Sometimes it’s what you don’t find that stands out. For example, in the Knott’s record collection, there is not a single tune by Irving Berlin or George Gershwin!
Not every great songwriter was completely overlooked. One tune by Duke Ellington made it in. From 1943, we have “Do Nothin’ Till You Hear from Me” performed by Woody Herman while he was with Decca and a relative unknown:
Cole Porter made as many contributions to American popular music as anyone, but only two of his songs are in the collection. “Night and Day” was one of the most popular songs of the thirties. It’s performed here for dancing by Ambrose and his Orchestra:
Porter also scored one of the biggest hits of the forties with “Begin the Beguine.” This performance by Artie Shaw’s Orchestra established Shaw as a fixture in the big band era”
All three of these songs are identified as foxtrots on their label; otherwise they might have been overlooked too. What would the dancers at the Knott House have thought if they had known which songs of their era would become standards?
Woody Herman (1943)
A: Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me
Ambrose and His Orchestra (1934)
A: Night and Day
Artie Shaw (1938)
B: Begin the Beguine