Wednesday Feb. 10, 2021’s Smile of the Day: In The Mood
On this Day:
In 1940, “In The Mood” by Glenn Miller hits #1.
“In the Mood” is a popular big band-era jazz standard recorded by American bandleader Glenn Miller.
In 1983, the Glenn Miller recording from 1939 was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. In 2004, the recording was inducted into the Library of Congress National Recording Registry which consists of recordings that are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
In 1999, National Public Radio (NPR) included the 1939 Glenn Miller recording in its list of “The 100 most important American musical works of the 20th century” (per Wikipedia).
“In The Mood” is one of the most recognizable and popular big band songs. Miller recorded it in 1939 and the song became wildly popular in early 1940, shortly before Billboard began publishing its “Music Popularity Chart.” This makes it hard to gauge the song’s appeal at the time, but it helped Miller become the top bandleader in the world – in that first Billboard chart he held down three of the Top 10 places.
“In The Mood” is an expression that indicates a desire to have sex. It’s pretty innocent now, but was a little racy at the time.
This song was written by the Tin Pan Alley composers Joe Garland (music) and Andy Razaf (lyrics). Garland was the tenor sax player and arranger with Edgar Hayes and his Orchestra. The Hayes band recorded “In The Mood” for Decca Records in February 1938, 18 months before Miller recorded the tune. Later in 1938, Artie Shaw played the tune on the air in a 6-minute-plus, rather plodding arrangement.
Glenn Miller reworked the arrangement, first playing it in late July 1939 (a version is extant on CD), and recorded it for Bluebird on August 1, 1939 (Bluebird B-10416-A). The rest is history; he played it quite often on the air, featured it in his first film Sun Valley Serenade (1941), and continued to play it when he disbanded and joined the Army Air Corps (the 418th AAF Training Command Orchestra).
This was based on a song called “Tar Paper Stomp” which was recorded in 1930 by Joseph “Wingy” Manone, who was a bandleader from New Orleans. Manone later had his own remake called “Jumpy Nerves” on Bluebird (the label on which Miller’s “In The Mood” was first issued).
In 1977, The Henhouse Five Plus Two (an alias of novelty singer Ray Stevens) had a top 40 hit in both the UK and US with his version of this song, which was basically Stevens imitating chickens clucking the tune.
Beatles producer George Martin had the orchestra play a little bit of this song at the end of “All You Need Is Love.” (per songfacts.com)
First, a Story:
My high school math teacher formed a big band jazz band. He named it ‘Algorythm’.
Second, a Song:
Sun Valley Serenade is a 1941 musical film directed by H. Bruce Humberstone and starring Sonja Henie, John Payne, Glenn Miller, Milton Berle, and Lynn Bari. It features the Glenn Miller Orchestra as well as dancing by the Nicholas Brothers. It also features Dorothy Dandridge, performing “Chattanooga Choo Choo”, which was nominated for an Oscar for Best Song, was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1996, and was awarded the first Gold Record for sales of 1.2 million.
Ted Scott (John Payne) is a band pianist whose publicity manager decides that, for good press, the band should adopt a foreign refugee. The band goes to Ellis Island to meet the girl and soon discovers that the refugee isn’t a 10-year-old child, but a young woman, Karen Benson (Sonja Henie). The surprise comes right before the band is to travel to Sun Valley, Idaho, for a Christmas event. While on the ski slopes Ted soon falls for Karen’s inventive schemes to win the heart of her new sponsor, much to the chagrin of his girlfriend, Vivian Dawn (Lynn Bari), a soloist with the band. Vivian promptly quits the band out of jealousy, and Karen stages an elaborate ice show as a substitute (per Wikipedia).
Here is the scene with Glenn Miller and his orchestra playing “In The Mood”. I hope you like it!
The entire movie is on YouTube movies: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sa9lUC0FPLE
Thought for the Day:
“By giving the public a rich and full melody, distinctly arranged and well played, all the time creating new tone colors and patterns, I feel we have a better chance of being successful. I want a kick to my band, but I don’t want the rhythm to hog the spotlight.” – Glenn Miller
Have a great day!
Dave & Colleen
© 2021 David J. Bilinsky and Colleen E. Bilinsky