Blue Tango

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"Blue Tango"
Single by Leroy Anderson
B-side"Belle of the Ball"
LabelDecca (27875)
Composer(s)Leroy Anderson

"Blue Tango" is an instrumental composition by Leroy Anderson, written for orchestra in 1951 and published in 1952. It was later turned into a popular song with lyrics by Mitchell Parish. Numerous artists have since covered "Blue Tango".[1]

Song history[edit]

An instrumental version of "Blue Tango" recorded by Anderson (Decca Records, catalog number 27875, with the flip side "Belle of the Ball"[2]) reached number one on the Billboard chart in 1952.[3] (According to other sources,[4] the Anderson recording first reached the charts on December 29, 1951.) Billboard ranked it as the number one song of 1952.[5] The same recording was released in 1952 by Brunswick Records (United Kingdom) as catalog number 04870, with the same flip side.[6]

Hugo Winterhalter and his orchestra recorded "Blue Tango" at Manhattan Center, New York City, on January 22, 1952. It was released by RCA Victor as catalog number 20-4518A, with the flip side "Gypsy Trail".[7] This version first reached the Billboard Best Seller chart on February 29, 1952 and lasted 18 weeks on the chart, peaking at #8.[3] (Other sources[4] give the first date on the charts as March 8, 1952, and the highest position as #6.) It was also released in Great Britain by EMI on the His Master's Voice label as catalog number B 10277.

Les Baxter and his orchestra released a version of "Blue Tango" by Capitol Records as catalog number 1681, with the flip side "Because of You".[8] This version first reached the Billboard Best Seller chart on March 14, 1952 and lasted 9 weeks on the chart, peaking at #22.[3] (Other sources[4] give the first date on the charts as March 15, 1952, and the highest position as #10.) This version was also released by Capitol Records in the United States as catalog number 1966,[8] in Australia as catalog number CP-117[9] and in the United Kingdom as catalog number CL 13703,[10] all with the flip side "Please Mr. Sun".

A recording of the song by Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians was released by Decca Records as catalog number 28031, with the flip side "At Last, At Last".[11] This version first reached the Billboard Best Seller chart on April 11, 1952 and lasted 10 weeks on the chart, peaking at #16.[3]

A vocal version was recorded by Alma Cogan in the United Kingdom in 1952. The song was also featured on the first UK Singles Chart the same year in another instrumental recording by orchestra leader Ray Martin.

The song was subsequently revived by Bill Black's Combo. This recording was released by Hi Records as catalog number 2027, with the flip side "Willie".[12] It first reached the Billboard charts on December 12, 1960 and lasted 7 weeks on the chart. On the composite chart of the top 100 songs, it reached #16.[13] This version (with the same flip side) was also released in Australia by London Records, as catalog number HL-1735.[14]


Anderson originally wrote "Blue Tango" for an orchestra consisting of two flutes, one piccolo, two oboes, two clarinets in B-Flat, two bassoons; four horns in F, three trumpets in B-Flat, two tenor trombones, bass trombone, tuba; a percussion section consisting of snare drum, bass drum and glockenspiel; and strings.

Amanda Lear version[edit]

"Blue Tango"
Single by Amanda Lear
from the album I Am a Photograph
B-side"Pretty Boys"
GenreEuro disco
LabelAriola Records
Songwriter(s)Leroy Anderson, Amanda Lear
Producer(s)Anthony Monn
Amanda Lear singles chronology
"Blue Tango"

French singer Amanda Lear recorded her own version of "Blue Tango", providing it with self-penned lyrics. The recording was included on her debut 1977 album I Am a Photograph and released as a 7" single in the Netherlands and Russia. The single was not a commercial success and did not chart.

Music videos[edit]

The music video referenced rumours on her alleged transsexualism, which circulated in media at that time. The clip opens with Lear wearing a mannish attire, a black tie and a bowler hat. The singer then "transforms" herself into a woman, taking the costume off and revealing a long bright dress. The video was first aired in Italian TV show Odeon on 18 October 1977.[15]

Another music video was produced for a popular German TV show Musikladen. It pictures the singer sat at the table while performing the song and smoking a cigarette. In 1982, another video for "Blue Tango" was released for Italian TV show Premiatissima, which Lear hosted at that time. The singer is pictured wearing a flamenco dress and repeating dance routines accompanied by male dancers. The video premiered on 25 December 1982[16] and was later included in Lear's Italian television special Ma chi è Amanda?.

Track listing[edit]

  • Dutch 7" Single (1977)[17]
A. "Blue Tango" – 2:40
B. "Pretty Boys" – 2:55
  • Russian 7" Single (1978)[18]
A. "Голубое Танго" ("Blue Tango")
B. "Кровь И Мед" ("Blood and Honey")

Other recorded versions[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Speed, Burgess; Eleanor Anderson; Steve Metcalf (September 2004). Leroy Anderson: A Bio-Bibliography. Praeger. ISBN 0-313-32176-0.
  2. ^ "DECCA (USA) numerical listing discography: 27500 - 27999". Retrieved 2007-12-18.
  3. ^ a b c d Whitburn, Joel (1973). Top Pop Records 1940-1955. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research.
  4. ^ a b c Lonergan, David (2004-01-28). Hit Records 1950-1975. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-0-8108-5129-0.
  5. ^ Billboard year-end top 30 singles of 1952
  6. ^ "Singles Discography for Brunswick Records - UK - pre 05000 series". Retrieved 2008-05-28.
  7. ^ "RCA Victor 20-prefix series: 4500 - 5000, 78rpm numerical listing discography". Retrieved 2007-12-18.
  8. ^ a b "Capitol 1500 - 2000, 78rpm numerical listing discography". Retrieved 2007-12-18.
  9. ^ "78 Discography for Capitol Records - OZ". Retrieved 2008-04-12.
  10. ^ "78 Discography for Capitol Records - UK CL 13000 series". Retrieved 2008-04-12.
  11. ^ "DECCA (USA) numerical listing discography: 28000 - 28500". Retrieved 2007-12-18.
  12. ^ "Hi Records discography". Retrieved 2008-04-12.
  13. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2000-11-01). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits (7th Rev. ed.). New York: Watson-Guptill Publications. ISBN 978-0-8230-7690-1.
  14. ^ "Singles discography for London Records - OZ - 1000 series". Retrieved 2008-06-11.
  15. ^ "VIDEOGRAPHY 1977 by Salvo Guercio". (in Italian). Archived from the original on June 10, 2004. Retrieved 2013-08-24.
  16. ^ "VIDEOGRAPHY 1982 by Salvo Guercio". (in Italian). Archived from the original on June 10, 2004. Retrieved 2013-08-26.
  17. ^ "BLUE TANGO 1977 Holland". Retrieved 2011-04-29.
  18. ^ "BLUE TANGO 1978 Russia". Retrieved 2011-04-29.
  19. ^ "45 Discography for Rim Records". Retrieved 2008-05-28.
  20. ^ "45 Discography for Jerden Records". Retrieved 2008-05-28.
  21. ^ "45 discography for Rainbow Records". Retrieved 2008-05-28.
  22. ^ "45 discography for Aladdin Records". Retrieved 2008-06-11.
  23. ^ "45 discography for Coral Records 62000 series". Retrieved 2008-05-28.
  24. ^ "Singles Discography for Pye Records - UK 15000 series". Retrieved 2008-06-11.
  25. ^ "45 Discography for Jubilee Records". Retrieved 2008-05-28.
  26. ^ "45 Discography for Cameo Records". Retrieved 2008-05-28.