World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Stardust (song)

"Star Dust"
Song by Hoagy Carmichael's orchestra
Published 1927
Composer Hoagy Carmichael
Lyricist Mitchell Parish
Recorded by Many artists

"Stardust" is an American popular song composed in 1927 by Hoagy Carmichael with lyrics added in 1929 by Mitchell Parish. Carmichael first recorded the song, originally titled "Star Dust", at the Gennett Records studio in Richmond, Indiana. The song, "a song about a song about love",[1] played in an idiosyncratic melody in medium tempo, became an American standard, and is one of the most recorded songs of the 20th century, with over 1,500 total recordings.[2] In 2004, Carmichael's original 1927 recording of the song was one of 50 recordings chosen by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry.


  • Composition 1
  • Title 2
  • Covers 3
  • Pop culture 4
  • Legacy 5
  • See also 6
  • Notes 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


1927 Gennett 78, 6311-B.

According to Carmichael, the inspiration for "Stardust" (the song's original title was "Star Dust", which has long been compounded into "Stardust")[3] came to him while he was on the campus of his alma mater, Indiana University, in Bloomington, Indiana. He began whistling the tune, then rushed to the Book Nook, a popular student hangout, and started composing. He worked to refine the melody over the course of the next several months, likely in Bloomington or Indianapolis (sources cite various locations, and Carmichael himself liked to embellish the facts about the song's origins).[4] "Stardust" was first recorded in Richmond, Indiana, for Gennett Records (Gennett 6311) by Carmichael, with Emil Seidel and his Orchestra and the Dorsey brothers as "Hoagy Carmichael and His Pals," on October 31, 1927, as a peppy (but mid-tempo) jazz instrumental. Carmichael said he was inspired by the types of improvisations made by Bix Beiderbecke.[5] The tune at first attracted only moderate attention, mostly from fellow musicians, a few of whom (including Don Redman) recorded their own versions of Carmichael's tune. (The Redman arrangement was issued on OKeh as by The Chocolate Dandies, but was in reality the moonlighting McKinney's Cotton Pickers who were exclusive Victor recording artists.)

Mitchell Parish wrote lyrics for the song, based on his own and Carmichael's ideas, which were published in 1929. A slower version had been recorded in October 1928, but the real transformation came on May 16, 1930, when bandleader Isham Jones recorded it as a sentimental ballad.[6] "Stardust" represents the rare case of a song in AABA form lacking a refrain. The title appears seemingly incidentally, not as a memorable hook. In the final A-section, the usual place of the refrain is filled by the word 'refrain' ("...the memory of love's refrain").[7]


The original sheet music publication of "Stardust" was published under the title "Star Dust" by Mills Music with a copyright date of 1929.[8] The first recording of the song (Gennett 78, 6311-B.), which was made by Hoagy Carmichael in 1927 prior to the writing of the song's lyrics, was titled "STARDUST". Carmichael referred to his song as "Stardust" in a 1936 letter to M.B. Yarling of the Sears & Roebuck Company's Radio and Publicity Dept.[9] Carmichael also refers to the song as "Stardust" in his memoir "The Stardust Road" while relating his version of the story of its composition.[10] Popular music historian Will Friedwald, in his book "Stardust Melodies: The Biography of Twelve of America's Most Popular Songs," states that "the correct title is given as two words, 'Star Dust'".[11]


Jones's recording became the first of many hit versions of the tune. Young baritone sensation Mina, Ken Hirai, Al Hirt, Berl Olswanger on his 1953 album Berl Olswanger at the Piano, Los Hombres Calientes, Mireille Mathieu and many others. Glenn Miller also released a recording of the song on V-Disc, No. 65A, with a spoken introduction recorded with the AAFTC Orchestra which was released in December 1943. Billy Ward and His Dominoes, in 1957, had a #13 hit with the song on the Billboard Pop chart which is one of the earliest R'nB/Rock & Roll recordings in true stereo. The Dominoes' version may be the most famous and popular version. The Artie Shaw version of 1941, with memorable solos by Billy Butterfield (trumpet) and Jack Jenney (trombone) is likely the favorite Big Band version.[12] Ringo Starr recorded a version for his first solo album, Sentimental Journey, in 1970, after the breakup of The Beatles.[15] Sergio Franchi covered the song on his 1964 RCA Victor album The Exciting Voice of Sergio Franchi. Rod Stewart recorded the song for his album Stardust: The Great American Songbook Volume III (2004). Katie Melua recorded a cover on her EP Nine Million Bicycles in 2005. Michael Bublé recorded it for his album Crazy Love, released in 2009.

Certain recorded variations on the song have become notable. Armstrong recorded "Stardust" on November 4, 1931, and on an alternate take inserted the lyric 'oh, memory' just before an instrumental break. This version became prized over the issued take among jazz collectors, including Carmichael.[16] Thirty years later, Sinatra recorded just the verse on his November 20, 1961 recording for his album Sinatra and Strings - much to Carmichael's initial chagrin, although Hoagy is said to have changed his mind upon hearing the recording.

The early portion of the 1938 radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds by Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre included a rendition of the song played by the fictional "Ramón Raquello and his Orchestra". The actual band performing in the broadcast featured, among others, a young Mitch Miller.[17]

In 1993, guitarist Larry Coryell covered the song from his album "Fallen Angel."[18][19]

Les Deux Love Orchestra included their version of Stardust on the 2001 album, Music From Les Deux Cafés.

