Tunes on Tuesday: A Foggy Day In London Town

Why this tune?

Happy New Year! We’re starting 2021 with a foggy day here in the Caribbean, so my thoughts turned to perhaps the most famous song about the fog, George and Ira Gershwin’s A Foggy Day In London Town. I suspect the Gershwin brothers would be amazed that their song for a 1937 musical would still be recorded and played today, by almost every jazz artist, plus Willie Nelson, David Bowie, and Chuck Brown. I just played it last weekend in a livestream with vocalist Adjoa.

Dig this detail!

Maybe it’s the simplicity of the song that makes it still relevant today. The Gershwins reportedly wrote the song in an hour, which you can see in the lyrics – not their best work. That second line, for example:

A Foggy Day In London Town
It had me low, it had me down

Somehow, though, they created a magic combination of words, melody and harmony that inspired generations of musicians to rediscover and reinterpret their song.

Hear the story

Check it out!

Billie Holiday (including the verse)

Chuck Brown (and not in a Go-Go style)

Willie Nelson

David Bowie

And, yes, Animal!

Published by Oren Levine

Jazz pianist and composer in Washington, DC. Also a digital product and technology professional working at a small DC nonprofit

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: