Stella By Starlight

One of the most interesting songs in jazz, Stella By Starlight took an unusual route into the standard jazz repertoire. Join us to discover some of the most essential versions of it.

Take a look at the most famous jazz songs of all time and you’ll notice that most were either:

1) Written for Broadway musicals of the early 20th Century and then brought into the jazz world

  • Summertime
  • All The Things You Are
  • On The Sunny Side of the Street

2) Written by jazz musicians, for jazz musicians

  • Round Midnight (Thelonious Monk)
  • Take The “A” Train
  • In a Sentimental Mood

One stands out as being a bit different though, starting its life as background music in the score for 1944 film The Uninvited.

Written by American composer Victor Young, it can be heard on the open credits, as well as throughout the movie which, as you might have guessed, features a lead character named Stella, played by Gail Russell.

It wasn’t until 2 years later, when Ned Washington got hold of it, that it rose to prominence.

And what a journey!

Here are just some of the legendary jazz musicians who have recorded Stella By Starlight…

Ella Fitzgerald sings Stella by Starlight

Chet Baker

Bill Evans

Robert Glasper plays Stella By Starlight

Looking for more?

Check out our guide to the most popular jazz songs of all time or our round up of the 50 best albums in jazz.

You can also find Stella By Starlight near the top of our round up of best Chet Baker songs here.

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