Poinciana (song)

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Poinciana tree

"Poinciana" is a song by Nat Simon with lyrics by Buddy Bernier written in 1936. The tune is based on a Cuban folk tune "La canción del árbol" ("The song of the tree"). The poinciana tree itself, Delonix regia, is a tree introduced to Cuba from Madagascar.[1]

Glenn Miller performed it in the late 1930s with his civilian band and then again in 1943 using lush strings with his Army Air Force Band. There were three hit versions in 1944: Benny Carter and His Orchestra; Bing Crosby (recorded October 1, 1943);[2] and David Rose and His Orchestra.[3][4]

The song subsequently became a standard covered by artists including Ahmad Jamal, Frank Sinatra, George Shearing, Johnny Mathis, Nat King Cole, Vic Damone, Keith Jarrett, Percy Faith, Diane Schuur, Caterina Valente, Robert Goulet, The Four Freshmen, MFSB, The Manhattan Transfer, Steve Lawrence (this was a minor hit in 1952), Vulfpeck, Gerry Mulligan with Chet Baker, Jerome Richardson, Shelly Manne, Billy Taylor, Booker Ervin, Lou Donaldson, and Lew Tabackin In 1978 disco duo Paradise Express recorded a version which made the top 20 on the disco charts.[5]

The song was widely popularised in the 1952 film Dreamboat when it was played in the night club. The song was featured again in the 1995 film The Bridges of Madison County when it was performed by Ahmad Jamal.


  1. ^ Sanatorium p. 508 Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami, Dasa Dattatreya Dasa - 2010 "Poinciana". Song with lyrics by Buddy Bernier and music by Nat Simon, written in 1936. The poinciana, or flame tree, is an ornamental tree with strikingly beautiful orange and scarlet blossoms that grows in tropical and subtropical"
  2. ^ "A Bing Crosby Discography". BING magazine. International Club Crosby. Retrieved September 9, 2017.
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1986). Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890-1954. Wisconsin, USA: Record Research Inc. p. 568. ISBN 0-89820-083-0.
  4. ^ Ted Gioia, The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire p. 337 2012 "... 1996 Poinciana Composed by Nat Simon, with lyrics by Buddy Bernier And what exactly, you ask, is a Poinciana? ... They based the song on a Cuban folk tune named "Cancion del Arbol", which translates as—yes, you guessed it!"
  5. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco: 1974-2003. Record Research. p. 198.