Blue Velvet (song)
|Single by The Clovers|
|from the album Blue Velvet|
|Format||12" vinyl record|
|Genre||Rhythm and blues|
"Blue Velvet" is a popular song written in 1950 by Bernie Wayne and Lee Morris. A top 20 hit for Tony Bennett in its original 1951 version, the song has since been recorded many times, with a 1963 version by Bobby Vinton reaching #1.
- 1 Background
- 2 Tony Bennett version
- 3 The Clovers version
- 4 The Statues version
- 5 Bobby Vinton version
- 6 Lana Del Rey version
- 7 Other recordings
- 8 Use in film soundtracks
- 9 References
- 10 External links
While visiting friends in Richmond, Virginia, songwriter Bernie Wayne stayed at the Jefferson Hotel, and it was the sight of a woman at a party held at the Jefferson which inspired Wayne to write the lyric for "Blue Velvet". When Wayne pitched "Blue Velvet" to Columbia Records head A&R man Mitch Miller he'd only played the opening line: "She wore blue velvet ...", when Miller interrupted saying: "How about [my giving the song to] Tony Bennett?" Wayne's response: "Don't you want to hear the rest of the song", drew this advice from Miller: "Quit while you're ahead!" 
Tony Bennett version
The first artist for whom "Blue Velvet" was a hit was Tony Bennett who recorded the song in a 17 July 1951 session with the Percy Faith orchestra: released 21 September 1951, Bennett's "Blue Velvet" peaked at #16 on the Billboard chart of "Records Most Played by Disc Jockeys", while reaching #18 on Billboard's chart of "Best Selling Pop Singles",  and #18 on Billboard's chart of "Most Played Juke Box Records". Bennett's version made its album debut on a 1958 compilation disc entitled Blue Velvet. A live version of "Blue Velvet" was featured on the 1962 concert album Tony Bennett at Carnegie Hall with the track being included on The Good Life a 1963 EP release in the UK. Bennett dueted with k.d. lang on a remake of "Blue Velvet" for his 2011 album Duets II while Bennett's 2012 album Viva Duets featured Bennett duetting on "Blue Velvet" with Maria Gadú who sang her part in Portuguese ("Blue Velvet" was a bonus cut on an edition of Viva Duets sold exclusively through Target).
The Clovers version
"Blue Velvet" was recorded by the Clovers for their album of the same name. Released in 1955 through Atlantic Records, the song was released as a single on 10" shellac. The song was initially recorded, produced, and released when the R&B group was still consisted of John "Buddy" Bailey (lead singer), Billy Mitchell, Matthew McQuater, Harold Lucas, Harold Winley, Bill Harris. Various members of the group left, died, or were replaced, although the group as a whole still performed the song regardless of whom its members were. The track reached #14 on Billboard's Rhythm & Blues Records chart of "Best Sellers in Stores".
The Statues version
The first version of "Blue Velvet" to appear on the Billboard Hot 100 during the rock 'n' roll era was by the Statues, a Nashville-based doo-wop trio whose membership was Buzz Cason, Hugh Jarrett and Richard Williams. In 1959 Cason and Williams, members of local rockabilly band the Casuals, had been invited by Jarrett, a former member of the Jordanaires and currently a disc jockey at WLAC, to join him - along with veteran background songstress and composer Marijohn Wilkin - to form a vocal chorale who would back artists recording in Nashville: the three male members of the chorale were signed to Liberty Records by label founder Al Bennett, who had Snuff Garrett - in his apparent debut as a producer - record the trio in three sessions at the Owen Bradley Studio at the end of November or the beginning of December 1959. Two sides from the Garrett sessions had a May 1960 single release credited to the Statues (the group name was a reference to the Statue of Liberty, as the group was signed to Liberty Records): the intended A-side was the Marijohn Wilkin original co-write (with Polly Harrison) "Keep the Hall Light Burning" but it was the flip: a remake of "Blue Velvet", which would not only become a Top Ten hit in Nashville but also rank on regional hit parades across the US rising as high as #8 on the 30 September 1960 Top 50 survey for preeminent Los Angeles Top 40 station KRLA. However the "Blue Velvet" by the Statues would only accrue enough focused national interest to rank on the Hot 100 for a period of three weeks in August 1960 with a peak of #84.
