a popular song and jazz standard written in 1930 with lyrics by Edward Heyman, Robert Sour and Frank Eyton; and music by Johnny Green.
"Body and Soul" was written in New York City for the British actress and singer Gertrude Lawrence, who introduced it to London audiences. Published in England, it was first performed in the United States by Libby Holman in the 1930 Broadway revue Three's a Crowd. In Britain, the orchestras of Jack Hylton and Ambrose recorded the ballad first in the same week in February 1930. In the United States, the tune grew quickly in popularity, and by the end of 1930 at least eleven American bands had recorded it. Louis Armstrong was the first jazz musician to record "Body and Soul", in October 1930 but it was Paul Whiteman and Jack Fulton who popularized it in United States.
"Body and Soul" remains a jazz standard, with hundreds of versions performed and recorded by dozens of artists. Classic vocal recordings include those of Ella Fitzgerald, Annette Hanshaw, Billie Holiday, Billy Eckstine, Etta James, Sarah Vaughan (for the 1957 album, Swingin' Easy and the 1978 album, How Long Has This Been Going On?) and Frank Sinatra, and such musicians as Benny Goodman, Lee Konitz, Bill Evans, Russell Garcia (on his 1958 album The Johnny Ever Greens, starring John Williams on piano and Don Fagerquist on trumpet), John Coltrane, (on his 1964 album, Coltrane's Sound,) Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk, Stan Kenton, Royce Campbell, and Lester Young contributed notable instrumental recordings. The Manhattan Transfer sang it on their album Extensions in 1979, with lyrics honoring both Hawkins and Eddie Jefferson. Guitar legend Wes Montgomery recorded it four times. To this day, "Body and Soul" is the most recorded jazz standard. (This is one of the few big hits that had a number of different versions of the lyric.)
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