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Stardust Sign.JPG
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
Published 1927
Original artist Hoagy Carmichael's orchestra
Recorded by Liberace
Louis Armstrong
Artie Shaw
Frank Sinatra
Billie Holiday
Fumio Nanri
Dizzy Gillespie
Nat King Cole
Dave Brubeck
Mel Tormé
Connie Francis
Harry Connick Jr
Ella Fitzgerald
The Peanuts
Django Reinhardt
The Shadows
Barry Manilow
John Coltrane
Rod Stewart
Willie Nelson
Johnny Mathis
Billy Ward and the Dominoes
Charlie Spivak
Jack Jenney
Martin Denny
Ferrante & Teicher
George Benson
Tiny Tim
Michael Buble
and many others

"Stardust" is an American popular song composed in 1927 by Hoagy Carmichael with lyrics added in 1929 by Mitchell Parish.



"Stardust" (the song's original title was "Star Dust", which has long been compounded into "Stardust"[1]) 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.([1]) 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.[2]


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.[3] 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.

Willie Nelson's cover of the song was used to wake up the crew of Space Shuttle mission STS-97 on their second flight day.[4]


  • "Stardust" is one of the most recorded songs of the 20th century, with over 1,800 total recordings.
  • "Stardust" is one of the songs performed by the fictional "Ramon Raquello and His Orchestra" during Orson Welles' October 1938 War of the Worlds broadcast. An announcer interrupts the song to announce that further incandescent gas explosions are occurring on the surface of Mars. They return to the song and interrupt it again for an interview at the Princeton observatory.
  • In 1956, a nationwide Billboard survey of disc jockeys showed that their number one favorite of all time was the Artie Shaw 1941 recording of "Stardust".
  • "Stardust" is referred to in Leonard Cohen's song "Memories" from his Death of a Ladies Man album of 1977 in the line, "So we're dancing close, the band is playing 'Stardust'".
  • In 1999, "Stardust" was included in the "NPR 100",[5] in which National Public Radio sought to list the one hundred most important American musical works of the 20th century.
  • In 2000, the Swedish music reviewers voted it as "the tune of the century", with Kurt Weill's "Mack the Knife" as second.
  • "Stardust" is the very first music heard on the epic 19-hour PBS documentary Jazz: A Film By Ken Burns (2001).
  • The song provided the title to a survey of one dozen classics of American popular song by Will Friedwald published in 2002, Stardust Melodies: A Biography of 12 of America's Most Popular Songs.
  • In 2004, Carmichael's original 1927 recording of the song was one of 50 recordings chosen that year by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry.
  • "Stardust" was included in "Caterpillar" vol 1, a Mina's work (1991).


  1. ^ ""Hoagy Carmichael Collection"". Archives of Traditional Music at Indiana University. Retrieved 2007-06-17.  
  2. ^ Richard M. Sudhalter, Stardust Melody: The Life and Music of Hoagy Carmichael, Oxford University Press US, 2002, page 139 (Google Books)
  3. ^ Armstrong, Louis. Portrait of the Artist As A Young Man 1923-1934. Columbia/Legacy 57176, 1994. Insert booklet, p. 26
  4. ^ NASA (May 11, 2009). "STS-97 Wakeup Calls". NASA. Retrieved July 31, 2009.  
  5. ^ "The 100 most important American musical works of the 20th century". National Public Radio. Retrieved 2008-08-09.  

See also

External links

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