In the Mood

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This article is about the big band-era song popularized by Glenn Miller. For other uses, see In the Mood (disambiguation).
"In the Mood"
Single by Glenn Miller
B-side "I Want to Be Happy"
Released September 1939
Format 10" 78rpm
Recorded 1 August 1939
Genre Big band
Label Bluebird Records
Writer(s) Wingy Manone (c), Andy Razaf (w), Joe Garland (a)
"In the Mood"
Single by Ernie Fields
B-side "Christopher Columbus"
Released 1959
Format 7" 45rpm
Genre Jazz
Length 2:29
Label Rendezvous
Writer(s) Wingy Manone (c), Andy Razaf (w), Joe Garland (a)
Ernie Fields singles chronology
"In the Mood"
"Begin the Beguine"

"In the Mood" is a big band-era #1 hit recorded by American bandleader Glenn Miller. It topped the charts for 13 straight weeks in 1940 in the U.S. and one year later was featured in the movie Sun Valley Serenade.

In 1983, the Glenn Miller recording from 1939 was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

In 1999, National Public Radio (NPR) included the 1939 Glenn Miller recording on RCA Bluebird on the NPR 100, the list of "The 100 most important American musical works of the 20th century".[1]

In 2004, the 1939 Glenn Miller recording on RCA Victor was inducted into the Library of Congress National Recording Registry which consists of recordings that are "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."


"In the Mood" opens with a now-famous sax section theme based on repeated arpeggios that are rhythmically displaced; trumpets and trombones add accent riffs. The arrangement has two solo sections; a "tenor fight" or chase solo—in the most famous recording, between Tex Beneke and Al Klink—and a 16-bar trumpet solo by Clyde Hurley.[2] The arrangement is also famous for its ending: a coda that climbs triumphantly, then sounds a simple sustained unison tonic pitch with a rim shot.[3]

The final recording consisted of musical contributions by Joe Garland, Glenn Miller, Eddie Durham, and Chummy MacGregor in what can be termed a "head arrangement".


"In the Mood" was an arrangement by Joe Garland based on a pre-existing melody. Lyrics were added by Andy Razaf. The main theme, featuring repeated arpeggios rhythmically displaced, previously appeared under the title of "Tar Paper Stomp" credited to jazz trumpeter and bandleader Wingy Manone.[4] Manone recorded "Tar Paper Stomp" on August 28, 1930 in Richmond, Indiana and released it as a 78 single on Champion Records as by Barbecue Joe and his Hot Dogs, re-released in 1935 as by Wingy Manone's Orchestra.[5] The recording was re-released in 1937 as a Decca 78 single as by Wingy Manone and his Orchestra. Horace Henderson used the same riff in "Hot and Anxious", recorded by his brother's band, Fletcher Henderson and his Orchestra, on March 19, 1931, which was released on Columbia Records as by the Baltimore Bell Boys. Don Redman recorded "Hot and Anxious" in 1932 on Brunswick Records.

Under copyright laws, a tune that had not been written down and registered with the copyright office could be appropriated by any musician with a good ear. Wingy Manone had brought up the issue of the similarity between "Tar Paper Stomp" and "In the Mood" to Joe Garland and to the publishing company of the song, Shapiro, Bernstein, and Company of New York.[6] Manone also discussed the issue in Down Beat magazine. "Tar Paper Stomp" was copyrighted on November 6, 1941 as a pianoforte version by Peer International.[7]

The first recording of Joe Garland's version of "In the Mood" was made by Edgar Hayes and his Orchestra in 1938, with Garland participating, released as a B side to their recording of "Stardust" on Decca Records. In this recording there was a baritone sax duet rather than a tenor sax battle. The riff had appeared in a 1935 recording by the Mills Blue Rhythm Band entitled "There's Rhythm In Harlem" released on Columbia Records which had been composed and arranged by Garland. Before offering it to Glenn Miller, Garland sold the tune to Artie Shaw in 1938, who chose not to record it because the original arrangement was too long. However, he did perform the song in concert.[8] The initial Artie Shaw performance was over six minutes in length with a lackluster audience response.[9] The arranger of the Shaw version was Jerry Gray, who would join the Glenn Miller Orchestra in 1940. The band subsequently performed a shorter version. The Hayes recording was over three minutes in length to fit on one side of a 78 record.

Joe Marsala released a song entitled "Hot String Beans" on Vocalion in 1938 that also featured the riff from "Tar Paper Stomp".

