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Body and Soul is a popular song written in 1930 by Edward Heyman, Robert Sour, Frank Eyton and Johnny Green. Rising quickly to popularity, Libby Holman introduced it in the revue Three's a Crowd and it was used as the theme to the 1947 film, Body and Soul. Like many pop songs of the time, it became a jazz standard, with hundreds of versions performed and recorded by dozens of artists.

As with many pop standards, there are variations on the lyrics, primarily between renditions by male and female performers. Classic vocal recordings include those of Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and Frank Sinatra.

Among the most famous of these is the take recorded by Coleman Hawkins and His Orchestra on October 11, 1939 at their only recording session for Bluebird, a subsidiary of RCA Victor. It was one of the first "straight-ahead" jazz record to become a commercial hit. (Straight ahead jazz is a style differentiation with swing music, related and played for the style of dance with the same name, which does not necessarily mean the music does not swing, though ballads typically do not, as is the case with this recording.) The recording is unusual in that the song's melody is never directly stated in the recording; Hawkins' two-choruses of improvisation on the tune's chord progression constitute almost the entire take. In 2004, the Library of Congressmarker entered it into the National Recording Registry.

The pianist on Hawkins' recording of the song was Gene Rodgers.

Notes

  1. http://www.jazzstandards.com/compositions-0/bodyandsoul.htm
  2. Gary Giddins, "How Come Jazz Isn't Dead", p. 39–55 in Eric Weisbard, ed., This is Pop, Harvard University Press, 2004. ISBN 0-674-01321-2 (cloth), ISBN 0-674-01344-1 (paper). p. 45.
  3. Number 18 on The National Recording Registry 2004, accessed online 14 August 2007.


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