Snuff Garrett had also recorded Buzz Cason solo on a cover version of the UK hit "Look For a Star" and Cason's version - released under the name Garry Miles (evidently to promote confusion with the original version by Garry Mills - had become a Top 20 hit in the summer of 1960: as well as his solo career as Garry Miles, Cason had also remained a member of the Casuals who were long established as the road band for Brenda Lee, also providing backing for gigs by other acts. Although the follow-up to both the Statues' "Blue Velvet" and Garry Miles' "Look for a Star" was a one-off "Garry Miles and the Statues"' release entitled "Dream Girl" Cason was unable and/or uninterested in prioritizing his involvement with the Statues - which group would be identified in the obituary for Richard Williams as a "studio-only vocal trio" -: the Statues' second single release after "Dream Girl": the Moonglows remake "[Ten] Commandments of Love" in August 1961, would be the last sign of life in the group's career.
Bobby Vinton version
|Single by Bobby Vinton|
|from the album Blue on Blue|
|B-side||"Is There a Place (Where I Can Go)"|
|Format||Vinyl, 7 in, 45 RPM|
|Bobby Vinton singles chronology|
The most successful recording of "Blue Velvet" was released by Bobby Vinton in 1963. Vinton's version reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on 21 September 1963 and remained at #1 for the subsequent two weeks. "Blue Velvet" also afforded Vinton a #1 hit on the U.S. Middle-Road Singles chart, where its #1 tenure was eight weeks.
Vinton's #3 hit in the summer of 1963: "Blue on Blue", prompted the recording of the Blue on Blue album comprising songs featuring the word "blue" in the title. Vinton's friend, music publisher Al Gallico, suggested "Blue Velvet" as a Blue on Blue album track and sent his secretary with a dollar to a music store to purchase the song's sheet music: an hour later Vinton recorded "Blue Velvet" in two takes. Vinton did not expect the song to be a hit, and believed his remake of "Am I Blue?" had more sales potential. Vinton's version was ranked #8 on Cash Box's "Top 100 Chart Hits of 1964".
|US Billboard Hot 100 ||1|
|US Billboard Middle-Road Singles ||1|
|Canada – CHUM Hit Parade ||1|
|New Zealand – "Lever Hit Parade" ||1|
|South Africa ||6|
|Peru – La Prensa ||8|
|Australia – Music Maker ||9|
|UK Singles Chart ||2|
|Irish Singles Chart ||3|
|Flemish Belgium ||38|
Lana Del Rey version
|Single by Lana Del Rey|
|from the album Paradise|
|Released||September 20, 2012|
|Lana Del Rey singles chronology|
American singer and songwriter Lana Del Rey released a cover of the song "Blue Velvet" in 2012. It was taken from reissue of her second studio album Born to Die – The Paradise Edition and her third EP, Paradise. It was released as a single on September 20, 2012, through Interscope Records, and used in an advertising campaign for the clothing retailer H&M.
Del Rey had recorded a cover of "Blue Velvet" for her 2012 H&M Autumn campaign. On September 20, the song was released as a single. Del Rey was selected for the H&M ad campaign after an impressionable performance at a Mulberry dinner party. Industry moguls Michelle Williams, Alexa Chung, Elizabeth Olsen, and Anna Wintour attended the party and were impressed by the performance. A public relations manager for H&M said Del Rey was chosen because they "were looking for a style icon and singer to model our fall collection and so Lana Del Rey was the perfect choice".
On September 19, the music video, which serves as a commercial for the H&M 2012 Autumn Collection as well, for "Blue Velvet" was released through H&M. In the video, Del Rey is singing the song in a low-lit room before an audience of pallid people, playing an Americana lounge singer dressed in a pink mohair sweater, She is then hypnotized. Three women dressed identically to Del Rey sit on a couch and watch her coldly. At the end, a little man walks into the room, pulls out the plug for Del Rey's microphone, silencing her. Compared to the David Lynch film of the same name, it was directed by Johan Renck. and composed in post-World War II Americana fashion and the notion of external beauty cloaking inner vulnerability. A behind the scenes video was filmed and posted to H&M's official YouTube channel.