Jazz vocalist Stevie Holland covered it on the album Restless Willow (2004).

In 2006, David Benoit covered the song from his Standards album Standards.[20]

While the song has been traditionally performed as a ballad, vocalist Kalil Wilson recorded an uptempo version of the song for his 2009 album, Easy to Love.

Willie Nelson's cover of the song was used to wake up the crew of Space Shuttle mission STS-97 on their second flight day.[21]

Captain Glenn Miller and the AAFTC Orchestra recording issued as V-Disc 65A in December, 1943.

A 1953/54 version by Eddie Cochran was released in 1997 on the album Rockin' It Country Style.

In 2007 The Japonize Elephants' Evan Farrell recorded Stardust which was released on the 2012 album Melodie Fantastique.

Pop culture

The song is also used at a critical moment during Woody Allen's Stardust Memories. The song was used in the television series Cold Case.

Nat King Cole's version of Stardust was the lead-in song for the movie "My Favorite Year", and was an integral part of a poignant scene in the romantic comedy "Sleepless in Seattle".


The original 1927 recording on Gennett Records by Hoagy Carmichael and His Pals was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1995. In 1999, "Stardust" was included in the "NPR 100", a list compiled by National Public Radio of the 100 most important American musical works of the 20th century.[22] In 2000, Swedish music reviewers voted it as "the tune of the century", with Kurt Weill's "Mack the Knife" as second. In 2004, Carmichael's original 1927 recording of the song was one of 50 recordings chosen that year by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry.

See also


  1. ^ Sudhalter 2002, p.XI. See also p.123: "..."Star Dust" is obviously a song about a song—a genre relatively rare in American popular music. There had been such songs before: Irving Berlin's 1909 "That Mesmerizing Mendelssohn Tune" (about the great German composer's famed Spring Song) is one example among many. But none had been a major song about a song—particularly a song that didn't actually exist. This was new."
  2. ^  
  3. ^ "Hoagy Carmichael Collection". Archives of Traditional Music at Indiana University. Retrieved 2007-06-17. 
  4. ^ Sudhalter 2002, pp. 105-106.
  5. ^ "Brief Biography of Hoagy Carmichael". Retrieved 2011-01-18. 
  6. ^ Sudhalter 2002, p.139
  7. ^ Appen, Ralf von / Frei-Hauenschild, Markus "AABA, Refrain, Chorus, Bridge, Prechorus — Song Forms and their Historical Development". In: Samples. Online Publikationen der Gesellschaft für Popularmusikforschung/German Society for Popular Music Studies e.V. Ed. by Ralf von Appen, André Doehring and Thomas Phleps. Vol. 13 (2015), p. 18-19.
  8. ^ Carmichael, Hoagy and Mitchell Parish. Star Dust. New York: Mills Music, 1929
  9. ^ Carmichael, Hoagy. Letter from Carmichael, Hoagy to Yarling, M.B., Radio and Publicity Dept., Sears & Roebuck. 12 November 1936 [post marked]. Carmichael mss., 1921-1955 . Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington.
  10. ^ Carmichael, Hoagy. The Stardust Road & Sometimes I Wonder : The Autobiography of Hoagy Carmichael. [New York] : Da Capo Press, 1999. See p.123.
  11. ^ Friedwald, Will. Stardust Melodies: The Biography of Twelve of America's Most Popular Songs. New York : Pantheon Books, 2002. see p.3.
  12. ^ a b   Tape 2, side B.
  13. ^
  14. ^ "RCA Victor Records in the 20-2000 to 20-2999 series". Retrieved 2011-01-18. 
  15. ^ Miles, Barry (1998). The Beatles a Diary: An Intimate Day by Day History. London: Omnibus Press.  
  16. ^ Armstrong, Louis. Portrait of the Artist As A Young Man 1923-1934. Columbia/Legacy 57176, 1994. Insert booklet, p. 26
  17. ^ Eder, Bruce. "Mitch Miller > Biography". allmusic. Retrieved August 3, 2010. 
  18. ^ "Fallen Angel overview".  
  19. ^ "Email Jazz News".  
  20. ^ "Standards overview".  
  21. ^ NASA (May 11, 2009). "STS-97 Wakeup Calls". NASA. Retrieved July 31, 2009. 
  22. ^ "The 100 most important American musical works of the 20th century".  


  • Forte, Allen (1995). "Ballads of Hoagy Carmichael, Arthur Schwartz, Vernon Duke, John Green, Burton Lane, and Jimmy Van Heusen". The American Popular Ballad of the Golden Era, 1924-1950. Princeton University Press.  

External links

  • Stardust on Sold on Song (BBC)
  • "Stardust" (played by Hoagy Carmichael, 1933) The Red Hot Jazz Archive
  • "Stardust" (played by Louis Armstrong and his Orchestra, 1931) The Red Hot Jazz Archive
  • "Stardust" (Alternative version played by Louis Armstrong and his Orchestra, 1931) The Red Hot Jazz Archive
  • "Stardust" (played by Fats Waller, 1937) The Red Hot Jazz Archive
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.