Roaring 20s Songs for Trumpet

Roaring 20s Songs for Trumpet

Step back in time with a collection of tunes from one of the most dynamic decades of the 20th century. This collection is not just a set of tunes; it's a portal to an age of jazz clubs, speakeasies, and a generation dancing towards modernity.

1.   Fats Waller  -  Ain't Misbehavin'

Waller, Fats

Written by Fats Waller in 1929 for the musical 'Connie's Hot Chocolates', 'Ain't Misbehaving is a stride jazz classic. After its first performance in 'Connie's Hot Chocolates' it transferred to Broadway, where Louis Armstrong, who played a solo of the piece in the performances, became associated with it. The song became a publishing phenomenon, selling huge quantities of sheet music. It has been covered by a plethora of artists throughout the twentieth century.

No one to talk with
All by myself
No one to walk with
But I'm happy
On the shelf
Ain't misbehavin'
I'm savin' my love for you

Ain't Misbehavin'

2.   Cecil Mack  -  Charleston

Mack, Cecil

Charleston is a 1923 song by James P. Johnson, with lyrics by Cecil Mack. It was written to accompany the Charleston dance in the Broadway show 'Running Wild.' It is most commonly performed as an instrumental work and has featured in a number of film that evoke the 20s, such as 'Roxie Hart' (1942), 'It's a Wonderful Life' (1946) and Woody Allen's 'Midnight in Paris' (2011).

Charleston! Charleston! Made in Carolina!
Some dance, some prance, I'll say there's nothing finer than the
Charleston, Charleston, gee how you can shuffle;
Ev'ry step you do, leads to something new.
Man I'm telling you, it's a lapazoo!


3.   Elvis Presley  -  Are You Lonesome

Presley, Elvis

Though this song is most associated with Elvis Presley, who recorded it in April 1960, it was written in 1926 by Roy Turk and Lou Handman. The song is known for its spoken bridge, including the words from Shakespeare's 'As You Like It': 'You know someone said that the world's a stage. And each must play a part.' It was well-known before Presley performed it, though his association with it turned it into an all time classic, going double platinum in 1992.

Are you lonesome tonight
Do you miss me tonight
Are you sorry
We drifted apart
Does your memory stray
To a bright summer day
When I kissed you
And called you sweetheart
Do the chairs in your parlour
Seem empty and bare
Do you gaze at your doorstep
And picture me there
Is your heart filled with pain
Shall I come back again
Tell me dear
Are you lonesome tonight

Are You Lonesome

4.   Ray Henderson  -  Five Foot Two, Eyes Of Blue (Has Anybody Seen My Girl)

Henderson, Ray

'Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue' may have been written as early as 1914, but achieved its popularity in the decade of the twenties. Generally attributed to composer Ray Henderson, some have, however, claimed earlier authorship by Percy Wenrich. It was first recorded in 1925, a version later in that year by Gene Austin becoming hugely popular. Apart from many subsequent covers it has been used in movies such as 'Has Anybody Seen My Gal?' (1952) and 'The Great Gatsby' (1974).

Five foot two, eyes of blue,
But oh! what those five foot could do,
Has anybody seen my girl?
Turned-up nose, turned-down hose,
Flapper, yes sir, one of those,
Has anybody seen my girl?

Five Foot Two, Eyes Of Blue (Has Anybody Seen My Girl)

5.   Jones  -  It Had To Be You

Jones, Isham

'It Had to Be You,' published in 1926, was written by Isham Jones, with lyrics by Gus Kahn. It quickly became a number one single and the fourth best selling single of the year.

It had to be you
It had to be you
I wandered around, and finally found
The somebody who
Could make me be true
Could make me be blue
And even be glad
Just to be sad - thinking of you

It Had To Be You

6.   Jerome Kern  -  Ol' Man River

Kern, Jerome

'Ol' Man River' was written by Jerome Kern, with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein for the musical 'Show Boat', premiered in 1927. The song, unusual in this genre for featuring the bass voice, became especially associated with the singer Paul Robeson, who recorded it for the first time in 1928.

Ol' man river,
Dat ol' man river
He mus'know sumpin'
But don't say nuthin',
He jes'keeps rollin'
He keeps on rollin' along.

