Blue Velvet (song)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Blue Velvet (Tony Bennett song))
Jump to: navigation, search
"Blue Velvet"
Blue Velvet Song Recorde Single.jpg
Single by The Clovers
from the album Blue Velvet
Released 1955
Format 12" vinyl record
Genre Rhythm and blues
Length 2:33 [1]
Label Atlantic

"Blue Velvet" is a popular song written and composed in 1950 by Bernie Wayne and Lee Morris. A top 20 hit for Tony Bennett in its original 1951 version, the song has since been re-recorded many times, with a 1963 version by Bobby Vinton reaching No. 1.


While visiting friends in Richmond, Virginia, songwriter Bernie Wayne stayed at the Jefferson Hotel, and it was the sight of a woman at a party held at the Jefferson which inspired Wayne to write the lyric for "Blue Velvet."[2] When Wayne pitched "Blue Velvet" to Columbia Records head A&R man Mitch Miller, he had only played the opening line: "She wore blue velvet ...", when Miller interrupted him, saying: "How about [my giving the song to] Tony Bennett?" Wayne's response, "Don't you want to hear the rest of the song?", drew this advice from Miller: "Quit while you're ahead!" [3]

Tony Bennett version[edit]

The first artist for whom "Blue Velvet" was a hit was Tony Bennett who recorded the song in a 17 July 1951 session with the Percy Faith orchestra: released 21 September 1951, Bennett's "Blue Velvet" peaked at No. 16 on the Billboard chart of "Records Most Played by Disc Jockeys,"[4] while reaching No. 18 on Billboard's chart of "Best Selling Pop Singles,"[5] and No. 18 on Billboard's chart of "Most Played Juke Box Records."[6] Bennett's version made its album debut on a 1958 compilation disc that was also titled Blue Velvet. A live version of "Blue Velvet" was featured on the 1962 concert album Tony Bennett at Carnegie Hall, with the selection being included on The Good Life, a 1963 EP release in the UK. Bennett dueted with k.d. lang on a remake of "Blue Velvet" for his 2011 album Duets II, while Bennett's 2012 album Viva Duets featured Bennett duetting on "Blue Velvet" with Maria Gadú, who sang her part in Portuguese. ("Blue Velvet" was a bonus cut on an edition of Viva Duets sold exclusively through Target.)

The Clovers version[edit]

"Blue Velvet" was recorded by the Clovers for their album of the same name.[1][7] Released in 1955 through Atlantic Records, the song was released as a single on 10" shellac.[7] The song was initially recorded, produced, and released when the R&B group was still consisted of John "Buddy" Bailey (lead singer), Billy Mitchell, Matthew McQuater, Harold Lucas, Harold Winley, Bill Harris.[7] Various members of the group left, died, or were replaced, although the group as a whole still performed the song regardless of whom its members were. The track reached No. 14 on Billboard's Rhythm & Blues Records chart of "Best Sellers in Stores."[8]

The Statues version[edit]

The first version of "Blue Velvet" to appear on the Billboard Hot 100 during the rock 'n' roll era was recorded and released by the Statues, a Nashville-based doo-wop trio consisting of Buzz Cason, Hugh Jarrett, and Richard Williams. In 1959 Cason and Williams, members of local rockabilly band the Casuals, had been invited by Jarrett, a former member of the Jordanaires and currently a disc jockey at WLAC, to join him - along with veteran background songstress and composer Marijohn Wilkin - to form a vocal chorale who would back artists recording in Nashville; the three male members of the chorale were signed to Liberty Records by label founder Al Bennett, who had Snuff Garrett - in his apparent debut as a producer - record the trio in three sessions at the Owen Bradley Studio at the end of November or the beginning of December 1959.[9] Two sides from the Garrett sessions had a May 1960 single release credited to the Statues (the group name was a reference to the Statue of Liberty, as the group was signed to Liberty Records): the intended A-side was the Marijohn Wilkin original co-write (with Polly Harrison) "Keep the Hall Light Burning" but it was the flip: a remake of "Blue Velvet," which would not only become a Top Ten hit in Nashville but also rank on regional hit parades across the US rising as high as No. 8 on the 30 September 1960 Top 50 survey for preeminent Los Angeles Top 40 station KRLA.[10] However,the Statues's version of "Blue Velvet" would only accrue enough focused national interest to rank on the Hot 100 for a period of three weeks in August 1960, with a peak of No. 84.[11][12]

