Victor Young wrote “Stella by Starlight“ in 1944 as the theme for the popular film “The Uninvited.”
Originally an instrumental, the song became the focal point of the film’s ghost story when Ray Milland’s character played it for Stella while gazing out the window at her.
Words by Ned Washington were added in 1946 for the tune’s release as a pop song.
Tune in to First Take with Lando and Chavis – weekdays from 6-9 am MT – for Stories of Standards to hear our favorite versions of this song all week long!
Harry James’ 1947 recording rose to number 21 in the charts, while Frank Sinatra’s recording also topped at 21 a couple of months later. Charlie Parker put the standard into a jazz context, continued by Stan Getz, Bud Powell, Miles Davis, and Ella Fitzgerald.
Violinist, composer, and conductor Victor Young (1900 – 1956) led a prodigious life. He started early training in violin in Warsaw and piano in Paris, making his professional debut with the Warsaw Philharmonic.
Escaping a WWI internment in a Russian camp, Young returned to the United States by 1920. By the 1940s, Young had worked his way up to a premier film composer and conductor.
He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970 and awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for recording.
Ned Washington (1901 – 1976) was a master lyricist and composer, starting in vaudeville first as a Master of Ceremonies and then as a songwriter.
Washington wrote lyrics for “I’m Getting Sentimental Over You,” “When You Wish Upon a Star,” “La Cucaracha,” and “Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling,” which won an Oscar in 1952.
Washington was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1972.
Sources: jazzstandards.com; imdb.com
Copyright 2019 KUVO . To see more, visit KUVO