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Tangerine – Jimmy Dorsey

August 15, 2021

Today’s song of the day is the jazz standard “Tangerine” by Jimmy Dorsey. With upbeat rhythms and smooth vocals, “Tangerine” captivated listeners in the 1940s and has been covered by the biggest names in jazz and big band.

Fun Facts

  • The music was composed by Victor Schertzinger, who would direct 89 films and compose 50 film scores in his lifetime.
  • Johnny Mercer wrote the lyrics as one entry in his library of over 1500 songs.
  • The song rocketed to popularity after Jimmy Dorsey and his band performed it in the 1942 romantic musical The Fleet’s In, directed by the song’s composer.
  • The Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra recorded “Tangerine” in 1942 as a single for Decca Records with vocalists Helen O’Connell and Bob Eberly.
  • The single spent six weeks at number one on the Billboard charts in 1942, with 15 weeks total on the charts.
  • With lyrics focused on South America, audiences responded to both the film and song because they featured parts of the world not engulfed by World War II.
  • 89 recordings of the song feature covers by:
    • Frank Sinatra
    • Dean Martin
    • Dave Brubeck
    • Chet Baker
    • Harry Connick, Jr.
  • The tune has been used as jingles for Pillsbury in the 1970s and the Pet Milk company in the 1960s. Oddly enough, both products were diet aids.
  • In 1976, disco band the Salsoul Orchestra covered the song, bringing it back to Billboard’s top 20.
  • Versions of the song have been featured in Double Indemnity, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and an episode of All in the Family.
SOTD lyrics




She is all they claim

With her eyes of night and lips as bright as flame


When she dances by

Señoritas stare and caballeros sigh

And I’ve seen

Toasts to Tangerine

Raised in every bar across the Argentine

Yes, she has them all on the run

But her heart belongs to just one

Her heart belongs to Tangerine


She is all they say

With mascara’d eyes and chapeaux by Daché


With her lips of flame

If the color keeps, Louis Philippe’s to blame

And I’ve seen

Clothes on Tangerine

Where the label says “From Macy’s Mezzanine”

Yes, she’s got the guys in a whirl

But she’s only fooling one girl

She’s only fooling Tangerine