Tuxedo Junction

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"Tuxedo Junction"
Tuxblu.jpg
RCA Bluebird, B-10612-A
Song by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra
Released 1940
Label RCA Bluebird
Writer Buddy Feyne
Composer Erskine Hawkins
Bill Johnson Julian Dash

"Tuxedo Junction" is a song co-written by Birmingham, Alabama composer Erskine Hawkins and saxophonist and arranger Bill Johnson.[1] Julian Dash is also credited for the music.[2] Buddy Feyne wrote the lyrics. The instrumental was a no. 1 hit for Glenn Miller and his Orchestra in 1941.

Background[edit]

The song was introduced by Erskine Hawkins's orchestra. The lyrics were written by Buddy Feyne.[3] This original version, by the Erskine Hawkins Orchestra (the new name for the college dance band known as the Bama State Collegians) rose to number 7 on the national hit parade.

Glenn Miller and His Orchestra had the most successful recording of the song in a best-selling (Billboard Number 1) record, RCA Bluebird B-10612-A, in 1939 in an arrangement by Glenn Miller which slowed down the tempo and added trumpet fanfares. The Glenn Miller recording sold 115,000 copies in the first week alone.[4] It was featured in the 1953 Glenn Miller biopic The Glenn Miller Story starring James Stewart and Harry Morgan.

It was covered by numerous bands and swing orchestras and solo artists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Frankie Avalon and Joe Jackson, and became the theme song for The Manhattan Transfer, first recorded on their album The Manhattan Transfer in 1975.[5] Bob Marley used this song as an inspiration for his hit "Kaya". It was also the inspiration for an all-girl disco group, entitled "Tuxedo Junction".[6]

The song is about a jazz and blues club in the Birmingham, Alabama suburb of Ensley. The area is referred to as "Tuxedo Junction", even though the building is called the "Nixon Building" (built in 1922). This is due to the location of a streetcar crossing at Tuxedo Park, hence "Tuxedo Junction". The empty building still stands at 1728 20th Street as a testament to the musical heritage of the area. A punk rock venue bearing the same name operated near there briefly in the mid 1980s.[7]

The song was originally written as an instrumental. When it was given to Lewis Music Publishing, they farmed it out to several prospective lyricists to see who could write the best words that matched the song. Buddy Feyne asked Erskine Hawkins why he titled it as such. Erskine mentioned that it was a whistle stop on the "Chitlin' circuit", which led to Feyne's lyrics. Hawkins selected his above the other candidates. Once the song had been published, then the white bands added it to their playlist.[8] Stan Kenton included it on his 1961 Mellophonium Magic album

The song has been used in various movies, including Big Band films The Glenn Miller Story, The Gene Krupa Story and the Woody Allen film The Curse of the Jade Scorpion.[9]

1940 sheet music cover for the Glenn Miller recording, Lewis Music, New York.

Cultural references[edit]

Tuxedo Junction is the name of a fine formal wear company founded in 1957 in Toronto, Canada.

Tuxedo Junction is a company started in Buffalo, New York in 1969 and has since become a nationwide chain.

Tuxedo Junction is where Felice's parents live in Toni Morrison's Jazz.

Tuxedo Junction was a disco group that recorded the song in the 1970s.

Tuxedo Junction is also the name of singer Josh Ramsay's cat, who also made a surprise appearance in New.Music.Live. when she jumped up next to him while he was in an interview.

Historical references[edit]

Mount Hermon, CA was known as Tuxedo Junction prior to 1906.

During the Depression, there was a small rural corner called "Tuxedo Junction" in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

The Erskine Hawkins version of "Tuxedo Junction" is mentioned by Malcolm X in chapter 2 of his Autobiography.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ "ASCAP ACE song search". Retrieved 2011-01-24. 
  2. ^ "ASCAP ACE song search". Retrieved 2011-01-24. 
  3. ^ "ASCAP ACE song search". Retrieved 2011-01-24. 
  4. ^ Simon, George T. Glenn Miller and His Orchestra. NY: Crowell, 1974.
  5. ^ "Manhattan Transfer Discography". Retrieved 2011-01-24. 
  6. ^ "Disco Funk Music 70 & 80 Tuxedo Junction". Retrieved 2011-01-24. 
  7. ^ "Tuxedo Junction". Retrieved 2011-01-24. 
  8. ^ "Buddy Feyne Tuxedo Junction history". Retrieved 2011-01-24. 
  9. ^ "Buddy Feyne Film". Retrieved 2011-01-24.