If only they were still with us, two major artists would be celebrating their birthdays this weekend. They were Peggy Lee (1920-2002) and Miles Davis (1926-1991). She was of major significance in popular music and he in jazz, but their wide appeal to audiences of many kinds makes it difficult to assign either to a strict category. Staff research has turned up no recording, radio broadcast or television program in which they performed together. In fact, as far as we can discover, there were few songs that each recorded. In tribute, however, we can offer their versions of the same piece. It is “Bye Bye Blackbird,” a song written in 1926 by Mort Dickson and Ray Henderson. It became famous by way of Gene Austin’s recording soon after it was published. It was one of the songs that Peggy Lee sang on the sound track of the 1955 motion picture Pete Kelly’s Blues, starring Jack Webb.
“Bye Bye Blackbird” became a staple in Miles Davis’s repertoire for years after he first recorded it in 1956 with his quintet that included John Coltrane, Red Garland, Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones. Let’s listen to that original version
Remembering two American treasures.
Hope you’re having a good Memorial Day.