I think we’re due for another Fantastic Foursome and I’ve picked one of my favorite songs, offering four versions of it and giving folks the chance to vote. (Wouldn’t be much point in choosing one I didn’t like.) The incredibly prolific Victor Young wrote it for a spooky 1944 movie called The Uninvited, which starred Ray Milland and also ‘introduced’ Gail Russell in her first adult role. She played Stella — the subject of our song, “Stella By Starlight.”
A couple of years later, it was given lyrics by Ned Washington and the song was on its way to becoming a jazz standard. Early best-sellers included instrumental versions by Harry James and his orchestra and also one by Charlie Parker, who softened his normally frenetic sound to reach a wider audience. Vocalists that did well with the tune in its early days included Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald, but there is a school of thought that says this kind of song is best when performed by a male vocalist, so I’ve substituted Vic Damone in the choices below.
Charlie Parker — Frank Sinatra — Harry James — Vic Damone