Afterglow Jazz and American Popular Song

Stardust Melodies: 12 Of America’s Most Popular Songs

This week on Afterglow: songs and stories from some of America's most popular songs are featured, as well as a tribute set to the late singer Dakota Staton.

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Stardust Memories by Will Friedwald

Photo: Pantheon

Will Friedwald’s book "Stardust Melodies" features stories behind 12 of America’s most popular songs.

This week on Afterglow it’s “Stardust Melodies,” a program based on Will Friedwald’s book about 12 of America’s most popular songs.

We’ll hear some of the stories behind “Stardust,” “Stormy Weather,” “Ol’ Man River,” “Summertime,” “Mack the Knife,” and seven other American classics, with performances by Sarah Vaughan, Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, and more.

We’ll also feature a tribute set to the late singer Dakota Staton (1931-2007).

You can find Will Friedwald’s book Stardust Melodies online here .

Music Heard On This Episode

Mack the Knife
Ella Fitzgerald — Ella Live in Berlin (Verve, 1960)
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Mack the Knife
Ella Fitzgerald — Ella Live in Berlin (Verve, 1960)

Notes: Kurt Weill-Bertolt Brecht song.

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Night and Day
Fred Astaire — Steppin' Out: Astaire Sings (Verve, 1952)

Notes: Cole Porter song.

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Ol' Man River
Frank Sinatra — Columbia Years 1943-1952 (Columbia/Legacy, 1944)

Notes: Jerome Kern-Oscar Hammerstein song.

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St. Louis Blues
Ida Cox — Blues for Rampart Street (Riverside, 1961)

Notes: W.C. Handy song. With Coleman Hawkins on tenor sax and Roy Eldridge on trumpet.

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Body and Soul
Coleman Hawkins — Indispensable Coleman Hawkins (1927-1956) (RCA, 1939)

Notes: Johnny Green song.

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In the Night
Dakota Staton/George Shearing — In the Night (Capitol Jazz, 1957)
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The Late, Late Show
Dakota Staton — Spotlight on Dakota Staton (Capitol, 1957)
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Dedicated to You
Dakota Staton — Softly/Round Midnight (EMI UK, 1960)

Notes: Arrangement by Benny Carter.

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On Green Dolphin Street
Dakota Staton — Spotlight on Dakota Staton (Capitol, 1960)
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I Got Rhythm
Judy Garland/Mickey Rooney/Tommy Dorsey — Mickey & Judy (Rhino, 1943)

Notes: From the film GIRL CRAZY.

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Stardust
Nat King Cole — Love Is the Thing (Capitol, 1956)

Notes: Arrangement by Gordon Jenkins. Also available on the recent Bear Family collection STARDUST.

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Make It Easy on Yourself
Dakota Staton — Congratulations to Someone (LRC, 1973)

Notes: Burt Bacharach-Hal David song. With Manny Albam's big band.

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Mack the Knife
Louis Armstrong — Louis Armstrong's Greatest Hits (Columbia/Legacy, 1956)

Notes: Kurt Weill-Bertolt Brecht song.

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Summertime
Ella Fitzgerald/Louis Armstrong — Porgy & Bess (Verve, 1957)

Notes: Written by George & Ira Gershwin and Dubose Heyward.

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Lush Life
John Coltrane/Johnny Hartman — John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman (Impulse, 1963)

Notes: Billy Strayhorn song.

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Stormy Weather
Lena Horne — Stormy Weather (Bluebird, 1941)

Notes: Harold Arlen-Ted Koehler song.

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My Funny Valentine
Sarah Vaughan — Live in Japan (Mainstream, 1973)

Notes: Rodgers & Hart song.

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As Time Goes By
Billie Holiday — Complete Commodore Recordings (GRP/Commodore, 1944)

Notes: Song written by Herman Hupfeld.

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Ol' Man River
Cootie Williams/Duke Ellington — Complete 1936-40 Variety, Vocalion & Okeh Small Group Sessions (Mosaic, 1938)

Notes: With Jerry Krueger on vocals.

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Summertime
Miles Davis/Gil Evans — Porgy & Bess (Columbia/Legacy, 1957)
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Body and Soul
Billy Eckstine — Everything I Have Is Yours: Best of the M-G-M Years (Verve, 1949)
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Stardust
Clifford Brown — With Strings (EmArcy, 1955)
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David Brent Johnson

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, David Brent Johnson moved to Bloomington in 1991. He is an alumnus of Indiana University, and began working with WFIU in 2002. Currently, David serves as jazz producer and systems coordinator at the station. His interests include literature, history, music, writing, and movies.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/An-EyeSpy/100003042323633 An EyeSpy

    Listening to Dakota Staton sing “Street of Dreams”, Dwyer says “Maybe the most underappreciated jazz singer of the entire fifties.” –  Ed Gorman, “The Reason Why” from “Century of Noir: 32 Classic Crime Stories” Eds. Spillane, Collins
    While reading, I hoped to hear Staton too, but after downloading your audio post .ram file, what program do I use to play the file?

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