“Drop Me Off In Harlem,” By Louis Armstrong And Duke Ellington, 1933 ( Video)

August 23, 2016

Duke Ellington at the piano and Louis Armstrong on trumpet rehearse Leonard Feather's "Long, Long Journey" during a session at the RCA Victor recording studio in New York Jan. 12, 1946. (AP Photo)

“Drop Me Off in Harlem,” sang by Harlem legends Louis Armstrong And Duke Ellington, composed by Duke Ellington, with lyrics written by Broadway columnist Nick Kenny in 1933.

A.H. Lawrence in his book Duke Ellington and His World writes that the song originated from an off the cuff remark from Ellington. Nick Kenny had hailed a taxi, and offered to share it with Ellington. Kenny asked “Where to, Duke?”, and Ellington replied “Drop me off at Harlem”.

Here are the lyrics:

Drop me off in Harlem
Any place in Harlem
There’s someone waiting there
Who makes it seem like Heaven up in Harlem


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I don’t want your Dixie
You can keep your Dixie
There’s no one down in Dixie
Who can take me ‘way from my hot Harlem

Harlem has those southern skies,
They’re in my baby’s smile,
I idolize my baby’s eyes
And classy up-town style

If Harlem moved to China,
I know of nothing finer,
Than to stow away on a ‘plane some day
And have them drop me off in Harlem

Harlem has those southern skies,
They’re in my baby’s smile
I idolize my baby’s eyes
And classy up-town style

If Harlem moved to China,
I know of nothing finer,
Than to stow away on a ‘plane some day
And have them drop me off in Harlem

If Harlem moved to China
I know nothing finer than to be in Harlem

Kenny then fashioned lyrics from Ellington’s remark and presented him with them a few days later at the Cotton Club.

Here’s Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington singing “Drop Me Off in Harlem” video:

Photo credit: Duke Ellington at the piano and Louis Armstrong on trumpet rehearse Leonard Feather’s “Long, Long Journey” during a session at the RCA Victor recording studio in New York Jan. 12, 1946. (AP Photo)

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