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Star Eyes (1943)

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Origin and Chart Information
“[‘Star Eyes’ is] a piece that Brooks was born to play.”

- Lawrence Kart

Rank 87
Words and Music Gene De Paul
Don Raye

Helen O’Connell and Bob Eberly, with Jimmy Dorsey and His Orchestra, introduced “Star Eyes” in the 1943, MGM musical, I Dood It. Before they could make a recording of “Star Eyes” O’Connell left the band to get married and was replaced by Kitty Kallen. So it was Eberly and Kitty Kallen who sang on the Dorsey Orchestra’s recording of “Star Eyes,” which was on the pop charts for 16 weeks in 1943, peaking at number three.


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Chart information used by permission from
Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890-1954

I Dood It (aka By Hook or by Crook in Great Britain) starred Red Skelton and Eleanor Powell and was a remake of Buster Keaton’s Spite Marriage (1929). In Vincente Minnelli’s opinion, it was the worst movie he ever directed. Part of the problem was that he was hired after production had already begun, and the producer would not let him discard any of the previous work. Also included in the cast were Lena Horne and Hazel Scott, appearing as themselves. The high points of I Dood It were the performances of “Jericho,” “Taking a Chance on Love,” “One O’Clock Jump,” and “Star Eyes.”


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- Jeremy Wilson

Recommendations for This Tune
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Dexter Gordon
The Jumpin' Blues
1996 Original Jazz Classics 899
Original recording 1970
Dexter Gordon made a trip from Europe (his home at the time) back to the U.S. for this recording with a delightfully swinging “Star Eyes.” These sessions are particularly significant as they were the last major recordings by pianist Wynton Kelly, who would pass away a few months later.
Roy Haynes
1994 Evidence 22092
Original recording 1992
At an age when many people retire, Roy Haynes began a new phase of his career. The 67-year-old Haynes is heard here at the beginning of a late-career emergence as a bandleader and recording artist. He and his young quartet (saxophonist Craig Handy, pianist Dave Kikoski and bassist Ed Howard) absolutely burn on this version of “Star Eyes.”
Anita O'Day
Sings the Winners
Polygram Records
Original Recording 1957
O’Day swings playfully on this performance. She is faithful to the melody while still displaying her characteristic flexibility.
Barry Harris
At the Jazz Workshop
1991 OJC 208
Original recording 1960
Pianist Harris, one of the primary keepers of the bebop flame, offers a predictably wonderful rendition of this tune. He is joined here by the stalwart rhythm team of bassist Sam Jones and drummer Louis Hayes.

- Noah Baerman

Cal Tjader
La Onda Va Bien
1990, Concord 4113
Original recording, 1979
Vibraphonist Tjader launched the new Concord Picante label dedicated to Latin Jazz with this superb CD featuring Latin percussionist Pancho Sanchez in the sextet. “Star Eyes” swings seductively, and “Speak Low” is also marvelous.

- Sandra Burlingame

Roy Hargrove/Christian McBride/Stephen Scott
Parker's Mood
1995 Polygram Records 27907
Original recording 1995
These once young lions, trumpeter Hargrove, pianist Stephen Scott, and bassist Christian McBride, have matured into virtuoso players. But they still show a lot of the playful cubs in their vibrant approach to the music.

- Ben Maycock

Charlie Parker
Polygram Records 517173
This CD features the alto saxophonist in a variety of formats and provides a great place to become acquainted with Parker. Excellent version of "Star Eyes."'
Lorez Alexandria
Star Eyes
1996, Muse 5488

Vocalist Alexandria is a subtle interpreter, commanding the sort of attention that makes her recordings more delicious on each listening. This is a fine version of "Star Eyes"' with top-notch personnel.

- Jon Luthro

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