Take The ‘A’ Train

Duke Ellington and his Famous Orchestra


This is the original February 15, 1941 recording of possibly Duke’s best-known melody.

*”Take The A Train” was written by Billy Strayhorn.

William Thomas Strayhorn was born November 29, 1915 in Dayton, Ohio but soon after his family moved to the Homewood section of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His mother would often send him to stay with his grandparents in Hillsborough, North Carolina, to protect him from his father’s violent drunken sprees. In an interview, Strayhorn said that his grandmother was his primary influence during the first ten years of his life. He first became interested in music while living with her, playing hymns on her piano, and playing records on her Victrola.

From this early musical interest would blossom the career of a pianist and composer, best known for his successful collaboration with bandleader Duke Ellington for nearly three decades.

*Billy Strayhorn was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 1964; eventually succumbing to the illness in the early morning hours of May 31, 1967.

*His best known works include “Take the ‘A’ Train,” “Chelsea Bridge,” and “Lush Life.”

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