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"Tuxedo Junction"
Writer Buddy Feyne
Composer Erskine Hawkins
Bill Johnson

"Tuxedo Junction" is a song co-written by Birmingham, Alabama composer Erskine Hawkins and saxophonist and arranger Bill Johnson. The song was introduced by Hawkins's orchestra. Lyrics were by Buddy Feyne. This original version, by the Erskine Hawkins Orchestra (the new name for the college dance band known as the Bama State Collegians) rose to number 7 on the national hit parade. It was further popularized by a best-selling (Number 1) record in 1939 by Glenn Miller and his orchestra. It was covered by numerous bands and Swing orchestras and solo artists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Frankie Avalon and Joe Jackson, and became the theme song for The Manhattan Transfer, first recorded on their album The Manhattan Transfer in 1975. Bob Marley used this song as an inspiration for his hit called "Kaya". It was also the inspiration for an all-girl disco group, entitled "Tuxedo Junction".

The song is about a jazz and blues club in the Birmingham, Alabama suburb of Ensley. The area is referred to as "Tuxedo Junction", even though the building is called the "Nixon Building" (built in 1922). This is due to the location of a streetcar crossing at Tuxedo Park, hence "Tuxedo Junction". The empty building still stands at 1728 20th Street as a testament to the musical heritage of the area. A punk rock venue bearing the same name operated near there briefly in the mid 1980s.

The song was originally written as an instrumental. When it was given to Lewis Music Publishing, they farmed it out to several prospective lyricists to see who could write the best words that matched the song. Buddy Feyne asked Erskine Hawkins why he titled it as such. Erskine mentioned that it was a whistle stop on the "Chitlin' circuit", which led to Buddy's lyrics. Erskine selected his above the other candidates. Once the song had been published, then the white bands added it to their playlist.

The song has been used in various movies, including Big Band films The Glenn Miller Story, The Gene Krupa Story and the Woody Allen film The Curse of the Jade Scorpion.

Cultural References

In the book Demon by author John Varley: Tuxedo Junction, is the name of a tree house.



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