Stardust

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  • The Song
  • Back Stories
composition date
1929
genre
Pop
PBS Episode(s)
1, 2
related media performance(s)
The Fabled 24 September 1940 San Francisco Concerts
participant(s): Hoagy Carmichael at the piano
type: Other
venue: San Francisco, CA
media: Audio
The Fabled 24 September 1940 San Francisco Concerts
participant(s): Intro for Hoagy Carmichael
type: Other
venue: San Francisco, CA
media: Audio
“Stardust” performed by Frank Sinatra on the Lucky Strike Hit Parade, music by Hoagy Carmichael, lyric by Mitchel Parrish
type: TV
venue: Lucky Strike Hit Parade
media: Video
songwriter(s)
Hoagy Carmichael
Mitchell Parish
related performer(s)
Artie Shaw
Frank Sinatra
Tommy Dorsey

Close to perfect

Shaw to Sam Litzinger of CBS Radio: "If I had to say something was perfect musically, the solo I did on ‘Stardust’ is as close to being perfect as I would have wanted."

Sitting on the wall

In 1927, Hoagy Carmichael was sitting on the “spooning wall” of Indiana University pining for a girl named Dorothy. He ran to an old upright piano in The Book Nook and finished the song. A great story but apparently not true. Carmichael appears to have been working on the song since 1926. He even wrote a lyric to the tune which contained the words “Star Dust melody.” However and wherever it happened, Carmichael recorded it in 1927 for Gannett Records. Publisher Irving Mills took the song to Mitchell Parish and with its melody slowed down Parish wrote new lyrics for the tune. Carmichael’s friend (and lyricist for “Georgia on My Mind”), Stuart Gorrell, came up with the title, “Star Dust,” as the melody reminded him of “dust from stars drifting down through the summer sky.”

In 1936 RCA pressed what must certainly be one of the most unique records of all time—“Star Dust” on both the A and B sides of a 78 with Benny Goodman’s Orchestra on one side and Tommy Dorsey’s on the flip.

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Recordings
Stardust
Hoagy Carmichael at the piano
Stardust (Intro for The Fabled 24 September 1940 San Francisco Concerts)
Intro for Hoagy Carmichael
The 3 part PBS Series
Own the DVD