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Ella 101: Goodnight My Love (Day 20 of 101)

May 14, 2018

Very few are aware that Ella Fitzgerald's first #1 single - preceding her famous "A-Tisket, A-Tasket" (which we'll discuss later) - was recorded with the Benny Goodman Orchestra. 1937's "Goodnight My Love," introduced the previous in a Shirley Temple film, was one of a small group of sides Ella and Benny cut together.

Ella and Benny never recorded together again after their late '30s sessions, as they eventually signed longtime contracts with differing labels, though it's amazing when one considers that both artists played into the late 1980s but never entered the studio again, and only shared the stage in any recorded form twice. (A clip from the first of those, 1958's Swing Into Spring, can be found in Day 16's entry.)

The two remained mutual admirers of each other's talent, as shown in this legendary 1948 William P. Gottlieb photo showing Goodman and Duke Ellington swooning over Ella's singing. (Note the positioning Gottlieb chose to show Ella's throat glowing with light.)

Ella also remained fond of the song, recording a very tender version on 1968's 30 By Ella for Capitol Records.

BONUS: Another performance from Texaco's Swing Into Spring, recorded April 8. 1958. Originally broadcast in color, it survives only on low-quality, black and white kinescope.

Here, Ella and Benny perform "Ridin' High" with his band. The band is comprised of Goodman on clarinet; Hymie Schertzer, Walt Levinsky, Zoot Sims, Al Klink, Sol Schlinger on saxophones; Doc Severinsen, Bernie Glow, Billy Butterfield, Buck Clayton on trumpets; Urbie Green, Lou McGarity, Eddie Bert on trombones; Hank Jones on piano; Roy Burnes on drums; Kenny Burrell on guitar; and Russ Sanders on bass.

Ella 101 is a daily look at 101 essential recordings by Ella Fitzgerald, who was born 101 years ago this month. Tune in to Equinox, Monday nights from 8 - 11 p.m. on WYSO, to hear Ella and more great jazz with host Duante Beddingfield.