Friday, October 7, 2011

Glenn Miller charts with "In the Mood": October 7, 1939

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“In the Mood” is “one of the best known musical themes of the World War II era” NRR and one of the big band era’s most recognizable songs. It was the biggest hit of 1940 WHC and of Miller’s career. The song, however, went through several others’ hands before it ended up with Miller.

Joseph “Wingy” Manone, a New Orleans jazz trumpeter and bandleader, wrote and recorded a song in 1930 called “Tar Paper Stomp”. Thanks to copyright laws of the day, a song not written down and registered with the copyright office was fair game. WK Tin Pan Alley composers Joe Garland and Andy Razaf arranged “In the Mood” based on Manone’s song and the Edgar Hayes’ Orchestra recorded it in 1938. WK

The song ended up in Artie Shaw’s hands, but the more-than-eight-minute arrangement was too long for him to record. SF Glenn Miller then arranged the song to include the famous tenor sax battle WK with solos by Tex and Al Klink as well as trumpeter Clyde Hurley. PM

Chart purists debate the song’s true peak position. Miller’s “In the Mood” topped the jukebox list for 13 weeks, but it never hit the top 15 on the sheet music chart, which was generally considered the true mark of a song’s success at the time. WK

The song enjoyed a chart life beyond the big band era. In 1953, Johnny Maddox went to #16 with it and Ernie Fields revived it for a #4 hit in 1959. At the end of the Beatles’ 1967 #1 hit “All You Need Is Love” the orchestra plays a snipet of “In the Mood”. SF Bette Midler had a minor hit with it in 1974. In 1977, Ray Stevens had a top 40 hit with a novelty version of the song in which he performed it bar-for-bar in clucking chicken sounds. That version was credited to the Henhouse Five Plus Two. In 1989, Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers’ #11 hit “Swing the Mood” fused “In the Mood” into a medley with early rock and roll hits.

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