Bye Bye Blackbird

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"Bye Bye Blackbird" is a song published in 1926 by the American composer Ray Henderson and lyricist Mort Dixon. It is considered a popular standard and was first recorded by Sam Lanin's Dance Orchestra in March 1926,[1].

Song information[edit]

Popular recordings in 1926 were by Nick Lucas, Gene Austin, Benny Krueger and by Leo Reisman.[2] It was the number 16 song of 1926 according to Pop Culture Madness.[3]

Other notable recordings[edit]

In Popular culture[edit]

In 1982, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) posthumously awarded John Coltrane a "Best Jazz Solo Performance" Grammy for the work on his album Bye Bye Blackbird.[8]

Recordings of the song often include only the chorus; the verses are far less known.[9]

The song was copied by Charlie and His Orchestra during World War II as part of Joseph Goebbels' propaganda campaign. The lyrics were changed to reflect the German political rhetoric of the time and were intended to demoralize the Allied forces. The tune was sung in English and aimed at United States and British troops, as well as British citizens. It was not permitted to play the song in Nazi Germany because the Nazi leadership forbade "degenerate" styles of music such as jazz.[citation needed]

Segregationists opposed to the American Civil Rights Movement, notably at the Selma to Montgomery marches, played the song over loudspeakers as a taunt.[10]

Two former Beatles have each recorded the song: Ringo Starr for his 1970 album Sentimental Journey, and Paul McCartney for his 2012 album Kisses on the Bottom. Both men have commented that the song was one of many "standards" that they grew up singing with their families.[11][12] McCartney also noted in the CD booklet for Kisses On The Bottom that he and John Lennon had liked the song so much that they had intended to record a Beatles version of it.

It is used in the musicals Liza with a Z and Fosse.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mort Dixon. "Cover versions of Bye Bye Blackbird by Sam Lanin's Dance Orchestra - SecondHandSongs".
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1986). Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890-1954. Wisconsin, USA: Record Research Inc. p. 482. ISBN 0-89820-083-0.
  3. ^ Pop Music Hits of 1926 Song Chart at Retrieved June 8, 2009.
  4. ^ "". Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  5. ^ "". Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  6. ^ "". Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  7. ^ "". Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  8. ^ John Coltrane, The Official Site Retrieved March 21, 2012.
  9. ^ "What are the rest of the lyrics to 'Bye, Bye, Blackbird?'", Retrieved June 8, 2009.
  10. ^ Renata Adler (1965-04-10). "Letter from Selma". The New Yorker. Retrieved September 24, 2013.
  11. ^ Sentimental Journey (Booklet). Ringo Starr. Apple, Apple Corps / Capitol, EMI. 1970. CDP 0777 7 98615 2 1.
  12. ^ Bye Bye Blackbird at Retrieved February 8, 2012.