Duke Ellington

By Nathan Moss

Duke Ellington, "Take the A Train"

"Take The 'A' Train" Significance

Take the "A" Train is a jazz standard written by Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington. By far the most famous piece by Strayhorn and Ellington. This song is named after the one of the train in the subway that was recently built in the 1930's. Also, when Duke was giving Strayhorn directions to the studio they were meeting, the first thing on the list was to "Take The 'A' Train". After the song was out, Duke decided to make it his signature song. This song was also Strayhorn's big breakthrough. After this song, people started to learn who Strayhorn was.

Duke Ellington and American Culture

Duke Ellington wrote over 2,000 songs and had over 200 albums under his name. Duke lived in Harlem, New York, in the 1920's. Duke Ellington was put under a spotlight at The Cotton Club. The entire world was able to see Duke perform on stage because there was a broadcast by NBC. After this performance, people warmed up to Duke and started to love him. Duke then went on to travel the globe and spread the amazing skill he possessed. Just to show how much Duke impacted America and how much people loved him, almost 12,000 people from all over the world attended Duke Ellington's funeral.


Duke Ellington was born on April 29, 1899 in Washington DC. When he was only 7, he was rewarded the nickname "Duke", for being very nice and polite. When Duke was 15, he was inspired by his job as a soda jerk to write his first composition called, "Soda Fountain Rag". Duke was awarded a art scholarship to the Pratt Institute. There, Duke followed his passion for ragtime and started to play professionally at the age of 17.

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Duke Ellington vs. Blake Shelton

Duke Ellington was a amazing jazz singer back in the 1920's. Blake Shelton is a modern day country singer. Duke and Blake are alike in some ways and different in others. One of the similarities of the two is that they are both good on the stage. This means that they are good in front audiences. They both look excited to be on the stage and perform with lots of energy. One of the ways that they are different from each other is the style that they sing. Duke was a great jazz singer and he played lots of brass family instruments and had lots of other people playing behind him singing. Blake is a country singer, so he sings with background music and sounds, unlike Duke, who had actual people.
Blake Shelton - God Gave Me You (Official Video)