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Ella & Duke
Friday, November 30 2007 @ 12:46 PM CST

performing Lush Life:

And a little history behind the song from Powerline:
"Today is the anniversary of the birth of Billy Strayhorn, the compositional and arranging genius behind many of Duke Ellington's best-known songs such as "Take the A Train," "C-Jam Blues," and "Satin Doll." Strayhorn is said to have written both the music and lyrics to "Lush Life" as a young man at the beginning of his career, yet it is a remarkable song whose sadness, glamor, excess, and dissipation he seems subsequently to have lived out:

I used to visit all the very gay places
Those come what may places
Where one relaxes on the axis of the wheel of life
To get the feel of life from jazz and cocktails

The girls I knew had sad and sullen grey faces
With distingue traces
That used to be there you could see where they'd been washed away
By too many through the day twelve o'clock tales

Then you came along with your siren song
To tempt me to madness
I thought for a while that your poignant smile
Was tinged with the sadness of a great love for me
Ah yes I was wrong, again I was wrong

Life is lonely again
And only last year everything seemed so sure
Now life is awful again
A trough full of hearts could only be a bore
A week in Paris could ease the bite of it
All I care is to smile in spite of it

I'll forget you, I will
While yet you are still burning inside my brain
Romance is mush, stifling those who strive
So I'll live a lush life in some small dive
And there I'll be
While I rot
With the rest of those whose lives are lonely too.

"It's a difficult song to sing. Frank Sinatra took a shot at it in 1958 and gave up. Ella Fitzgerald owned it, at least to my taste. She returned to it many times. In the beautiful video excerpt above, she sings to Ellington's accompaniment on the piano. Where is the first half of that performance?" [via Powerlineblog.com]
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Registered: 05/31/07
Posts: 390
Location: Boston area, Mass
Re:Ella & Duke
Friday, November 30 2007 @ 06:50 PM CST

I don't think she ever sang one bad note in her entire life.that's amazing.
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Registered: 06/11/06
Posts: 217
Location: peterborough, cambridgeshire
Re:Ella & Duke
Saturday, December 01 2007 @ 07:51 AM CST

Lush wig Ella. Deeply profound lyric I could feel his pain,but I don't believe Sinatra 'gave up' on it, thanks for posting Dad.

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Registered: 12/04/05
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Location: Marshfield, WI United States
Re:Ella & Duke
Saturday, December 01 2007 @ 08:08 AM CST

Great post. I am always brought back to remembering the beauty and precision of those performer, while being able to deliver a charged performance. Gorgeous.
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Registered: 03/23/05
Posts: 752
Location: Irvine, CA
Re:Ella & Duke
Saturday, December 01 2007 @ 02:47 PM CST

God, thank you for this, I really needed that. I am deeply in love with Ella.

Re:Ella & Duke
Saturday, December 01 2007 @ 04:28 PM CST

Quote by: bonnieprincejohnny
Lush wig Ella. Deeply profound lyric I could feel his pain,but I don't believe Sinatra 'gave up' on it, thanks for posting Dad.

From NPR.org, commentator Ashley Kahn writes "Not everybody could sing it..."

"Lush Life" seems simple, but it's quite complex — emotionally and musically, with a very unusual structure. It even gave Frank Sinatra a hard time when he tried to record in 1958. He gave up on the song, laughing that he would "put it aside for about a year." But he never did return to it."

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Registered: 12/21/06
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Location: Ann Arbor, MI USA
Re:Ella & Duke
Saturday, December 01 2007 @ 04:33 PM CST

My favorite version of Lush Life is the one sung by Johnny Hartman that he does on the album John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman. It's the best:


and here is a tease clip from amazon:


I know who I am and you know who you are, but who and the hell do they think they are?
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Registered: 10/07/04
Posts: 523
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Re:Ella & Duke
Saturday, December 01 2007 @ 05:01 PM CST

Ella is my god. So incredible. The purest voice ever.