a musical film came with Bing Crosby / Fred Astaire same title in the U.S. theaters, which also contained the song ( German Movie Title: The sky is blue ).

Willie Nelson took the title on December 12, 1977 production directed by Booker T. Jones on and came hereby after its publication in June 1978 for a week topped the country charts. The U.S. collecting society ASCAP has inventoried a total of 101 versions of Blue Skies, composer Irving Berlin are at ASCAP 456 titles protected by copyright.

Success as a jazz standard

At least since the early 1940s, the song was very popular in the repertoire of jazz bands: In addition to the recordings of Goodman, Basie, Dorsey and Slim Gaillard versions of the Ella Fitzgerald (1958 ), Harry James, Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong are mentioned. 1952 changed Dizzy Gillespie and Joe Carroll naive text. But it was " up in the eighties, before sovereign reinterpretations of the songs were heard. Stan Getz played him in 1982 as a floating midtempo ballad, Cassandra Wilson sang it in 1988 as bleak as it only consisted of blues and despair in a minor key. "


Pictures of Blue Skies (1926 song)