Take The “A” Train

November 14, 2021

Today’s song of the day is by Duke Ellington – “Take The “A” Train.” 

Fun Facts:

  • The song was originally composed in 1939. 
  • This song brought Ellington and his band financial success.
  • “Take The “A” Train” was composed after offering Strayhorn employment at his organization. He gave Strayhorn money to travel to New York from Pittsburg. Then, Ellington wrote directions down for Strayhorn. Directions that would lead him from the subway to Ellington’s house. The directions started with the words, “Take the A Train,” and so the title for the song was born.
  • The title refers to the A subway service, which was new at the time.
  • National Public Radio included the song in the 1999 NPR 100. The Top 100 list glorified the songs of the 20th century, considered the 100 most important musical works.
  • From 1957 onwards, a woman known as Ella Fitzgerald recorded this song many times over.
  • Take the A train was picked over Sepia Panorama as the band’s signature song.
  • The song was first recorded on 15 January 1941 as a standard transcription for radio broadcast.
  • The most famous recording was made on 15 February 1941.
  • Betty Roche as a vocalist, along with Ellington and his band, first performed the song in the 1943 film Reveille with Beverley.
  • Additionally, the band is depicted as performing in a railroad passenger car and not a subway car, as was presented to be the case at the time.

Lyrics:

(Musixmatch)

You must take the “A” train

To go to Sugar Hill, way up in Harlem

If you miss the “A” train

You’ll find you missed the quickest way to Harlem

Hurry, get on, now it’s coming

Listen to those rails a-thrumming all aboard

Get on the “A” train

Soon you will be on Sugar Hill in Harlem

You, you must take the “A” train

To go to Sugar Hill, way up in Harlem

You must take the “A” train

To go to Sugar Hill, way up in Harlem

If you miss the “A” train

You’ll miss the quickest way to Harlem

Hurry, get on board, it’s comin’

Listen to those rails a-thrumming all aboard

Get on the “A” train

Soon you will be on Sugar Hill in Harlem

All aboard

Next stop is Harlem

Next stop, Harlem

Come on, get aboard the “A” train

Get aboard

Next stop is Harlem

Take the “A” train

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