Wingy Manone recorded a new song entitled "Jumpy Nerves" on April 26, 1939 that incorporated the riff from “Tar Paper Stomp” which was released as a 78 single that year on RCA Bluebird.

The tune was finally sold in 1939 to Glenn Miller, who played around with its arrangement for a while. Although the arrangers of most of the Miller tunes are known, things are a bit uncertain for "In the Mood". It is often thought[10] that Eddie Durham (who contributed other arrangements on the recording date of "In the Mood", August 1, 1939 as well), John Chalmers Chummy MacGregor (the pianist, composer, and arranger in the Glenn Miller Orchestra) and Miller himself contributed most to the final version. According to the account by MacGregor, "all they used of the original arrangement were the two front saxophone strains and another part that occurred later on in the arrangement."[11] Both MacGregor and Miller were involved in creating the final arrangement of the song: "MacGregor mentioned that additional solos were added to the original arrangement and he wrote the finishing coda. Miller probably edited some of the arrangement along with MacGregor."[12][13][14]

Two editions of the sheet music are in common circulation. The 1939 publication, credited to Garland and Razaf, is in A♭ and has lyrics beginning, "Mister What-cha-call-em, what-cha doin' tonight?" The 1960 reprint, credited only to Garland (with piano arrangement by Robert C. Haring), is in G and has lyrics beginning, "Who's the livin' dolly with the beautiful eyes?"


The personnel[15] on the landmark August 1, 1939 session at RCA studios in New York were: Glenn Miller, Al Mastren, and Paul Tanner, trombones; Clyde Hurley, Lee Knowles, and Dale McMickle, trumpets; Wilbur Schwartz, clarinet; Hal McIntyre, alto sax; Tex Beneke, Al Klink, and Harold Tennyson, tenor saxes; Chummy MacGregor, piano; Richard Fisher, guitar; Rowland Bundock, string bass; and Moe Purtill, drums.


Glenn Miller's "In the Mood" became the best selling swing instrumental.[3] While indisputably a hit, it represents an anomaly for chart purists. "In the Mood" was released in the period immediately prior to the inception of retail sales charts in Billboard magazine. While it led the Record Buying Guide (jukebox list) for 13 weeks and stayed on the Billboard charts for 30 weeks, it never made the top 15 on the sheet music charts, which were considered by many to be the true measure of popular song success. The popular Your Hit Parade program ranked the song no higher than ninth place, for one week only (1940).

The Glenn Miller 1939 recording on RCA Bluebird, B-10416-A, was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1983. It is one of the most recognized and popular instrumentals of the 20th century. A sample of the recording is heard in The Beatles' #1 1967 single "All You Need is Love", and in the Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers' worldwide 1989 hit, "Swing the Mood".

The song also appeared in the 1941 20th Century Fox film Sun Valley Serenade, the 1953 Universal International film The Glenn Miller Story, as well as in The Way We Were, Woody Allen’s Radio Days, 1941, Wild at Heart, Hope and Glory, Dorian Blues, The Philadelphia Experiment, The Marriage of Maria Braun, the 1998 remake of The Parent Trap, Shining Through, The Radioland Murders, The Black Dahlia, and Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. It has also appeared on television in The Simpsons, The Golden Girls, Dancing with the Stars, 90210, 'Scrubs, and Dr. Who.

Wartime release[edit]

1944 release as a U.S. Army V- Disc, No. 123B.

In February 1944, the Glenn Miller RCA Bluebird 1939 studio recording of "In the Mood" was released as a V-Disc, one of a series of recordings sent free by the U.S. War Department to overseas military personnel during World War II. Its designation was V-Disc 123B. The recording was also released as a Navy V-Disc as 132A. A second version, recorded by Glenn Miller's Overseas Band in 1945, was released as V-Disc 842B in May 1948. A new recording by Glenn Miller with the American Band of the Allied Expeditionary Forces (AEF) was broadcast to Germany in 1944 on the radio program The Wehrmacht Hour.[16][17]


1939 sheet music cover, "Introduced by Glenn Miller", Shapiro, Bernstein, and Co., New York.

