At Last

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At Last (m. Harry Warren, w. Mack Gordon)

From Wikipedia:

“At Last” is a 1941 song written by Mack Gordon and Harry Warren for the musical film Orchestra Wives, starring George Montgomery and Ann Rutherford. It was first performed in the film and on record by Glenn Miller and his orchestra, vocal by Ray Eberle and Pat Friday, although unreleased recordings of the song were made in 1941 for possible inclusion in the film Sun Valley Serenade. It was recorded in Chicago on May 20, 1942 and released by RCA Victor Records as catalogue number 27934. According to the tsort.info website (http://tsort.info/music/jkgsu0.htm), the song was a major hit for Miller, reaching number 9 on the Billboard pop charts in 1942, staying on the charts for 9 weeks, and it soon became a standard. Nat King Cole recorded it in 1957 on his number one album Love Is the Thing. In 1960, it was covered by blues singer Etta James in a performance that improvised on Warren’s melody. James’ version was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.[1]

From the WICN.org Song of the Week feature, on it’s recent wave of popularity:

“At Last,” written nearly 70 years ago, recently has been in the news more than most contemporary songs. It received worldwide notoriety when it was selected as the song for the first dance of President and Mrs. Obama at the ten official inaugural balls in January 2009. A month earlier the Tri-Star Pictures film Cadillac Records had been released, and “At Last” featured prominently on its soundtrack. The film is a dramatization of the history of Chess Records, the legendary recording studio of the 1950s and 1960s that made Chicago the home of the blues, R&B and rock-n-roll.

glenn-miller-band-2a

Glenn Miller and his Orchestra, vocals Ray Eberle and Pat Friday (dubbing for actress Lynn Bari), from the film Orchestra Wives (1942)

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Chet Baker (trumpet) with Russ Freeman (piano), Jimmy Giuffre (clarinet), and Max Roach (drums) – from the album Complete Performances with the Lighthouse All Stars: Chet Baker & Miles Davis – recorded 13 September 1953 at the Lighthouse. Contrary to what the Dailymotion video title appears to suggest, Davis and Baker do not play together on this track, or on any of the tracks of the album.

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Nat King Cole with Gordon Jenkins and his Orchestra, from the 1957 album Love is the Thing, the first of four collaborations between Cole and the arranger.

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Etta James

single recorded in 1960 and released in 1961

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Mary Wells 2

Mary Wells with the Andantes –  1964

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Christina Aguilera from a television production called VH1: Men Strike Back (2000). Citing a June 28, 2006  MTV.com article by Jennifer Vineyard, Wikipedia quotes Aguilera,

Etta is my all-time favorite singer. I’ve said it for the last seven years – since I had my first debut record out – in every interview. I mean, all of Etta’s old songs, countless songs I could name, I grew up listening to.[164]

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Beyon recorded the song for the soundtrack of the film Cadillac Records (2008) in which she portrays Etta James.

From Wikipedia:

[Beyoncé] Knowles also sang the song at Barack Obama’s first dance with his wife Michelle during the Neighborhood Ball on the night of his inauguration as President of the United States, much to the chagrin of Etta James, who remarked to the audience at a concert a week later “that woman…singing my song, she gonna get her ass whupped,” and “I can’t stand Beyoncé,”[3][4] though she later told the New York Daily News she “didn’t really mean anything” by her comments.[5] The event was telecast live on multiple broadcast and cable television networks. At each of the balls, the Obamas’ dance song remained “At Last”. The song won the Grammy Award for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance at the 52nd Grammy Awards.

Live at Fashion Rocks 2008

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the soundtrack recording

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Inaugural Ball of President Barack Obama, the first of ten attended by the President and his wife on the evening of 20 Jan 2009

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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