The title refers to the “Then” relatively new “A” subway service that runs through New York City, going at that time from eastern Brooklyn, beginning service in 1936 traveling up into Harlem and northern Manhattan, using an express track section which was opened in 1932 through Manhattan.
“Take the ‘A’ Train” is a jazz standard by Billy Strayhorn.
Although Billy Strayhorn said he wrote lyrics for it, the recorded first lyrics were composed by, or for, the Delta Rhythm Boys by some uncredited talent. Historical sources are divided on that aspect of this “Film Short”/”Soundie” version. However, the majority opinion credits “The Delta Rhythm Boys”.
Here’s the Delta Rhythm Boys version of “Take The A Train”:
The Delta Rhythm Boys have been inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.
The Delta Rhythm Boys were an American vocal group active for over 50 years from 1934 to 1987. The group was first formed at Langston University in Langston, Oklahoma, in 1934 by Elmaurice Miller, Traverse Crawford, Essie Joseph Adkins, and Otha Lee Gaines.
The group appeared often in the 1940s on radio programs such as Amos and Andy and The Joan Davis Show, and performed on Broadway in the shows, Sing Out the News and Hot Mikado. They also appeared extensively in film, including in You’ll Never Get Rich with Bing Crosby and Rita Hayworth. Aside from their own recordings, they served as background vocalists for Charlie Barnet, Mildred Bailey, Ella Fitzgerald, and Ruth Brown.