[Dixielandjazz] more Satin Doll

Bill Haesler bhaesler at bigpond.net.au
Tue Nov 30 20:19:03 PST 2004

Dear John Farrell (and friends),
Why do I always seem to open a can of worms?
I mentioned that "Satin Doll" was composed by Duke Ellington and Billy
Strayhorn in 1958, using information from The Anderson Index.
But I missed the fact that Johnny Mercer wrote the lyrics. (Which I should
have remembered anyway.)
While checking through my tune index for recordings of "Satin Doll", to
answer your initial query, I found that Ellington's first recording of the
tune was for Capitol on 6 April 1953. In my haste to get the email off to
you, I failed to make the intended correction.
The Johnny Mercer lyrics were added in 1958, after the tune had become a
hit. Which Mercer did a lot. Therefore the Anderson reference probably
refers to this date.
Based on several references I have found there may also have been earlier
lyrics by Billy Strayhorn.
There was a court case disputing authorship of the tune between Ellington
and Strayhorn, but I have not bothered to follow this up at the moment.
If you are interested, put 'Satin Doll, composer' into Google and open the
'Music Plagiarism Archive' link.
Kind regards,

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