Notable artists who have recorded big-band versions of "In The Mood" include Harry James in 1964, Joe Loss and his Orchestra, Xavier Cugat, Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington on Ellington '55, Benny Goodman in November, 1939 on the Camel Caravan radio program, Ray Anthony, Frankie Carle, Artie Shaw, The Casa Loma Orchestra, Lubo D'Orio, The Brian Setzer Orchestra, The Shadows, John Williams with the Boston Pops Orchestra, Sid Ramin, Nappy Lamare, Paul Kuhn, James Last, Doc Severinsen, Al Donahue with Paula Kelly on vocals, The Four King Sisters with Alvino Rey, The Six Swingers, and Bert Kaempfert.[18]

Non-big band renditions were recorded by the Andrews Sisters in 1952 and released on the album Sing, Sing, Sing and a 78 single, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chet Atkins, Bill Haley & His Comets, Bad Manners, and the Puppini Sisters.

The song charted at number 16 in 1953 in a version by Johnny Maddox.

In 1959 Ernie Fields and his Orchestra peaked at number 4 on the pop chart and number 7 on the R&B charts.[19]

Jonathan King scored a UK Top 50 hit with his version of the song in 1976.[citation needed]

In the 1950s, former Bando da Lua musician, producer Aloisio de Oliveira, wrote a humorous Portuguese lyric to this song, re-titling it as "Edmundo". This version was recorded by artists like Elza Soares and Brazilian surf rock/new wave group João Penca e Seus Miquinhos Amestrados.

A novelty version of the song was recorded by country/novelty artist Ray Stevens in 1977. Stevens' version consisted of him performing the song in chicken clucks, bar-for-bar. The performance was credited to the "Henhouse Five Plus Too". The single was a Top-40 hit in both America and the UK.[citation needed]

In 1951 a Ferranti Mark 1 computer at the University of Manchester played "In the Mood", one of the first songs to be played by a computer, and the oldest known recording of digitally generated music.[20]

Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers recorded a version of the song as part of a medley entitled "Swing the Mood" which went no. 1 in the UK for 5 weeks. The record reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States where it also went gold. It was the 2nd best-selling single of 1989 in the UK.

Bluesman John Lee Hooker has said that "In the Mood" was the inspiration for "I'm In the Mood" which became a #1 hit on the R&B Singles chart.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ NPR 100. The 100 most important American musical works of the 20th century.
  2. ^ Oliphant, Dave (June 15, 2010). "Hurley, Clyde Lanham, Jr.". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved February 15, 2015. With Miller Hurley was recorded playing perhaps the orchestra's most famous solo, the one for trumpet on Miller's "In the Mood." 
  3. ^ a b Gilliland, John (1994). Pop Chronicles the 40s: The Lively Story of Pop Music in the 40s (audiobook). ISBN 978-1-55935-147-8. OCLC 31611854.  Tape 2, side A.
  4. ^ Updike, John (2008). The Widows of Eatwick. New York, NY: Ballantine Books.
  5. ^ Wingy Manone. Red Hot Jazz.
  6. ^ Sullivan, Steve (2013). Encyclopedia of Great Popular Song Recordings, Volume 2. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, pp. 50-51.
  7. ^ Tar Paper Stomp. Catalog of Copyright Entries. Musical Compositions, 1941.
  8. ^ Rickert, David (December 27, 2005). "Glenn Miller: In the Mood". All About Jazz.
  9. ^ Sullivan, Steve (2013). Encyclopedia of Great Popular Song Recordings, Volume 2. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, p. 50.
  10. ^ Flower, John (1972). Moonlight Serenade: a bio-discography of the Glenn Miller Civilian Band. New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House, pages 79-81. ISBN 0-87000-161-2
  11. ^ Flower 1972, pp. 79-81.
  12. ^ Flower 1972, pp. 79-81.
  13. ^ Sullivan, Steve (2013). Encyclopedia of Great Popular Song Recordings, Volume 2. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, pp. 50-51.
  14. ^ Grudens, Richard (2004). Chattanooga Choo Choo: The Life and Times of the World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra. Stonybrook, NY: Celebrity Profiles, p. 198.
  15. ^ Jasen, David A. (2003). Tin Pan Alley: An Encyclopedia of the Golden Age of American Song. New York, NY: Routledge.
  16. ^ In the Mood (U.S. government German-language broadcast recording).
  17. ^ Glenn Miller German Wehrmacht Hour.
  18. ^ Second Hand Songs.
  19. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 201. 
  20. ^ BBC World 17 June 2008, Oldest computer music unveiled
  21. ^ The Very Best of John Lee Hooker. Rhino Records R2 71915. Liner Notes, Pg.6

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