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Arlen: Stormy Weather

Here’s a hint: cloudy, with a 65% chance of tap-dancing…

Before moving to the West Coast to work in pictures, Harold Arlen’s job at the Cotton Club nightclub in Harlem frequently led him to write songs for top African-American performers.

Stormy Weather,” one of Arlen’s best-known songs, was originally written for the Cotton Club in 1933, but it was still popular enough ten years later to become the title song for a film musical.

In the film “Stormy Weather,” this bluesy torch-song is sung by the luminous Lena Horne, who plays the off-again, on-again love interest of tap-dancer Bill “Bojangles” Robinson.

While in some ways the film was a fictionalized retelling of Robinson’s rise to stardom, it’s more immediate purpose was as a vehicle for some jaw-dropping song-and-dance acts.

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