Blue Gardenia (song)

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Blue Gardenia is the title of a torch song composed by Lester Lee and Bob Russell for the 1953 movie The Blue Gardenia in which a recording of the song serves as a crucial plot point.[1] The song was recorded for The Blue Gardenia by Nat King Cole who also performs the song in the film as a lounge singer. Cole recorded "Blue Gardenia" in a 20 January 1953 session at the Capitol Records Recording Studio in Hollywood, featuring the Nelson Riddle orchestra. The track was issued as the B-side of Cole's #16 hit "Can't I". [2]

"Blue Gardenia" would become a signature song of Dinah Washington whose initial recording was made in the 15 March 1955 New York City sessions for the singer's album For Those in Love which was produced by Quincy Jones.[3] Washington would make a latterday recording of the song in the 15 August 1961 sessions for her album I Wanna Be Loved, which version featured the Quincy Jones Orchestra.[4] The 1955 version was featured in the soundtrack of the 1995 film The Bridges of Madison County.[5]

The song has also been recorded on albums by Helen Merrill (You've Got a Date With the Blues/ 1958), Johnny Mathis (Faithfully/ 1960), Gloria Lynne (Intimate Moments/ 1965),[6] Bobby Scott (Star/ 1969), [7]Bruno Martino (I Remember 1945/ 1973),[8] Irene Kral (The Gentle Rain/ 1977),[9]Audrey Morris (Film Noir/ 1989),[6] Della Griffin (Travelin' Light/ 1992), [10] Diane Schuur (Love Walked In/ 1995), Etta James (Blue Gardenia/ 2001 - featuring Dorothy Leatherwood), Patti Wicks (Love's Locked Out/ 2003), Stephanie Nakasian (Thrush Hour: A Study of the Great Ladies of Jazz/ 2006), Joanna Pascale (de) (Through My Eyes/ 2008), China Moses (vocalist) & Raphaël Lemonnier (pianist) (This One's For Dinah/ 2009), and the Branford Marsalis Quartet with vocalist Kurt Elling (Upward Spiral/ 2016).[6]Diane Marino ("Soul Serenade" 2018) Instrumental versions of Blue Gardenia have been recorded on albums by Lee Morgan (Standards/ 1998 release of 1967 recording), Dexter Gordon (Landslide/ 1982), Ran Blake (Film Noir/ 1980).[6] and Charles Davis (Blue Gardenia/ 2003).[11]


  1. ^ Gabbard, Krin (2014). Kiss the Blood Off My Hands: classic film noir. Chicago: University of Illinois Press. pp. 72–76. ISBN 978-0-252-09651-8.
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  3. ^ Vail, Ken (2002). Duke's Diary: the life of Duke Ellington 1950-1974 Part 2. Lanham MD: Scarecrow Press. p. 79. ISBN 978-0810841192.
  4. ^ Ruppli, Michel; Novitsky, Ed (1993). The Mercury Labels: the 1956-1964 era. Westport CT: Greenwood Press. p. 393. ISBN 978-0313290312.
  5. ^ Hughes, Howard (2009). Aim for the Heart: the films of Clint Eastwood. London: I.B. Tauris & Co. p. 112. ISBN 9781845119027.
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