Snuff Garrett had also recorded Buzz Cason solo on a cover version of the UK hit "Look For a Star" and Cason's version - released under the name Garry Miles (evidently to promote confusion with the original version by Garry Mills - had become a Top 20 hit in the summer of 1960: as well as his solo career as Garry Miles, Cason had also remained a member of the Casuals; these were long established as the road band for Brenda Lee, and they also provided backing for gigs by other acts. Although the follow-up to both the Statues' "Blue Velvet" and Garry Miles' "Look for a Star" was a one-off release from "Garry Miles and the Statues" titled "Dream Girl," Cason was unable and/or uninterested in prioritizing his involvement with the Statues, which group would be identified in the obituary for Richard Williams as a "studio-only vocal trio."[13] The Statues's second single release after "Dream Girl," the Moonglows's remake of "[Ten] Commandments of Love" in August 1961, would be the last sign of life in the group's career.[12][14]

Bobby Vinton version[edit]

"Blue Velvet"
Single by Bobby Vinton
from the album Blue on Blue
B-side "Is There a Place (Where I Can Go)"
Released 1963
Format Vinyl, 7 in, 45 RPM
Recorded 1963
Genre Traditional pop
Length 2:47
Label Epic
Producer(s) Bob Morgan
Bobby Vinton singles chronology
"Blue on Blue"
"Blue Velvet"
"There! I've Said It Again"
"Blue on Blue"
“Blue Velvet”
"There! I've Said It Again"

The most successful recording of "Blue Velvet" was released by Bobby Vinton in 1963. Vinton's version reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on 21 September 1963 and remained at No. 1 for the subsequent two weeks.[15][16] "Blue Velvet" also afforded Vinton a No. 1 hit on the U.S. Middle-Road Singles chart, where its No. 1 tenure was eight weeks.[17]

Vinton's No. 3 hit in the summer of 1963, with "Blue on Blue," prompted the recording of the Blue on Blue album comprising songs featuring the word "blue" in the title. Vinton's friend, music publisher Al Gallico, suggested "Blue Velvet" as a Blue on Blue album track and sent his secretary with a dollar to a music store to purchase the song's sheet music; an hour later, Vinton had recorded "Blue Velvet" in two takes. Vinton did not expect the song to be a hit, and believed that his remake of "Am I Blue?" had more sales potential.[18]

Vinton's version was ranked No. 4 on Cash Box's "Top 100 Chart Hits of 1963"[19] and No. 8 on Cash Box's "Top 100 Chart Hits of 1964".[20]

Vinton's recording failed to make the British charts when originally released, but a re-release in 1990 reached No. 2 on the UK Singles Chart, with "Blue on Blue" as the B-side.[21]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1963) Peak
Australia (Music Maker)[22] 9
Canada (CHUM Hit Parade)[23] 1
New Zealand (Lever Hit Parade)[24] 1
Peru (La Prensa)[25] 8
Philippines[26] 5
South Africa[26] 6
US Billboard Hot 100[15] 1
US Billboard Middle-Road Singles[27] 1
Chart (1990) Peak
Flemish Belgium[28] 38
Irish Singles Chart[29] 3
UK Singles Chart[21] 2

Lana Del Rey version[edit]

"Blue Velvet"
Lana Del Rey Blue Velvet Cover.jpeg
Single by Lana Del Rey
from the album Paradise
Released September 20, 2012 (2012-09-20)
Format Digital download
Length 2:36
Label Interscope
  • Bernie Wayne
  • Lee Morris
Producer(s) Emile Haynie
Lana Del Rey singles chronology
"National Anthem"
"Blue Velvet"
"National Anthem"
“Blue Velvet”
Audio sample

American singer and songwriter Lana Del Rey released a cover of the song "Blue Velvet" in 2012. It was taken from reissue of her debut studio album Born to Die – The Paradise Edition and her third EP and second studio album, Paradise. It was released as a single on September 20, 2012, through Interscope Records, and used in an advertising campaign for the clothing retailer H&M.


