Avalon (Al Jolson song)

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"Avalon"
Al Jolson Avalon cover.jpg
Written by Al Jolson, Buddy DeSylva, Vincent Rose
Written 1920
Form Jazz standard
Original artist Al Jolson
Al Jolson's 1920 recording of "Avalon".

"Avalon" is a 1920 popular song written by Al Jolson, Buddy DeSylva and Vincent Rose referencing Avalon, California.[1] It was introduced by Jolson and interpolated in the musicals Sinbad and Bombo. Jolson's recording rose to number two on the charts in 1921.[1] The song was possibly written by Rose, but Jolson's popularity as a performer allowed him to claim composer co-credit.[1] Originally, only Rose and Jolson were credited, and DeSylva's name was added later.[1]

A popular jazz standard, the song has been recorded by many artists, including Cab Calloway (1934), Coleman Hawkins (1935) and Eddie Durham (1936). The Benny Goodman Quartet played the song in their famous 1938 Carnegie Hall concert.[1] The song was included in the biographical films The Jolson Story (1946) and The Benny Goodman Story (1956), and is also being noodled by Sam (Dooley Wilson) at the piano right before he plays As Time Goes By in the movie Casablanca (1942).[2] The tune remains popular in the gypsy jazz repertoire, having been performed by Wawau Adler and others.

The tune's opening melody resembles a part of Giacomo Puccini's aria E lucevan le stelle, from the opera Tosca, but in the major key.[1] Puccini's publishers sued the song's composers in 1921 for use of the melody, and were awarded $25,000 and all subsequent royalties of the song by the court.[1]

Renditions[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Tyle, Chris. "Avalon (1920)". JazzStandards.com. Retrieved 2009-08-19. 
  2. ^ Jasen, David A. (2002). A Century of American Popular Music: 2000 Best-Loved and Remembered Songs (1899-1999). Taylor & Francis. p. 14. ISBN 0-415-93700-0. 
  3. ^ Crawford, Richard; Magee, Jeffrey (1992). Jazz Standards on Record, 1900–1942: A Core Repertory. Center for Black Music Rsrch. pp. 6–7. ISBN 0-929911-03-2. 

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