|Music by||Lionel Hampton, Benny Goodman, Eddie DeLange|
|Lyrics by||Sid Robin|
|Form||32-bar AABA jazz composition|
|Recorded by||Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Ella Fitzgerald|
It was reportedly developed around a tune Hampton whistled as he nervously waited for his first flight on an aircraft. It was first recorded by the Benny Goodman Sextet on November 6, 1939 featuring solos by Hampton and Charlie Christian. Several other groups subsequently recorded the tune; however, the most famous version is a lively 1942 recording by Lionel Hampton and His Orchestra, featuring a tenor sax solo by Illinois Jacquet.
In 1979, Ella Fitzgerald recorded a seven-minute-plus rendering that can be found on the Pablo release Digital III at Montreux while an earlier Ella version (with Vic Schoen and his Orchestra) is included on the Decca release Lullabies of Birdland.
Illinois Jacquet solo
In 1942, at age 18, Jacquet soloed on the Hampton Orchestra version, one of the very first times a honking tenor sax was heard on record. The record became a hit. It was a jazz classic, as well as what can be considered one of the first rock and roll records. The song immediately became the climax for the live shows and Jacquet became exhausted from having to "bring down the house" every night. The solo was built to weave in and out of the arrangement and continued to be played by every saxophone player who followed Jacquet in the band, notably Arnett Cobb and Dexter Gordon, who achieved almost as much fame as Jacquet in playing it.
It is one of the very few jazz solos to have been memorized and have been played very much the same way by everyone who played the song. The solo helped influence and define the honking and wailing style of saxophone playing that became a feature of early Rhythm and Blues music.
Ralph Ellison named a short story, "Flying Home" (1944) after the song, which eventually became the title of a posthumous collection of his short stories.
Flying Home is the title of a 1978 novel by Morris Lurie. Lurie uses references to jazz in his stories.
- A Song is Born
- The Atomic Cafe
- Memphis Belle
- A League of Their Own
- Malcolm X (1992 film)
- The Hudsucker Proxy
- Mona Lisa Smile