Del Rey had recorded a cover of "Blue Velvet" for her 2012 H&M Autumn campaign.[30][31] On September 20, the song was released as a single.[32] Del Rey was selected for the H&M ad campaign after an impressionable performance at a Mulberry dinner party. Industry moguls Michelle Williams, Alexa Chung, Elizabeth Olsen, and Anna Wintour attended the party and were impressed by the performance. A public relations manager for H&M said Del Rey was chosen because they "were looking for a style icon and singer to model our fall collection and so Lana Del Rey was the perfect choice."[33][34][35]

Music video[edit]

On September 19, the music video, which served as a commercial for the H&M 2012 Autumn Collection as well, for "Blue Velvet" was released through H&M.[36] In the video, Del Rey is singing the song in a low-lit room before an audience of pallid people, playing an Americana lounge singer dressed in a pink mohair sweater,[37] She is then hypnotized.[38] Three women dressed identically to Del Rey sit on a couch and watch her coldly.[39] At the end, a little man walks into the room, pulls out the plug for Del Rey's microphone, silencing her.[38] Compared to the David Lynch film of the same name,[40] it was directed by Johan Renck.[40] and composed in post-World War II Americana fashion and the notion of external beauty cloaking inner vulnerability.[41] A behind the scenes video was filmed and posted to H&M's official YouTube channel.[42]

Critical reception[edit]

Rolling Stone called Del Rey's cover "doleful."[38] Carl Williot, of Idolator, dubbed Del Rey's cover "beautifully languorous and dreary (though [it] is replete with her go-to swell of strings and grainy programmed beats)."[41] Jenna Hally Rubenstein, writing for MTV, called the commercial and vocals "moody, totally broody," playfully adding, "What would a Lana Del Rey campaign be if it didn't make you feel a tad depressed?" In the video, Rubenstein said Del Rey was a "ridiculous beauty" sporting a Brigitte Bardot–inspired look, which she added, not every singer can pull off.[39] People said the video was dramatic, intriguing, unique, and played off the moody, vintage Hollywood image of the retro-inspired starlet. Appropriately, they wrote, the video had film noir elements.[43] Specifically, it was compared to the neo-noir film, Mulholland Drive, as well as to the film Blue Velvet itself.[44] In an interview with Artinfo, David Lynch spoke out about Del Rey's cover:[44][45]

Track listing[edit]

Digital download [46]

  1. "Blue Velvet" – 2:36

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Paradise.[47]



  • The Larry Gold Orchestra – strings

Technical and production

  • Ben Baptie – mixing assistant
  • Spencer Burgess Jr. – assistant recording engineer
  • John Davis – mastering
  • Tom Elmhirst – mixing
  • Larry Gold – string arrangements
  • Emile Haynie – production


Chart (2012) Peak
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[48] 40
France (SNEP)[49] 40
Germany (Official German Charts)[50] 49
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[51] 44
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[52] 42
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[53] 60

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
France [54] September 20, 2012 Digital download Universal
Germany [55]
United Kingdom [56] Polydor
United States [57] September 25, 2012 Interscope
Canada [58]

Other recordings[edit]

  • The first public performance of the song was by singer Ray Mason in 1950 at a fashion show in Boston.[59][citation needed]
 • The Moonglows album Look! It's the Moonglows/ 1958  • Bobby Rydell album The Top Hits Of 1963/ 1964
 • Tommy Sands album Sands Storm!/ 1958  • Pat Boone album Near You/ 1965
 • The Velours single/ 1959  • The Lettermen album More Hit Sounds Of The Lettermen!/ 1966
 • The Paragons [1] single/ 1960
"bubbled under the Billboard Hot 100" for three weeks in the autumn of 1960, two weeks sharing the "bubbling under" chart with the version by the Statues which had just dropped off the Hot 100 (see Section 4 above).
 • Don Cherry album Let It Be Me/ 1968
 • The Dubs album The Dubs Meet The Shells/ 1962  • Jerry Vale album "Jerry Vale sings 16 Greatest Hits Of The 60's"/ 1970
 • Lawrence Welk and His Orchestra (instrumental single/ 1963)
No. 103 on Billboard's Bubbling Under the Hot 100:[60] track feature on album Apples & Bananas (1965)
 • Jimmy Velvet single/ 1969
 • Arthur Prysock album Coast to Coast/ 1963  • Leon Ware album Undercover/ 1987
 • Vince Hill single/ 1963
Track was later used as the B-side of Hill's 31 March 1967 single release "If You Knew".
 • Houston Person (instrumental) album The Party/ 1991
features Houston Person tenor sax Joey DeFrancesco organ Randy Johnston guitar Bertell Knox drums Sammy Figueroa percussion
 • Sammy Davis Jr. album Sammy Davis Jr. Sings the Big Ones for Young Lovers/ 1964  • Houston Person (instrumental) album Blue Velvet/ 2001
features Houston Person tenor sax Ray Drummond bass Grady Tate drums Richard Wyands piano
 • Rob de Nijs as "Hoe Heet Je?" Dutch single/ 1963
also included on 1963 EP which had "Oh, Had Ik Een Hamer" as the title cut
 • Jo Vally (nl) as "Diep in jouw ogen" Flemish album Zingt wereldhits/ 2003
 • Trini Lopez album The Love Album/ 1963  • Dave album Doux tam-tam/ 2004
 • Vince Hill album At the Club/ 1964
album recorded at the Palace Theatre
 • Barry Manilow album The Greatest Songs of the Sixties/ 2006
 • Brenda Lee album By Request/ 1964  • Jason Donovan album Let It Be Me/ 2008
 • Johnny Tillotson album Talk Back Trembling Lips/ 1963  • Thomas Truax album Songs From The Films Of David Lynch/ 2009