Ol' Man River

7.   Lovie Austin  -  Down hearted Blues

Austin, Lovie

Lovie Austin composed his 'Down Hearted Blues' to lyrics by singer Alberta Hunter, who also sang the first performances. A subsequent recording by Bessie Smith sold 780,000 copies in just six months, the song eventually being included in the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress in 2002 as being a work that is "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

Gee, but it's hard to love someone
When that someone don't love you
I'm so disgusted, heartbroken, too
I've got those down-hearted blues

Down hearted Blues

8.   Benny Davis  -  Baby Face

Davis, Benny

'Baby Face', written in Tin Pan Alley by Harry Ask and Benny Davis, is a popular 1926 jazz song. A number one hit in the year it was written it has been subsequently covered by artists including Little Richard, Paul McCartney, Guy Lombardo and Julie Andrews. It also featured on The Muppets second album, performed by Muppet Chickens.

Baby face, you've got the cutest little baby face
There's not another one could take your place, Baby face
My poor heart is jumpin', you sure have started somethin'
Baby face, I'm up in heaven when I'm in your fond embrace
I didn't need a shove, 'cause I just fell in love
With your pretty baby face

Baby Face

9.   George Gershwin  -  Swanee

Gershwin, George

George Gerwin wrote 'Swanee' for a New York City revue in 1919, the first performances of the song making little wider impact. The following year, however, it was taken up by Al Jolson for his show 'Sinbad', becoming a colossal hit. Even though Gershwin wrote much more and, arguably, much better music it remains his most lucrative single song.

Swanee !
How I love you, how I love !
My dear ol' Swanee
I'd give the world to be
Among the folks in
D-I-X-I-E-ven no[w]My mammy's
Waiting for me
Praying for me
Down by the Swanee
The folks up north will see me no more
When I go to the Swanee Shore !


10.   Louis Silvers  -  April Showers

Silvers, Louis

'April Showers' was written by Louis Silvers with music by B.G. De Sylva for the 1921 musical 'Bombo'. It became particularly associated with Al Jolson, though has been covered by many other artists. It has also featured in a number of movies, including 'A Plantation Act' (1926), 'April Showers' (1948) and 'Wet Hare' (1962). It was also famously used in a comedy routine by British comedians Morecambe and Wise.

Though April showers may come your way,
They bring the flowers that bloom in May
So if it's raining, have no regrets
Because it isn't raining rain you know,
(It's raining violets,)
And where you see clouds up on the hills,
You soon will see crowds of daffodils,
So keep on looking for a blue bird
And list'ning for his song,
Whenever April showers come along.
Though April long.

April Showers

11.   Walter Donaldson  -  Yes Sir, That's My Baby

Donaldson, Walter

Walter Donaldson's 'Yes Sir, That's My Baby,' with lyrics by Gus Kahn, is a classic song from 1925. It may have been inspired by a child's toy, the composer translating the sounds made by a friend's daughter's mechanical pig into music. There were a number of successful recordings of it made in 1925, with the song being widely covered through the century and beyond.

Yes, Sir, That's my Baby, No, Sir, Don't mean "Maybe"
Yes, Sir, That's my Baby now.
Yes ma'am, we've decided, No ma'am, we won't hide it,
Yes, ma'am, you're invited now.
By the way, By the way,
When we reach the preacher I'll say,
Yes Sir, That's my Baby, No, Sir, don't mean "maybe",
Yes Sir, That's my Baby now.

Yes Sir, That's My Baby

12.   George Gershwin  -  Lady, Be Good

Gershwin, George

'Lady, Be Good' is a song by George Gershwin, with lyrics by his brother Ira, from their 1924 musical of the same name. It was recorded a number of times in the following year with a 1947 version by Ella Fitzgerald becoming a notable hit.

Oh, sweet and lovely lady, be good
Oh, lady, be good to me
I am so awfully misunderstood
So lady, be good to me
Oh, please have some pity
I'm all-alone in this big city
I tell you I'm just a lonesome babe in the wood,
So lady be good to me.

Lady, Be Good

13.   Richard A. Whitin.. -  Ain't We Got Fun

Whiting, Richard A.

'Ain't We Got Fun' is a 1921 song written by Richard A. Whiting with lyrics by Raymond B. Egan and Gus Kahn. A musical icon of the Roaring 20s it was referred to widely in literature of the time, including in 'The Great Gatsby' and 'Big Blonde.' The black humour of the lyrics have been seen by some, including George Orwell, as a social commentary on poverty.

Ev'ry morning, ev'ry evening ain't we got fun?
Not much money, oh, but honey, ain't we got fun?
The rent's unpaid dear, we haven't a bus
But smiles were made dear for people like us

Ain't We Got Fun