Today’s song is the American jazz song “Frenesí” by Artie Shaw.
- “Frenesí” means “frenzy” in Spanish.
- The song was originally composed by Alberto Domínguez Borrás, a renowned Mexican musician and composer.
- It was initially written for the marimba, a percussion instrument, but was later adapted for the jazz genre by lyricist and composer Leonard Whitcup.
- It quickly became a jazz standard upon adaptation or a foundational piece of music well known and commonly performed by jazz musicians.
- Roughly ten years after entering into the jazz repertoire, it was picked up by clarinetist, composer, and swing bandleader Artie Shaw. Shaw recorded and released his version of “Frenesí” in March 1940 under Victor Records.
- By the end of that year, the song reached the number one spot on Billboard’s pop chart, where it remained for thirteen weeks.
- In 1982, Shaw’s version of “Frenesí” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
- Other singers and musicians who have covered the song include Natalie Cole, Ray Charles, Bing Crosby, Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, and Frank Sinatra.
- Shaw’s hit was featured in Martin Scorsese’s biographical sports drama Raging Bull, released in 1980.
- The song is mentioned in the 1990 novel Vineland by Thomas Pynchon. One of the characters is named Frenesi Gates after Shaw’s hit, which was, according to the author, “all over the jukeboxes and airwaves in the last days of the war.”
And now the purple dusk of twilight time
Steals across the meadows of my heart
High up in the sky the little stars climb
Always reminding me that we’re apart
You wander down the lane and far away
Leaving me a song that will not die
Love is now the stardust of yesterday
The music of the years gone by
Sometimes I wonder why I spend
The lonely night dreaming of a song
The melody haunts my reverie
And I am once again with you
When our love was new
And each kiss an inspiration
But that was long ago
Now my consolation
Is in the stardust of a song
Beside a garden wall
When stars are bright
You are in my arms
The nightingale tells his fairy tale
A paradise where roses bloom
Though I dream in vain
In my heart it will remain
My stardust melody
The memory of love’s refrain