A sign erected in front of the Gables in Bloomington, IN to commemorate Hoagy Carmichael, composer of "Stardust".
|Music by||Hoagy Carmichael|
|Lyrics by||Mitchell Parish|
|Original artist||Hoagy Carmichael's orchestra|
Nat King Cole
Harry Connick Jr
Billy Ward and the Dominoes
Ferrante & Teicher
and many others
"Stardust" (the song's original title was "Star Dust", which has long been compounded into "Stardust") was written at the Book Nook in Bloomington, Indiana (across the street from the Indiana University School of Law, where Carmichael had attended school ) on an old upright piano, and first recorded in Richmond, Indiana, for Gennett Records (Gennett 6311) by Carmichael with Emil Seidel and his Orchestra and the Dorsey brothers as "Hoagy Carmichael and His Pals" on October 31, 1927, as a peppy (but mid-tempo) jazz instrumental. Carmichael said he was inspired by the types of improvisations made by Bix Beiderbecke.() The tune at first attracted only moderate attention, mostly from fellow musicians, a few of whom (including Don Redman) recorded their own versions of Carmichael's tune.
Mitchell Parish wrote lyrics for the song, based on his own and Carmichael's ideas, which were published in 1929. A slower version had been recorded in October 1928, but the real transformation came on May 16, 1930, when bandleader Isham Jones recorded it as a sentimental ballad.
Jones' recording became the first of many hit versions of the tune. Young baritone sensation Bing Crosby released a version in 1931 and by the following year over two dozen bands had recorded "Stardust". It was then covered by almost every prominent band of that era. Versions have been recorded by Louis Armstrong, Tommy Dorsey,Glenn Miller, Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Fumio Nanri, Dizzy Gillespie, Nat King Cole, Mel Tormé, Connie Francis, Jean Sablon, Terumasa Hino, Harry Connick Jr, Ella Fitzgerald, The Peanuts, Django Reinhardt, Barry Manilow, John Coltrane, Earl Grant, Willie Nelson, Billy Ward and His Dominoes, George Benson, Mina and many others. Billy Ward and His Dominoes had a #13 hit with the song on the Billboard Pop chart. However, it has been the Artie Shaw version of 1941, with memorable solos by Billy Butterfield (trumpet) and Jack Jenney (trombone) that remains the favorite orchestral version of the Big Band era. Ringo Starr recorded a version for his first solo album, Sentimental Journey in 1970, after the break-up of The Beatles. Rod Stewart recorded the song for his album "Stardust: The Great American Songbook Volume III" (2004).
Certain recorded variations on the song have become notable. Armstrong recorded "Stardust" on November 4, 1931, and on an alternate take inserted the lyric 'oh, memory' just before an instrumental break. This version became prized over the issued take among jazz collectors, including Carmichael. Thirty years later, Sinatra recorded just the verse on his November 20, 1961 recording for his album Sinatra and Strings - much to Carmichael's initial chagrin, although Hoagy is said to have changed his mind upon hearing the recording.