It’s time for a new regular feature here at First Draft: Songs For The Pandemic. I’m not trying to make light of the situation but music can provide a much-needed light at the end of the tunnel.
The featured image is of the Duke Ellington orchestra circa 1934. I’ll let it carry the weight of future segments and omit Songs For The Pandemic from the title as with my Fog Of History and Fog Of Scandal features. Why Duke? He co-wrote the first song in the new series.
(In My) Solitude was composed in 1934 as an instrumental by Duke Ellington. The lyrics by Eddie DeLange and Irving Mills were added shortly thereafter. Hereinafter I’ll call it Solitude.
We begin with two instrumental versions: the Duke’s original arrangement and a soulful 1967 interpretation by the great saxophonist Ben Webster:
In 1940, Ellington recorded the song with singer Ivie Anderson:
The best known version of Solitude is by Billie Holiday. She recorded the song several times. This is the one with the great Lester Young on sax:
Finally, Duke and Louis Armstrong recorded Solitude together in 1961: