Blue Skies, a jazz standard became a hit by sheer chance.
The song was introduced by actress/vocalist Belle Baker in the 1926 musical Betsy with music written by the song writing team of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. She was unhappy with the piece the two had written for her solo (This Funny World), and contacted old friend Irving Berlin in hopes he might have something that would suit her needs. He had, in fact, just put the finishing touches on a number dedicated as a Christmas gift to his newborn daughter, Mary Ellin. Baker liked the song, and it was inserted into the musical, much to the chagrin of Rodgers and Hart, who were not consulted and wouldn’t have allowed the change. The tune was the hit of the show, and Baker received 24 encores on opening night, December 28, 1926. Despite this, the show itself was a disaster and closed a month later.
However, a year later, in 1927, the first feature-length motion picture with sound, The Jazz Singer starring vocalist Al Jolson, had nine songs including Blue Skies. and it was a hit.
There have been hundreds of recorded versions, yet you’ll have to make do with the (just) eight found in IndoJazzia’s archives.
1935-39. Chick Webb
1938. Benny Goodman
1942. Nat King Cole Trio
1946. Peggy Lee
1949. Art Tatum
1954. Dinah Washington
1981. Ray Brown & Laurindo Almeida
1988. Cassandra Wilson
+ bonus track
+ Rod Stewart in 2005 …