Lullaby of Birdland

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"Lullaby of Birdland"
Composer(s)George Shearing
Lyricist(s)George David Weiss

"Lullaby of Birdland" is a jazz standard and popular song composed by George Shearing with lyrics by George David Weiss (under the pseudonym "B. Y. Forster").[2][3][4]


George Shearing wrote "Lullaby of Birdland" in 1952 for Morris Levy, the owner of the New York jazz club Birdland. Levy had gotten in touch with Shearing and explained that he'd started a regular Birdland-sponsored disk jockey show, and he wanted Shearing to record a theme which was "to be played every hour on the hour." Levy originally wanted his own music to be recorded, but Shearing insisted he couldn't relate very well with it and wanted to compose his own music. They compromised by sharing the rights of the song; the composer's rights went to Shearing, and the publishing rights went to Levy.[1][5]

Shearing stated in his autobiography that he had composed "the whole thing [...] within ten minutes."[1] He did not add; the chord changes were from Walter Donaldson's "Love me or Leave Me."[6][better source needed]

Jean Constantin composed the lyrics to a French version, "Lola ou La légende du pays aux oiseaux".[7]

Musical characteristics[edit]

"Lullaby of Birdland" is in thirty-two bar form, and its original key was F minor (or A major). The song spends an equal amount of time in both minor and major modes. It follows a I – vi – ii7 – V7 harmonic progression, and it has a I – viø7 – iiø7 – V7 minor variation.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Shearing, George; Shipton, Alyn (2004). Lullaby of Birdland. New York: Continuum. pp. 137–139. ISBN 9780826460158.
  2. ^ "Jazz Standards Songs and Instrumentals (Lullaby of Birdland)". Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  3. ^ The Real Book (Sixth ed.). Hal Leonard. 2004. p. 256. ISBN 0-634-06038-4.
  4. ^ Lyons, Leonard (1983). The Great Jazz Pianists: Speaking Of Their Lives And Music. New York: W. Morrow. p. 94. ISBN 068801920X. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  5. ^ Cimino, Al (1992). Great Record Labels. Secaucus, N.J.: Chartwell Books. p. 8. ISBN 1555217877. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  6. ^ List of jazz contrafacts
  7. ^ "Lullaby of birdland". 2 May 2011. Retrieved 2 May 2021 – via Open WorldCat.
  8. ^ McElrath, K.J. "Lullaby of Birdland (1952)". Retrieved 5 April 2019.