Blue Skies

Irving Berlin month continues with a song that he wrote in 1926 for a flop musical Betsy. The song itself was a hit and has been recorded nearly 500 times.

Blue Skies also gave its title to a 1946 Crosby-Astaire movie.

We begin with one of the earliest recordings of Blue Skies by the great Josephine Baker:

Jazz great Johnny Hartman cut the song in 1956:

Next up, Ella Fitzgerald from the Irving Berlin Songbook:

Nina Simone lent her badassery to this live rendition of Berlin’s tune.

Wille Nelson had a number 1 country hit with his cover of the Berlin classic.

Lyle Lovett recorded the Berlin classic for the 1994 movie With Honors. The movie is best remembered for having Joe Pesci and Gore Vidal in the cast. Holy odd couple, Batman.

Finally, my homey Mac Rebennack dba Dr. John:

What would a Friday Cocktail Hour be without a jazz instrumental version of the week’s song? This time, Benny Goodman, Ben Webster, and Oscar Peterson.

Have I told you lately how much I love Oscar Peterson?

That’s it for this week. Let’s toast everyone who has recorded Blue Skies in the last 96 years. It’s what the cartoon Rat Pack would want. Never argue with them.

One thought on “Blue Skies

  1. I have mixed feelings about Irving Berlin that I don’t have for any of the other composers of the era. When he wanted to, he could write achingly beautiful songs (often in minor keys), but when the mood struck he could also write the most appalling commercial claptrap (always in major keys). Regarding the film: I’ve been an Astaire addict (as my mother was before me) literally for longer than I can remember, but Blue Skies is one of only 2 Astaire musicals (the other being Easter Parade) that I never bought on DVD. I even bought the relatively obscure The Sky’s the Limit, mostly for the amazing number One for My Baby (and One More for the Road). Even before reading his son’s autobiography (which I believe in its entirety), something struck me as Off about Bing Crosby. There was a sanctimoniousness that is often paired with hypocrisy. I got the same vibe from Bill Cosby, whose standup I’d once enjoyed, and I even saw him once at The Beacon Theater, starting a little before the Huxtable years. I could never stomach that sitcom.

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