Harlem Nocturne

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"Harlem Nocturne"
Written by Earle Hagen, Dick Rogers
Written 1939
Recorded by Johnny Otis, Glenn Miller Orchestra, Ken Mackintosh, Bill Haley and His Comets, The Lounge Lizards, Duke Ellington, Harry James, Earl Bostic, King Curtis, Anton Szandor LaVey, Herbie Fields, Willy Deville, David Sanborn, Alicia Keys, Michael Lington, Sonny Moorman, The Ventures, Brian Setzer Orchestra, Danny Gatton, The Viscounts

"Harlem Nocturne" is a jazz standard written by Earle Hagen and Dick Rogers in 1939.[1] The song was adopted by bandleader Randy Brooks the next year as his theme song.[2]

"Harlem Nocturne" has been frequently recorded. Artists include Johnny Otis, the Glenn Miller Orchestra, British band Ken Mackintosh, Bill Haley and His Comets (performed live),[3] The Lounge Lizards, Duke Ellington, Harry James, Earl Bostic, King Curtis, Anton Szandor LaVey, Herbie Fields,[2] Willy Deville, David Sanborn,[4][5] Alicia Keys, Michael Lington,[6] Sonny Moorman, The Ventures, the Brian Setzer Orchestra, and guitarist Danny Gatton;[7] as well as Herbie Mann, Wildflower, Carla White, Vladimir Rusinov & The Jumping Cats, Stouxingers, Esquivel, Flat Duo Jets, Louis Prima & Sam Butera, Les & Larry Elgart, Rene Bloch, Ray Anthony, Les Brown & His Band of Renown, Chakachas, The Jake Concepcion Orchestra, Bill Doggett, Illinois Jacquet, The Knickerbockers, Quincy Jones, Boots Randolph, Quartet San Francisco, New York Ska-Jazz Ensemble, Charlie Musselwhite, Archie Ulm, Sam Taylor, Ulrich Tukur + Rhythm Boys, Mel Torme, Kustomized, Mel Taylor & The Magics, Louis Prima & Sam Butera, Terry Edwards & the Scapegoats with Lydia Lunch, Neil Lewis & His Quintet, and Brian Rodwell.[8] The haunting version by The Viscounts has the distinction of being a tune released twice by the same band and rising high on the Billboard charts each time:[9] first in 1959, when it peaked at #53, and again in 1966, peaking at #39 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.[2] It has been reported that there are about 500 covers of this classic.[8]

In 1990, pianist Kofi Wilmot gained popularity in the instrumental world for his cover from the album of the same name "Harlem Nocturne."[10]

It was also the theme song for the television series Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer[3] and The New Mike Hammer[11] Then there's the version by Harold Faltermeyer for the Tango & Cash soundtrack.

Some vocalists have recorded this song, adding lyrics to it. Mel Tormé recorded a version with lyrics for his 1963 album Songs of New York, beginning "a nocturne for the blues", and in 2009, Sylvia Brooks recorded a different one arranged by Jeff Colella, on her Dangerous Liaisons CD,[12] starting "deep music fills the night", which already has been covered.