God Bless the Child

Artist: Billie Holiday

Year Released: 1942

The song titled, “ God Bless the Child” by Billie Holiday falls into the genre of Jazz.  The song uses instruments such as a trumpet, alto saxophone, piano, guitar, bass, and drums which combined with Billie Holiday’s voice forms a downtempo song. Holiday’s reasoning for writing the song is due to a disagreement with her mother over finances, in which she took out her frustration in song. I chose “ God Bless the Child” by Holiday due to the power of Holiday’s voice and even though the lyrics are simple, she sings the words with elegance and class.

 

When the Saints Go Marching In

Artist: Louis Daniel Armstrong

Year Released: 1939

The song titled, “When the Saints Go Marching In” by Louis Armstrong is a mixed genre of Jazz and Pop. Armstrong’s background originates from Louisiana in which we see this style in a majority of his songs as they’re typically uptempo Jazz. The song falls into various categories, as it originated as a Christian hymn but is now considered a Black Spiritual. Though the original song is not written by Armstrong, it is his version of the song that has promoted it to the now well know hymn. Armstrong’s song uses symbolism as Saints represent people are who saved by God and the march represents the path towards heaven.  This song was added to my list because this is a song I was taught during my early education in which I still remember due to the catchiness of the song.

 

Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out

Artist: Bessie Smith

Year Released: 1929

The song titled, “ Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out” by Bessie Smith falls into the Blues Genre. Though written by Jimmy Cox,  it’s Smith’s voice that makes the song what it is. Smith, a Tennessee native, was well known throughout the 20’s for being a blues singer and it is still highly respected for her unique sound. The song brings to light the different face we show to society than the face we actually have, and how its hard for people to understand the problems we’re facing when we never let anyone see our true colors. I chose this song for the message Smith portrays, and how even though the song was written in 1929 this same message is still shown in society today.

 

It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)”

Artist: Duke Wellington

Year Released: 1932

The song titled, “ It Don’t Mean a Thing ( If It Ain’t Got That Swing ) by Duke Wellington is labeled as Jazz. Though Wellington’s original version of the song doesn’t contain much vocals, it is the strong sound of the Clarinet, Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, and Trumpet Solo that allow the song to be just as soulful even without the use of voice. The song received much recognition, and resulted in many covers being made by famous musicians such as Louis Armstrong and reappeared in Beyonce’s song “ Deja Vu”. This song was the first one to come to my mind as soon as I was assigned this time period, because this was a song that got played in my grandparents house as they are big Wellington fans.

 

“I’m Making Believe”

Artist : Ella Fitzgerald

Year Released: 1944

The song titled, “ I’m Making Believe” by Ella Fitzgerald is labeled as Jazz. Fitzgerald is known for her genre style of Blues, as her vocals gave her the nickname “ First Lady of Song”. Fitzgerald did collaborations with musicians such as Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, but her most famous collaboration was with the vocal group called, “ The Ink Spots”, which led to the hit “ I’m Making Believe”. I decided to add this song to my list, because I enjoyed the combination of Fitzgerald’s vocals along with the various ranges of vocal sound that the “ The Ink Spots” added making for an amazing song