Rolling Stone called Del Rey's cover "doleful". Carl Williot of Idolator dubbed Del Rey's cover, "beautifully languorous and dreary (though [it] is replete with her go-to swell of strings and grainy programmed beats). Jenna Hally Rubenstein, writing for MTV, called the commercial and vocals, "moody, totally broody", playfully adding, "what would a Lana Del Rey campaign be if it didn't make you feel a tad depressed?" In the video, Rubenstein said Del Rey was a "ridiculous beauty" sporting a Brigitte Bardot–inspired look, which she added, not every singer can pull off. People said the video was dramatic, intriguing, unique, and played off the moody, vintage Hollywood image of the retro-inspired starlet. Appropriately, they wrote, the video had film noir elements. Specifically, it was compared to the neo-noir film, Mulholland Drive as well as the film Blue Velvet itself. In an interview with Artinfo, David Lynch spoke out about Del Rey's cover:
|“||Lana Del Rey, she's got some fantastic charisma and — this is a very interesting thing — it's like she's born out of another time. She's got something that's very appealing to people. And I didn't know she was influenced by me! ||”|
- "Digital download" 
- "Blue Velvet" – 2:36
Credits adapted from the liner notes of Paradise.
- Lana Del Rey – vocals
- The Larry Gold Orchestra – strings
- Technical and production
|Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)||40|
|Germany (Official German Charts)||49|
|Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)||42|
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||60|
|France ||September 20, 2012||Digital download||Universal|
|United Kingdom ||Polydor|
|United States ||September 25, 2012||Interscope|
- The first public performance of the song was by singer Ray Mason in 1950 at a fashion show in Boston.
|• The Moonglows album Look! It's the Moonglows/ 1958||• Bobby Rydell album The Top Hits Of 1963/ 1964|
|• Tommy Sands album Sands Storm!/ 1958||• Pat Boone album Near You/ 1965|
|• The Velours single/ 1959||• The Lettermen album More Hit Sounds Of The Lettermen!/ 1966|
| • The Paragons  single/ 1960
|• Don Cherry album Let It Be Me/ 1968|
|• The Dubs album The Dubs Meet The Shells/ 1962||• Jerry Vale album "Jerry Vale sings 16 Greatest Hits Of The 60's"/ 1970|
| • Lawrence Welk and His Orchestra (instrumental single/ 1963)
|• Jimmy Velvet single/ 1969|
|• Arthur Prysock album Coast to Coast/ 1963||• Leon Ware album Undercover/ 1987|
| • Vince Hill single/ 1963
| • Houston Person (instrumental) album The Party/ 1991
|• Sammy Davis Jr. album Sammy Davis Jr. Sings the Big Ones for Young Lovers/ 1964|| • Houston Person (instrumental) album Blue Velvet/ 2001
| • Rob de Nijs as "Hoe Heet Je?" Dutch single/ 1963
|• Jo Vally (nl) as "Diep in jouw ogen" Flemish album Zingt wereldhits/ 2003|
|• Trini Lopez album The Love Album/ 1963||• Dave album Doux tam-tam/ 2004|
| • Vince Hill album At the Club/ 1964
|• Barry Manilow album The Greatest Songs of the Sixties/ 2006|
|• Brenda Lee album By Request/ 1964||• Jason Donovan album Let It Be Me/ 2008|
|• Johnny Tillotson album Talk Back Trembling Lips/ 1963||• Thomas Truax album Songs From The Films Of David Lynch/ 2009|
Use in film soundtracks
Bobby Vinton's "Blue Velvet" is one of the thirteen songs featured in Kenneth Anger's groundbreaking experimental film Scorpio Rising (1963). Tony Bennett's version of the song is featured in The Last Picture Show and Raging Bull.
Bobby Vinton's version is featured several times in David Lynch's film, Blue Velvet (1986). The film is partly inspired by the song's lyrics, where Isabella Rossellini, who plays a singer in the film, also sings the song in-character. Lynch selected the song, because it conceptually matched the mood of the film. Specifically, Lynch said of the song: "The mood that came with that song a mood, a time, and things that were of that time". The film itself heavily incorporates portions of the song. During filming, Lynch placed speakers on set and in streets and played Shostakovich to set the correct mood he wanted to convey for the song. The score makes direct quotations from Shostakovich's 15th Symphony, which Lynch had been listening to regularly while writing the screenplay.
Bobby Vinton's version is featured once, in the fourteenth episode of Kamen Rider Kuuga, as the Gurongi Me-Gyarido-Gi backs up a truck.
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- Billboard Vol 72 #34 (22 August 1960) p. 34
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- "CHUM Hit Parade", CHUM, Week of October 07, 1963
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