Begin The Beguine


Artie Shaw and his Orchestra : Begin the Beguine

‘Begin the Beguine’, written by Cole Porter, was not well received when it was included in the 1935 musical, “Jubilee.”  However, three years later in July of 1938 on recording day for the record ‘Indian Love Call’, Artie Shaw insisted that they record ‘Begin the Beguine’ for the ‘B’ side. RCA executives thought Shaw’s idea of including the song would be “a complete waste of time”. Begin the Beguine turned out to be the song which catapaulted Artie Shaw to fame in 1938 when it became one of the first records in almost 10 years to sell more than 300,000 copies. Shaw’s version of the song surpassed 1 million records sold in 1944, which was more than any other intstrumental at the time.  ‘Begin the Beguine’ charted two times; once with the original release on ‘Indian Love Call’, and again as a re-issue. When Cole Porter met Artie Shaw at a party during the first year of Shaw’s record’s success, he shook his hand and said, “Happy to meet my collaborator.” “Did that involve royalties?” Shaw asked. “No,” Porter replied. 

Album: Indian Love Call
Side A: Indian Love Call
Side B: Begin the Beguine

Style: Jazz

Date Recorded: July 24, 1938

Composer: Cole Porter
Arrangement: Jerry Gray

Lyricist: Cole Porter

Instrumentation: Clarinet, trumpets, trombones, alto saxohone, tenor saxophones

Charted:  In 1938 ‘Begin the Beguine’ Charted on Billboard for 18 weeks total, and charted for 6 weeks as the #1 song in the country. 

Awards: Inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1977. Added to the Library of Congress in 2012

Wikipedia: > Begin the Beguine



When they begin the beguine
It brings back the sound of music so tender,
It brings back a night of tropical splendor,
It brings back a memory ever green.

I’m with you once more under the stars,
And down by the shore an orchestra’s playing
And even the palms seem to be swaying
When they begin the beguine.

To live it again is past all endeavor,
Except when that tune clutches my heart,
And there we are, swearing to love forever,
And promising never, never to part.

What moments divine, what rapture serene,
Till clouds came along to disperse the joys we had tasted,
And now when I hear people curse the chance that was wasted,
I know but too well what they mean;

So don’t let them begin the beguine
Let the love that was once a fire remain an ember;
Let it sleep like the dead desire I only remember
When they begin the beguine.

Oh yes, let them begin the beguine, make them play
Till the stars that were there before return above you,
Till you whisper to me once more,
“Darling, I love you!”
And we suddenly know, what heaven we’re in,
When they begin the beguine

Lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc.
Written by: Cole Porter

Label: Bluebird B-7746-B, RCA Victor

Begin the Beguine - Artie Shaw and his Orchestar - Bluebird record label


Begin the Beguine - Artie Shaw and his Orchestar - RCA Victor  record label

Artie Shaw Orchestra

  • Artie Shaw (director, clarinet)
  • Harry Rodgers (trombone)
  • Ted Vesely (trombone)
  • George Arus (trombone)
  • Claude Bowen (trumpet)
  • Johnny Best (trumpet)
  • Chuck Peterson (trumpet)
  • Cliff Leeman (drums)
  • Les Burness (piano)
  • Sid Weiss (string bass)
  • Al Avola (guitar)
  • Ronnie Perry (saxophone)
  • Hank Freeman (saxophone)
  • Les Robinson (saxophone)
  • Tony Pastor (saxophone)

Begin the Beguine- Artie Shaw

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