Birdland (song)

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Single by Weather Report
from the album Heavy Weather
Released April 19, 1977
Format 7" and 12" single
Genre Jazz fusion
Length 5:58
Label Columbia, CBS, ARC
Songwriter(s) Joe Zawinul

"Birdland" is a jazz piece written by Joe Zawinul of the band Weather Report as a tribute to the Birdland nightclub in New York City. This was the club where Zawinul heard Count Basie,[1] Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Miles Davis. It was also where he met his wife, Maxine.[2] The Manhattan Transfer won a Grammy Award with their version of the song, which had lyrics by Jon Hendricks.[3]


"Birdland" marked the peak of Weather Report's commercial career with the release of Heavy Weather. With the addition of Jaco Pastorius, the band was able to push its music to the "height of its popularity", and with that came "Birdland." Weather Report's most commercially successful composition, "Birdland" served as a tribute to the New York City jazz club on 52nd street that housed many famous jazz musicians. The song was also named in honor of the man after whom the club was named, Charlie Parker, the 'Bird' himself. It was this club, which he frequented almost daily, that inspired Zawinul to write the song. Looking back, Zawinul claimed, "The old Birdland was the most important place in my life."[4]


Awards and honors[edit]

  • Inducted into Grammy Hall of Fame, 2010[5]


  1. ^ Milkowski, Bill (2005). Jaco: The Extraordinary and Tragic Life of Jaco Pastorius (Anniversary ed.). San Francisco: Backbeat Books. p. 99. ISBN 978-0-87930-859-9.
  2. ^ "Joe Zawinul Biography". Official Joe Zawinul Website. Retrieved 2018-07-27.
  3. ^ Feather, Leonard (18 February 1990). "Keyboardist Joe Zawinul: From Weather Report to Rap". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 7 October 2017.
  4. ^ Berendt and Huesmann, Joachim-Ernst and Gunther (2009). The Jazz Book: From Ragtime to 21st Century. Chicago, IL: Lawrence Hill.
  5. ^ "2010 Grammy Hall Of Fame Selections Announced". 15 May 2017. Retrieved 7 October 2017.