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"Bye Bye Blackbird" is a song published in 1926 by the Americanmarker composer Ray Henderson and lyricist Mort Dixon. It is considered a popular standard and was first recorded by Gene Austin in 1926.It was the No. 16 song of 1926 according to Pop Culture Madness. John Coltrane won the 1981 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Soloist for his rendition of the song. Recordings of the song often include only the chorus; the verses are far less known.

There is much speculation about the meaning of the song. At least two commentators (using the same source) attribute the song to a prostitute leaving the business and going home to mother. As such, it is the opposite of House of the Rising Sun, where the prostitute returns to the business. The reason for the song's apparent ambiguity is that the opening verse and the verse about the bluebird are rarely sung. See, for example, this listing at lyricsplayground

Blackbird, blackbird singing the blues all day

Right outside of my door

Blackbird, blackbird why do you sit and say

There's no sunshine in store



All through the winter you hung around

Now I begin to feel homeward bound

Blackbird, blackbird gotta be on my way

Where there's sunshine galore



Pack up all my care and woe

Here I go, singing low



Bye bye blackbird



Where somebody waits for me

Sugar's sweet, so is she



Bye bye blackbird



No one here can love and understand me

Oh, what hard luck stories they all hand me

Make my bed and light the light

I'll arrive late tonight



Blackbird, bye bye

Bluebird bluebird calling me far away

I've been longing for you

Bluebird bluebird what do I hear you say

Skies are turning to blue



I'm like a flower that's fading here

Where ev'ry hour is one long tear

Bluebird, bluebird this is my lucky day

Now my dreams will come true



Pack up all my care and woe

Here I go, singing low



Bye bye blackbird

Where somebody waits for me

Sugar's sweet, so is she



Bye bye blackbird

No one here can love and understand me

Oh, what hard luck stories they all hand me

Make my bed and light the light

I'll arrive late tonight



Blackbird, bye bye

The song was also copied by "Charlie and His Orchestra," German Karl Schwedler, of "The Templin Band" during World War II as part of Joseph Goebbel's propaganda campaign. However, the lyrics were changed to reflect the German political rhetoric of the time and intended to demoralize the Allied forces. The tune(s) were sung in English and aimed at American and British troops as well as British citizens. The song and subsequent music were not permitted to be played in National Socialist Germany because Nazi leadership forbade progressive styles of music like jazz.

"Bye Bye Blackbird" has been recorded by many artists, including Nina Simone, Josephine Baker, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Trini Lopez, Mitch Miller, Ringo Starr (album Sentimental Journey), Miles Davis, Rickie Lee Jones, Martha Wainwright, Keith Jarrett, Liza Minnelli, Chelsea Krombach, Peggy Lee, Dean Martin and Joe Cocker. Ben Webster & Oscar Peterson recorded an instrumental of the song(1959). Mark Weber recorded the song for his 2008 album, "When I Fall In Love."

It has been featured in the soundtracks of at least seven movies since 1969, including Sleepless in Seattle and The History Boys where it is performed by Samuel Barnett and Jamie Parker, The song features in the 1980 movie Melvin and Howard, with Jason Robards, Jr. as Howard Hughes singing the chorus, as a western swing version of the song covers the closing credits.

The song is featured in the Tony-winning Broadway musical revue "Fosse," which showcases the choreography of the late Bob Fosse. Fosse originally included the song in Liza Minnelli's Emmy-winning 1972 television concert film "Liza with a Z," which Fosse directed, produced and choreographed.

The song is given a fictional, mystical importance in Theodore Roszak's novel Flicker. In E.L. Doctorow's Billy Bathgate, the mafia victim sings the song on his final voyage through New York harbor in cement shoes.

"Bye Bye Blackbird" was a background theme for the 2009 film, Public Enemies with Johnny Depp as John Dillinger and Marion Cottilard as Billie Frechette. In the final scene of the film an officer tells Billie, now in prison, that he knelt to hear John's final words. Those words were: "Tell Billie for me: 'Bye, Bye, Blackbird'".

The song also appeared in 1968 movie Anzio, and an episode of Mad Men.

See also



References

  1. Joe Cocker: Bye Bye Blackbird at secondhandsongs.com. Retrieved on 8 June 2009.
  2. Pop Music Hits of 1926 Song Chart at popculturemadness.com. Retrieved on 8 June 2009.
  3. 1981 Grammy Award Winners at popculturemadness.com. Retrieved on 8 June 2009.
  4. What are the rest of the lyrics to "Bye Bye Blackbird"? at straightdope.com. Retrieved on 8 June 2009.
  5. http://www.jazzstandards.com/compositions-1/byebyeblackbird.htm
  6. http://www.musicanet.org/robokopp/usa/blakbird.htm
  7. http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mblackbird.html
  8. Chasing the Rising Sun: The Journey of an American Song by Ted Anthony
  9. Miles Davis: Bye Bye Blackbird at mp3.com. Retrieved on 8 June 2009.
  10. Keith Jarrett: Bye Bye Blackbird at amazon.com. Retrieved on 8 June 2009.
  11. Liza Minnelli: Liza with a 'Z' at amazon.com. Retrieved on 8 June 2009.
  12. Chelsea Krombach at pkorecords.com. Retrieved on 8 June 2009.
  13. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:dxfyxq8gldte
  14. Mort Dixon discography at movies.yahoo.com. Retrieved on 8 June 2009.
  15. The History Boys soundtrack at the Internet Movie Database. Retrieved on 8 June 2009.
  16. Melvin and Howard review. Peter Travers, Rolling Stone, February 25, 2004.
  17. [1]



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