Limehouse Blues

Rosemary Clooney  Buy

About Limehouse Blues

"Limehouse Blues" is a popular British song written by the London-based duo of Douglas Furber (lyrics) and Philip Braham (music). Evoking the Limehouse district, which pre-World War II was considered the Chinatown of London – with Chinese references heard in both the lyrics and the melody – the song premiered in the 1921 West End revue A to Z being sung by Teddie Gerard in a wordless melodramatic number featuring Gerard as a hostess in a Limehouse dance-hall fronting a brothel. Gertrude Lawrence, recruited to replace an ailing Beatrice Lillie in A to Z, was reassigned the "Limehouse Blues" number which Lawrence encored when she made her 1924 Broadway debut in André Charlot's Revue: Lawrence's Broadway performance of the "Limehouse Blues" number proved to be a "showstopper", making her a Broadway star:(quote Lawrence:) "'Limehouse Blues' immediately became popular. We heard it in every night club in New York [City]. In England we never plugged songs as they do in the United States, and I was surprised and extremely flattered to find everyone singing and playing 'Limehouse....' wherever I went." The 1968 Gertrude Lawrence biopic Star! featured the film's star Julie Andrews – in muted Oriental makeup – recreating Lawrence's role in the "Limehouse Blues" number from André Charlot's Revue, including the vocal performance of the song (with the original's references to "chinkies" omitted). Recorded by Gertrude Lawrence in 1931, "Limehouse Blues" had earlier been recorded (1928) by cornetist Red Nichols with Scrappy Lambert's vocal and would be recorded in 1934 by the Mills Brothers: these vintage recordings retained the original's "chinkies" reference which has been omitted from latterday vocal versions, including those by Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney, Ella Fitzgerald, Lee Wiley, Eydie Gormé, Tammy Grimes, Johnny Mathis, Carmen McCrae, Anita O'Day, Annie Ross, Nancy Sinatra, and Kay Starr. Mark Nadler recorded "Limehouse Blues" in tandem with "Limehouse Nights" – an obscure song from the 1934 film Limehouse Blues – for his 2015 album release Runnin' Wild-Songs and Scandals of the Roaring 20's 2015 album release. "Limehouse Blues" has been recorded most often as an instrumental as such becoming a jazz standard, notable examples being recordings by Louis Armstrong, Chet Atkins with Les Paul, Count Basie, Sidney Bechet, the Dave Brubeck Quartet featuring Gerry Mulligan, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Stan Kenton on Adventures In Jazz, the Ellis Marsalis Trio, Hugo Montenegro, Django Reinhardt, the Adrian Rollini Trio, the Village Stompers, and the Teddy Wilson Trio. The song has also become a popular bluegrass instrumental number, most notably by Reno and Smiley."Limehouse Blues" is played by Borrah Minevitch and His Harmonica Rascals in the 1936 film One in a Million, as the second part of a medley that starts with the song "One in a Million"; the two songs have similar melodies and nearly identical rhythms. 


 The easy, fast & fun way to learn how to sing:

And those weird China blues 
Never go away 
Sad, mad blues 
For all the while they seem to say 

Oh, Limehouse kid 
Oh, oh, Limehouse kid 
Goin' the way 
That the rest of them did 
Poor broken blossom 
And nobody's child 
Haunting and taunting 
You're just kind of wild 

Oh, Limehouse blues 
I've the real Limehouse blues 
Can't seem to shake off 
Those real China blues 
Rings on your fingers 
And tears for your crown 
That is the story 
Of old Chinatown 

Rings on your fingers 
And tears for your crown 
That is the story 
Of old Chinatown 

 The easy, fast & fun way to learn how to sing:

Rosemary Clooney

Rosemary Clooney (May 23, 1928 – June 29, 2002) was an American singer and actress. She came to prominence in the early 1950s with the novelty hit "Come On-a My House" written by William Saroyan and his cousin Ross Bagdasarian (better known as David Seville, the father figure of Alvin and the Chipmunks), which was followed by other pop numbers such as "Botch-a-Me" (a cover version of the Italian song Ba-Ba-Baciami Piccina by Alberto Rabagliati), "Mambo Italiano", "Tenderly", "Half as Much", "Hey There" and "This Ole House", although she had success as a jazz vocalist. Clooney's career languished in the 1960s, partly due to problems related to depression and drug addiction, but revived in 1977, when her White Christmas co-star Bing Crosby asked her to appear w… more »

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