Feb 07 2013

Paper Moon

So I was just listening to the radio, and a version of “Paper Moon” came on. This one was an instrumental, and I wish I could tell you who it was, but I don’t know. But it got me thinking… “Paper Moon” has got to be in the very short list of Best Songs Ever Written. As in, if I had done nothing else in my life but write “Paper Moon”, I could die happy with a well-earned feeling of accomplishment.

Those of you who know the song… where do you rank it? Those of you who don’t… get off of my lawn!

The immortal Ella

Nat, even better than Ella (and first in my book)

Frank, probably more popular than either, but third in my book

Some guy named Paul, who I ordinarily love, but who is up against Ella, Nat, & Frank.

Oh, my… Just found this. I already told you Nat is the best… this version is even better than the one above… so I’ll just put it here. A reminder that he was not merely a phenomenal vocalist, but a pianist of the first order. And yes, I’d trade every post of The Digital Cuttlefish for the genius in this one video. Too bad I can’t.


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  1. 1
    M can help you with that.

    Haruki Murakami, who used to own and run a jazz club, used “It’s Only a Paper Moon” as a major recurring theme in 1Q84.

    I think I’m going to have to go with Ella over the King, though. Maybe I’m a bit biased after what Nat did to my own favorite song, “Lush Life” — it was enough that Billy Strayhorn, who wrote the song, called him to complain. I can’t fault NKC’s rendition of “Paper Moon,” though.

    On the other hand, Ella sings it straighter, while King finds more opportunities to play with the rhythmic ambiguity available from the main melody. It’s odd — usually I would expect it to be the other way around, and I do love to hear singers toying with the rhythm in that sort of way.

  2. 2
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    I do love Ella, buddy ow ouch, but that performance by Nat & Co. is outta this world. What an awesome find.

  3. 3

    I like the version from star trek, but that probably has more to do with how good that section of DS9 is.

  4. 4
    Lou Doench

    Cincinnati favorites Over the Rhine have a great live cover of paper moon on “Live from Nowhere: Volume 1″
    Which you can listen to for free here, because they are awesome.

  5. 5

    Oooo… tough choice. If this was a truly civilized society, we’d be building churches to Ella Fitzgerald, and wearing silver quarter-notes on chains around our necks; but damn, Nat can swing it too, no question. I don’t know… I think we should just be grateful we live in an age of recording technology, where we can still hear them both, even though they’re gone.

  6. 6


    For voice talent, its hard to beat old Bing:

  7. 7

    An Old Geezer weighing in here – Mr. Cole had a [i]fifteen-minute[/i] television show that was broadcast in the afternoon back in my youth. I watched it in preference to cartoons.

    In the days when there were at most three choices of what to watch, you understand…….

  8. 8
    Joe Z.

    I don’t know. It’s hard to beat Wayne and Wanda.

  9. 9
    Ish Kabibble

    Cliff Edwards is best

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