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SWEET GEORGIA BROWN

 
SONG & HIT DETAILS
 
Artist Name: ELLA FITZGERALD
 
 
Song Author: Ben Bernie and Maceo Pinkard, Lyrics by Kenneth Casey
 
 
Year Recorded: 1925
 
SONG PROFILE
 
Sweet Georgia Brown

Music by Ben Bernie and Maceo Pinkard
Lyrics by Kenneth Casey
Written 1925
Original artist Ben Bernie
Recorded by Brother Bones.

"Sweet Georgia Brown" is a jazz standard and pop tune written in 1925 by Ben Bernie and Maceo Pinkard (music) and Kenneth Casey (lyrics).

The tune was first recorded on March 19, 1925 by bandleader Ben Bernie, resulting in a five-week No. 1 for Ben Bernie and his Hotel Roosevelt Orchestra.

As Bernie's then nationally famous orchestra did much to popularize the number, Pinkard cut Bernie in for a share of the tune's royalties by giving him a co-writer credit to the song.

It is widely known as the theme song of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team.

Notable versionsOf the many early recordings of the tune, the vocal version by Ethel Waters in the 1920s, and instrumental version by Stéphane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt in the 1930s, are particularly notable.

Ethel Waters also starred in Cabin in the Sky, which contained a character named Georgia Brown.

Shortly after the song debuted in 1925, the California Ramblers recorded their own instrumental version of "Sweet Georgia Brown" as well.

Cab Calloway has recorded an abstracted version featuring mostly scat singing
Ella Fitzgerald sang and recorded this song many times; a rendition can be found on her Verve release Whisper Not.

The version used by the Globetrotters is a 1949 instrumental by Brother Bones and His Shadows, featuring whistling and bones by Brother Bones. It was adopted as the Globetrotters theme around 1950, and today is inextricably associated with the team.

A notable performance of this song was that of Anita O'Day at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, captured in Bert Stern's film Jazz on a Summer's Day.

Ray Charles on his 1961 album Dedicated to You.

The song was covered by The Beatles while working as a back-up band for singer Tony Sheridan. Two versions exist; the first was recorded on May 24, 1962 in Hamburg, Germany, using the original lyrics.

The second (but the first version released) was released in 1964 during the wave of Beatlemania, with Sheridan having re-recorded the vocals with notably more tame lyrics featuring the added verse "in Liverpool she even dares / to criticise the Beatles' hair / with their whole fan-club standing there / oh Sweet Georgia Brown." Recently, bootleggers have utilized the two recordings to produce an instrumental featuring only the Beatles' instruments and backup vocals, entirely eliminating Sheridan. Roy Young played the piano.

Trini Lopez included a sing-a-long version on his Reprise Records album The Sing Along

World of Trini Lopez (Reprise 6183).

Sergio Franchi recorded his version on the RCA Red Seal album Women in My Life (1963).

Nancy Sinatra recorded the song for her 1966 studio album Sugar.

Jerry Lee Lewis recorded a version on his album There Must Be More to Love Than This.

The progressive rock band Gentle Giant covered the song on their live album Playing the Fool, released in 1977.

In the 1983 remake of To Be or Not to Be, Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft do a version of the song in Polish.

On the Captain Beefheart bootleg album Captain Hook, an instrumental version, atypical of Beefheart's style.

The Count Basie Band recorded "Sweet Georgia Brown" on their Prime Time album in 1977.
Roberta Flack included a version in her 1994 Roberta album.

Dixie Carter once sang an inebriated version of "Sweet Georgia Brown" in an episode of Designing Women.

Guitarist John Lowery, better known as John 5, did a modern-bluegrass variation cover of "Sweet Georgia Brown" on his 2004 debut record, Vertigo.