Blackbirds of 1928

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Blackbirds of 1928
Music Jimmy McHugh
Lyrics Dorothy Fields
Productions 1928 Broadway

Blackbirds of 1928 was a hit Broadway revue with music by Jimmy McHugh and lyrics by Dorothy Fields. It contained the songs "Diga Diga Do", the duo's first hit, "I Can't Give You Anything But Love", and "I Must Have That Man" all sung by Adelaide Hall.


Blackbirds of 1928 was the idea of impresario Lew Leslie, who planned to build the show around Florence Mills in New York after her success in the hit show Blackbirds in London 1926, but she died in 1927 before rehearsals started.


The show originally opened on 4 January 1928 under the title 'The Blackbird Revue' at Les Ambassadeurs Nightclub in New York before transferring to the Liberty Theatre where Lew Leslie changed its title to 'Blackbirds of 1928'.[1] The original Broadway production opened at Liberty Theatre on May 9, 1928 and ran for 518 performances and became the longest running all-black show on Broadway. It was directed by producer Lew Leslie and starred Adelaide Hall, Bill Robinson. Aida Ward, Tim Moore, Blue McAllister and the Famous Blackbirds Orchestra. Also in the cast were Elisabeth Welch, Mantan Moreland, Cecil Mack, and Nina Mae McKinney.

Musical numbers[edit]


  • Adelaide Hall acc. by George Rickson (piano) Baby & I must Have That Man. Victor Rec, 21 June 1928 (test) [2]
  • E-28059 Adelaide Hall with Lew Leslie's Blackbird Orchestra. I Must Have That Man & Baby. Brunswick 4031. 14 August 1928 [3]
  • B12773-A. Adelaide Hall with Duke Ellington & His Famous Orchestra-I Must Have That Man & b/w Baby. Blu Disc T1001 21 December 1932[4]
  • "Warren Mills and His Blue Serenaders" recorded "Gems from Blackbirds of 1928," being three titles, I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Doin' the New Lowdown and I Must Have That Man. This orchestra of 25 musicians included Arthur Whetsel, Bubber Miley and Freddie Jenkins on trumpet, Joe Nanton on trombone, Barney Bigard, Johnny Hodges and Harry Carney on reeds, Duke Ellington on piano, Fred Guy on banjo, Wellman Braud, bass, Sonny Greer, drums, an unknown female vocalist plus the 10 voice Hal Johnson choir, and Matty Malneck, violinist and conductor. - see Luciano Massagli and Giovanni M.Volonté, The New Desor, An updated edition of Duke Ellington's Story on Records 1924-1974, Milano, 1999 session DE2819 and Dr. Klaus Stratemann, Duke Ellington, Day by Day and Film by Film, Jazzmedia ApS, Denmark, p. 1. December 20, 1928,

1933 recordings[edit]

In February, 1933, Jack Kapp of Brunswick Records assembled an all-star group of Brunswick artists to record the entire score. Issued on 6 10" 78's (6516 through 6521), available in an album set (the first such set of popular music from a Broadway show) and also sold individually:

  • 6516 Duke Ellington & His Famous Orchestra-Blackbirds Medley, parts 1 and 2
  • 6518 Adelaide Hall with Duke Ellington and his Famous Orchestra- I Must have That Man & b/w Baby. Brunswick. 7 January 1933
  • 6519 Mills Brothers-I Can't Give You Anything But Love b/w Mills Brothers with Duke Ellington & His Famous Orchestra-Diga Diga Doo
  • 6520 Bill Robinson with Don Redman & His Orchestra-Doin' The New Lowdown b/w Don Redman & His Orchestra with Harry and Donald Mills-Shuffle Your Feet (And Just Roll Along) and Bandana Babies
  • 6517 Ethel Waters with Duke Ellington & His Famous Orchestra-I Can't Give You Anything But Love b/w Mills Brothers with Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington & His Famous Orchestra-Doin' The New Lowdown
  • 6521 Ethel Waters with Duke Ellington & His Famous Orchestra-Porgy b/w Cecil Mack Choir with Ethel Waters-St. Louis Blues

External links[edit]