Song of the Day #518
Song of the Day: Avalon features the music of Vincent Rose and the lyrics of G. "Buddy" DeSylva and Al Jolson, who had a huge hit with it in 1920, as did Benny Goodman in 1937. And on this date, in 1938, Benny Goodman performed this tune with his classic quartet, live, on stage, in the famous Carnegie Hall concert. Given the fact that today also happens to be Martin Luther King Day, it is all the more appropriate to celebrate the Goodman legacy in music. For years, Goodman featured both black players and white players in his various bands; a person's race mattered not. All that mattered was the person's ability to make great music. Goodman's Carnegie Hall concert continued his policy of racial integration in jazz. As for the history of this particular tune: it includes a bit of litigation. In 1921, Puccini actually won a suit against the writers, claiming that the melody was derived from "E Lucevan le Stelle." Listen to audio clips from Al Jolson, the original swingin' recorded version by the Benny Goodman Quartet, and a blazin' Natalie Cole rendition.