Tuxedo Junction

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For the community in Santa Cruz County, California formerly known as Tuxedo Junction, see Mount Hermon, California.
"Tuxedo Junction"
Tuxblu.jpg
RCA Bluebird, B-10612-A
Song by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra
Released 1938
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. Julian Dash is also credited for the music. Buddy Feyne wrote the lyrics.[1] The instrumental was a no. 1 hit for Glenn Miller and his Orchestra in 1940.

Background[edit]

The song was introduced by the Erskine Hawkins Orchestra, a college dance band formerly known as the Bama State Collegians. "Tuxedo Junction" rose to number 7 on the national hit parade in 1939.[2]

In the late 1930's Hawkins and his Orchestra were one of the house bands at the Savoy Ballroom. They alternated with the Chick Webb band, and often used Tuxedo Junction as their sign-off song before the next band would take the stage, so that the dancing would continue uninterrupted. [3] A live 6 1/2 minute version of the song by the Hawkins Orchestra exists, with extended solos from Hawkins on the trumpet, Paul Bascomb and Julian Dash on tenor saxophones, and Heywood Henry on the clarinet. It was recorded as an aircheck in the summer of 1942 at the Blue Room club in New York City. [4]

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. Miller's arrangement slowed down the tempo and added trumpet fanfares. The Glenn Miller recording sold 115,000 copies in the first week alone.[5] It was featured in the 1953 Glenn Miller biopic The Glenn Miller Story starring James Stewart and Harry Morgan.

"Tuxedo Junction" was covered by numerous bands and swing orchestras and solo artists, including 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.[6] 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".[7]

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.[8]

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 "Tuxedo Junction." Erskine explained that the Jucntion was a whistle stop on the "Chitlin' circuit", and that information inspired Feyne's lyrics, which Hawkins preferred to the other submissions. Once the song had been published, "white" bands such as Miller's added it to their playlists.[9] 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.[10]

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 2014-07-17. 
  2. ^ Krikorian, David. "Hawkins, Erskine (Ramsey)". Jazz.com. Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians. 
  3. ^ Wanser, Jeff (8 October 2007). "Erskine Hawkins". Encyclopedia of Alabama. Alabama Humanities Foundation. Retrieved 4 August 2014. 
  4. ^ Morgantini, Jacques; Waterhouse, Joyce (2000). Erskine Hawkins & his Orchestra vol. 2 : Holiday for Swing 1940/1948 (booklet). Erskine Hawkins. Paris: EPM Musique. 159762. 
  5. ^ Simon, George T. Glenn Miller and His Orchestra. NY: Crowell, 1974.
  6. ^ "Manhattan Transfer Discography". Retrieved 2011-01-24. 
  7. ^ "Disco Funk Music 70 & 80 Tuxedo Junction". Retrieved 2011-01-24. 
  8. ^ "Tuxedo Junction". Retrieved 2011-01-24. 
  9. ^ "Buddy Feyne Tuxedo Junction history". Retrieved 2011-01-24. 
  10. ^ "Buddy Feyne Film". Retrieved 2011-01-24.