Harlem Nocturne

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"Harlem Nocturne"
Instrumental by Ray Noble Orchestra
Composer(s)Earle Hagen, Dick Rogers

"Harlem Nocturne" is a jazz standard written by Earle Hagen and Dick Rogers in 1939 for the Ray Noble orchestra, of which they were members.[1] The song was chosen by the big-band leader Randy Brooks the next year as his theme song.[2]

The version by the Viscounts has the distinction of being released twice and rising high on the Billboard charts each time:[3] first in 1959, when it peaked at #53, and again in 1966, peaking at #39 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.[2]

"Harlem Nocturne" was the theme song of the television series Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer[4] and The New Mike Hammer.[5]

Harold Faltermeyer recorded a version for the soundtrack to the film Tango & Cash.

In 1990, the pianist Kofi Wilmot gained popularity in the instrumental world for his cover version from the album of the same name, Harlem Nocturne.[6]

Danny Gatton released a version in 1993 on his album Cruisin' Deuces (Elektra/Rhino).

The Sonny Moorman Group released a version on their 2009 “Live As Hell” album (Atlas Records).

Some singers have recorded "Harlem Nocturne", adding lyrics. Mel Tormé recorded a version with lyrics for his 1963 album Sings "Sunday In New York" And Other Songs About New York, beginning with "a nocturne for the blues". Sylvia Brooks recorded a different version, arranged by Jeff Colella, on her album Dangerous Liaisons in 2009,[7] starting with "deep music fills the night", which has since been covered. Other vocal versions are by Ernestine Anderson, Carla White, Denise Jannah, Bonnie Bramlett, and Jacintha. Brian Setzer does a version loosely based on the theme called "Hollywood Nocturne".


"Harlem Nocturne" has been recorded by many diverse artists, including:


  1. ^ "'Andy Griffith' Composer Dies at 88". CNN. May 27, 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-06-18. Retrieved 2008-12-15.
  2. ^ a b c Marsh, Dave (1999). The Heart of Rock & Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made. De Capo Press. p. 610. ISBN 978-0-306-80901-9.
  3. ^ Joel Whitburn, The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits. 7th edn, 2000.
  4. ^ a b McLellan, Dennis (May 28, 2008). "Television Composer Earle Hagen Wrote Memorable Tunes". Seattle Times. Retrieved 2008-12-15.
  5. ^ The New Mike Hammer on IMDb
  6. ^ "Harlem Nocturne Overview". Allmusic.com.
  7. ^ Dangerous Liaisons at AllMusic
  8. ^ "42 Versions of Harlem Nocturne", WFMU's Beward of the Blog, May 29, 2008.
  9. ^ Gress, Jesse (2006). Guitarevolution: Lessons from the Groundbreakers & Innovators. CMP Media. p. 84. ISBN 0-87930-868-0.
  10. ^ "Michael Lington Overview". Allmusic.com.
  11. ^ "Time Again Overview". Allmusic.com.
  12. ^ "Time Again – David Sanborn". JazzTimes.com.
  13. ^ Jan Harbeck