Satin Doll

Duke Ellington

About Satin Doll

"Satin Doll" is a jazz standard written by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn with lyrics by Johnny Mercer. Written in 1953, the song has been recorded by Ella Fitzgerald, 101 Strings, Terry Callier, and Nancy Wilson. Its chord progression is well known for its unusual use of chords and opening with a ii-V-I turnaround.


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Cigarette holder which wigs me
Over her shoulder she digs me
Out cattin' that satin doll
Baby, shall we go out skippin'?

Careful, amigo, you're flippin'
Speaks Latin that satin doll
She's nobody's fool so I'm playing it cool as can be
I'll give it a whirl but I ain't for no girl catching me

Telephone numbers well you know
Doing my rhumbas with uno
And that's my satin doll

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Duke Ellington

Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington (April 29, 1899 – May 24, 1974) was an American composer, pianist, and big-band leader. Ellington wrote over 1,000 compositions. In the opinion of Bob Blumenthal of The Boston Globe, "[i]n the century since his birth, there has been no greater composer, American or otherwise, than Edward Kennedy Ellington." A major figure in the history of jazz, Ellington's music stretched into various other genres, including blues, gospel, film scores, popular, and classical. His career spanned more than 50 years and included leading his orchestra, composing an inexhaustible songbook, scoring for movies, composing stage musicals, and world tours. Several of his instrumental works were adapted into songs that became standards. Due to his invent… more »

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Lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Songtrust Ave, RESERVOIR MEDIA MANAGEMENT INC, Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

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5 facts about this song

Duke Ellington
"Satin Doll" is one of Duke Ellington's most recognized and frequently played compositions. - Duke Ellington originally composed the music for the song in 1953. - The song quickly became a jazz standard, adding to Ellington's significant influence in the history of jazz music. - Despite the song's popularity, Duke Ellington often remarked that the melody was not one of his favorites.
Ella Fitzgerald
Ella Fitzgerald, a renowned jazz singer, is well-known for performing Ellington's repertoire, including "Satin Doll." - Fitzgerald's versions often incorporated her unique scat singing style, adding a new level of complexity to the song. - The song is part of the "Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Duke Ellington Songbook" album, where she rendered Ellington's classic with her signature touch.
Nancy Wilson
Jazz singer Nancy Wilson also recorded a version of "Satin Doll," featured on her album "But Beautiful." - Wilson's interpretation of "Satin Doll" is often noted for her smooth vocals and emotive performance. - Her version of the song features powerful delivery and dynamic controls, offering a unique interpretation of Ellington's classic.
Lyrics and Other Details
The lyrics for "Satin Doll" were written by Johnny Mercer after the song was composed and had already gained popularity. - The song is performed in the key of C and is typically played in a swing style. - "Satin Doll" often served as the closing number for Duke Ellington and his orchestra during their performances. - The song's title "Satin Doll" is believed to be a reference to Ellington’s longtime female companion.
Impact on Popular Culture
"Satin Doll" has been covered by numerous artists across various genres over the decades, proving its timeless appeal. - The tune has become a popular choice in music education environments for teaching improvisation techniques. - Its impact on popular culture is evidenced by its constant presence in various film soundtracks and TV shows like "Las Vegas".

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