The Japanese Sandman


The Japanese Sandman (m. Richard A. Whiting, w. Raymond B. Egan)

Adapted from Wikipedia:

1920 Japanese Sandman-1aThe song is about a sandman from Japan, who exchanges yesterdays for tomorrows. The number has a very Oriental atmosphere, and is similar to many other songs from between the two World Wars which rhapsodize upon a dreamy, exotic setting.

The song was the first recorded by Paul Whiteman, selling over two million copies. Among others to record the song are the orchestras of Benny Goodman, Frankie Trumbauer, Artie Shaw, Earl Hines, and Glenn Miller, as well as The Quintette du Hot Club de France, and The Andrews Sisters.

Excerpts from the “In popular culture” section of the Wikipedia profile (adapted, with corrections):

  • The Japanese boxer Harold Hoshino was nicknamed The Japanese Sandman in the 1930s.
  • Hoagy Carmichael performed the song on ukulele in the 1952 film Belles on Their Toes.
  • Whiteman’s original can also be heard in the film They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (1969) and on The Masked Marauders album from the same year.

Paul Whiteman and his Ambassador Orchestra1920



Nora Bayes – 1920


Frankie Trumbauer & his Orchestra — recorded 5 October 1928, NY — Frank Trumbauer, Cm*, as, v, dir / Bix Beiderbecke: c / Charles Margulis: tpt / Bill Rank: tb / Irving “Izzy” Friedman cl, as / Rube Crozier: bar, bsn / Wilbur Hall: g / Lennie Hayton: p / unknown: d / Charles Gaylord, v

*Cm = C-melody sax, bar = baritone sax, bsn = bassoon


Snooks and his Memphis Stompers – 1931

From the bio of Snooks Friedmans by Scott Yanow:

A supportive drummer, Snooks Friedman led Snooks and his Memphis Stompers, a spirited group that recorded 42 titles during 1931-32. Friedman started playing professionally in the summer of 1923 with the Ole Miss Jesters. He picked up experience with the bands of Meyer Davis and Hip Bennett (in Arkansas and Wisconsin respectively), recording with the latter. In 1926 he returned to his hometown and organized the Memphis Stompers. Under that name, Friedman recorded six titles in 1928 in Memphis and two in Camden, New Jersey in 1929. The band, originally a sextet, grew to ten pieces by the time it relocated to New York in late-1928. A flexible group that could play both hot jazz and infectious dance music, it worked at many of the major theatres (including a six-month run at Roseland). In 1931 with the addition of a string quartet, the band started what would be three years at the Paramount Hotel. They also appeared in a few now-obscure Warner Brothers movie shorts and provided background music for some of the Dave and Max Fleischer cartoons. » Read more



Ray Noble and his Orchestra — recorded 4 October 1933


Benny Goodman and his Orchestra – recording date unknown


Dicky Wells and his Orchestra, featuring Django Rienhardt

7 July 1937

Bill Coleman (tp)
Dicky Wells (tb, arr, ldr)
Django Reinhardt (g)
Richard Dick Fullbright (b)
Bill Beason (dm)


Django Reinhardt and the Quintette du Hot Club de France 

 21 March 1939 – Paris

Stéphane Grappelli (vln);
Django Reinhardt (g);
Joseph Reinhardt, Pierre “Baro” Ferret (g);
Emmanuel Soudieux (b)


Terry Snyder and the All Stars — from Persuasive Percussion, 1959


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Stan Mulder
    Apr 07, 2016 @ 21:27:07

    I think an important version is by Red Nichols. The harmonies are superb. I’m currently working on a transcription of this arrangement.

    (Defunct video replaced by doc, 2/4/2023.)

    Liked by 1 person


    • doc
      Apr 08, 2016 @ 11:18:57

      Hi Stan,

      Thanks for the excellent version. dates two takes of “The Japanese Sandman” by Red Nichols and his Five Pennies (masters E 26695 and E 26696, each assigned the same catalog number, Brunswick 3855) 27 February 1928, though dates the same two masters 25 February 1928. indicates that Brunswick 3855 (E2695) was issued on 25 February with “The Japanese Sandman” on the A-side, and “Five Pennies” on the B-side, and that E 2695 was also issued on Brunswick 4844, c/w “My Gal Sal.” In both cases, 78discography credits the band as Red Nichols & his Orchestra.

      Regards, doc



  2. musicdoc1
    Feb 04, 2023 @ 14:41:32



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