“Blue Skies“ is a popular song, written by Irving Berlin in 1926…..as a last-minute addition to the Rodgers and Hart musical Betsy…..and although the show ran for only 39 performances….“Blue Skies” was an instant success….with audiences on opening night demanding 24 encores of the piece from star Belle Baker…..when during the final repetition….Ms. Baker forgot her lyrics….which prompted Berlin to sing them from his seat in the front row.
In 1927, the music was published and Ben Selvin’s recorded version was a hit….when that same year, it became one of the first songs to be featured in a “talkie movie”….when Al Jolson performed it in The Jazz Singer….as the song was recorded for all of the major and dime store labels of the time….while another version of the song was recorded by Benny Goodman and his Orchestra in 1935 (Victor 25136)…..with a Bing Crosby/Fred Astaire film taking its title along with two recorded versions by Count Basie and Benny Goodman reaching # 8 and # 9 on the pop charts respectively. Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye performed the song in 1954’s White Christmas.
“Blue Skie” was already a major western swing and country standard from 1939….when it was performed by Moon Mullican….then Thelonious Monk’s 1947 composition “In Walked Bud” is based on the chord changes to “Blue Skies”…..which was followed by a crossover recording of Willie Nelson’s version of “Blue Skies” …. which went to # 1 on the country music hit charts in 1978…..and is seen in this video herewith being performed by Willie Nelson & The Family Band at Austin City Limits in 1981,