Midnight, the Stars and You – 1934

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Midnight, the Stars and You (Jimmy Campbell, Reg Connelly, Harry Woods)

1934 Midnight, The Stars and You, Victor 24700 label (1)1934 An Hour Ago This Minute, flip side of Midnight, The Stars and You, Victor 24700 label (1)

Ray Noble and his Orchestra, vocal by Al Bowlly — recorded in London on 16 February 1934[1][2]

Issued in 1934 on:

  • HMV B.6461, b/w “This Little Piggie Went to Market” (UK)
  • Victor 24700, b/w “An Hour Ago This Minute” (US)
  • HMV EA-1338 (AU)
  • Electrola EG-3023 (DE)

Many versions of this recording available in video libraries and elsewhere online evidently have heavy echo, or reverb, added. Some video and audio file providers have admitted as much. For example:

  • YouTube provider MrRJDB1969 attaches the following note in the description below an altered version of the Ray Noble-Al Bowlly recording: “I added in a touch of echo or reverb to give the song a more, “you-are-in-a-ballroom-in-the-1930’s” ..effect.”
  • The provider of audio file clips (samples) of pieces of music and songs featured in the soundtrack of the 1980 film “The Shining,” included on a page titled Shining Music at drummerman.net, says of the “Midnight, the Stars and You” file: “I added reverb to this clip to simulate the echo within the ballroom.”

The audio files in the following videos, absent such echo or reverb adulteration, may therefore seem slightly unfamiliar, and considerably less “haunting and ethereal.”

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The 1934 recording by Ray Noble and his Orchestra, with vocal by Al Bowlly, is undoubtedly best known today for its use in the 1980 horror film, The Shining, based upon the 1977 Stephen King novel of the same name. One felt compelled to mention this unhappy fact, and now that’s enough about horror films.

The song does not appear to have been particularly popular at the time of its introduction. I’ve thus far discovered only two other contemporary recordings:

  • Roy Fox and his Orchestra, with vocalist Denny Dennis,  recorded on 9 March 1934, and
  • Hal Kemp and his Orchestra, with vocalist Bob Allen, probably recorded in 1934

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Roy-Fox-Radio-Pictorial-1Roy-Fox-1Denny Dennis 1

Roy Fox and His Band (At the Café de Paris, London), with vocalist Denny Dennis — recorded on 9 March 1934 and issued that year as the 78 rpm shellac 10″ single Decca (UK) ‎ F 3926,  b/w “No More Heartaches, No More Tears”

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Hal Kemp and his Orchestra, vocalist Bob Allen — 1934(?) — I’ve been unable to identify either the label or the recording date. According to the Wikipedia Hal Kemp page, “During the 1930s, Kemp recorded for Brunswick, Vocalion and RCA Victor Records.”

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Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks — 2008(?) performance at the Club Cache at Sofia’s Ristorante, in the lower level of the Hotel Edison, 221 West 46th Street, NYC

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Wayne Hancock recorded a country version for his 2009 album Viper of Melody

  • Wayne Hancock – acoustic guitar and vocals
  • Anthony Locke – pedal steel guitar
  • Huckleberry Johnson – upright bass
  • Izak Zaidman – electric guitar

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Al Grantham — uploaded to YouTube on 28 October 2010

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Michael Law’s Piccadilly Dance Orchestra — published on 22 May 2012

personnel includes:

  • Michael Law: leader, vocal
  • Andrew Gathercole: trumpet
  • Martin Litton: piano
  • Andy Tweed: tenor sax

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Vakhtang Khositashvili — solo acoustic guitar, fingerpicking style

uploaded on 23 January 2012

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(below) published on 6 September 2014

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Brandyn Shaw-Phoenix Artists Club, London, 30 November 2013 (1)-40P

Brandyn Shaw and his Rhythm Makers — Phoenix Artist Club, London on Saturday, 30 November 2013 — “Celebrating The Al Bowlly Blue Plaque”

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Matt Tolentino and the Singapore Slingers — live at the Kessler Theater, Dallas, TX — date unknown; published on 14 September 2014

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The Blue Rhythm Kings, vocal: Graham Majin — Louis Armstrong Pub, Dover, on 1 March 2015

saxophone, vocal: Graham Majin
trumpet: Malcolm Walton
reeds: Pete Curtis
piano: Colin Martin
drums: Geoff Collins
brass bass: Gerry Birch
guitar: John Myhill

16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Stan Carpenter
    Aug 27, 2011 @ 12:13:28

    I have never in my wildest dreams heard anything so wonderful as Ray Noble and Al Bowlly, The Combination is magic that’s all I can say. I have several discs of Ray Noble and Al Bowlly and if you want to go right straight to heaven all you have to do is listen to them and, mark my word, you’ll be there.

    Reply

  2. openpat
    Jan 12, 2012 @ 14:04:51

    trop bon ce morceau des années 20, ca donne envie de se relever et de saisir un uke, mais pfff pas le courage :) (mais demain, promis j’m’y mets !

    Reply

  3. Cecile
    Mar 13, 2012 @ 17:56:51

    Can anyone tell me where and how to purchase the piano sheet music to Midnight, the Stars and You. Thanks.

    Reply

  4. Angus McGill
    Mar 06, 2013 @ 15:34:10

    Thanks ever so for the Al Bowlly; I have enjoyed your video whilst I fervently hope my grammaphone can be repaired.

    Kind regards Angus

    Reply

  5. MST
    Mar 13, 2014 @ 02:34:24

    Anyone know which record company / label owns the rights to Al Bowlly’s version? I would assume it wouldn’t be public domain… ??

    Reply

    • doc
      Mar 20, 2014 @ 21:43:43

      MST,
      For works first published in the U.S., with copyright notice, during the years 1923 to 1963, the copyright term is 95 years. So the term of a song published (with notice) in 1934 runs until 2029 under current law. However, “Midnight, the Stars and You” was probably first published in the UK. If so, I imagine that UK copyright law ought to be consulted.

      Reply

    • doc
      Mar 10, 2015 @ 17:01:27

      @MST,

      Anyone know which record company / label owns the rights to Al Bowlly’s version? I would assume it wouldn’t be public domain… ??

      The recording was evidently first released on HMV (UK) B.6461. According to the Wikipedia article on the His Master’s Voice trademark/record label, the Gramophone Company began to use the trademark in 1908. However, the Gramophone Company eventually became part of EMI. From the Wikipedia page on the Gramophone Company:

      Although the company [Gramophone] was merged with another in 1931 to form Electric and Musical Industries Limited (EMI), the company title as “The Gramophone Company Limited” continued in use in the UK into the 1970s, for instance on sleeves and labels of records (such as The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd, vinyl copies of which bear the copyright notice “©1973 The Gramophone Company, Ltd.”).

      See my previous answer regarding the public domain question.

      Reply

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