Use in film soundtracks[edit]

Bobby Vinton's "Blue Velvet" is one of the thirteen songs featured in Kenneth Anger's groundbreaking experimental film Scorpio Rising (1963). Tony Bennett's version of the song is featured in The Last Picture Show and Raging Bull.

Bobby Vinton's version is featured several times in David Lynch's 1986 film Blue Velvet. The film drew partial inspiration from the song's lyrics, where Isabella Rossellini, who plays a singer in the film, also sings the song in-character.[61] Lynch selected the song, because it conceptually matched the mood of the film. Specifically, in an interview he gave to the Village Voice, Lynch said of the song: "The mood that came with that song a mood, a time, and things that were of that time."[62] The film itself heavily incorporates portions of the song. During filming, Lynch placed speakers on set and in streets and played Shostakovich to set the correct mood he wanted to convey for the song.[63] The score also makes direct quotations from Dimitri Shostakovich's 15th Symphony, to which Lynch had been listening regularly while writing the screenplay.[64]

Bobby Vinton's version is featured once, in the fourteenth episode of Kamen Rider Kuuga, as the Gurongi Me-Gyarido-Gi backs up a truck.


  1. ^ a b "iTunes - Music - Blue Velvet - The Clovers". iTunes. Apple Inc. Retrieved 9 November 2012. 
  2. ^ Herbert, Paul N (2012). The Jefferson Hotel: the history of a Richmond landmark (1st US ed.). Charleston, South Carolina: The History Press. p. 126. ISBN 978-1-60949-687-6. 
  3. ^ Bennett, Tony (1998). The Good Life: the autobiography of Tony Bennett. New York, New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1-4165-7366-1. 
  4. ^ "Records Most Played by Disc Jockeys," Billboard, November 3, 1951. p. 34. Accessed October 22, 2015.
  5. ^ " Best Selling Pop Singles]," Billboard, November 24, 1951. p. 34. Accessed October 22, 2015.
  6. ^ "Most Played Juke Box Records," Billboard, November 24, 1951. p. 42. Accessed October 22, 2015.
  7. ^ a b c "Record of the Week - "Blue Velvet" by The Clovers". The Vocal Group Harmony. Retrieved 9 November 2012. 
  8. ^ "Best Sellers in Stores," Billboard, April 9, 1955. p. 44. Accessed October 22, 2015.
  9. ^ Billboard Vol 71 #54 (7 December 1959), p. 35.
  10. ^
  11. ^ Billboard Vol 72 #34 (22 August 1960), p. 34.
  12. ^ a b Cason, Buzz (2004). Living the Rock 'n Roll Dream: the adventures of Buzz Cason. Milwaukee WI: Hal Leonard Corp. pp. 38–39. ISBN 978-0634066726. 
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ a b Bobby Vinton - Chart History - The Hot 100, Accessed October 22, 2015
  16. ^ Joel Whitburn, "The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits", Billboard Publications, Inc., 1987. p. 316
  17. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 250. 
  18. ^ Bronson, Fred (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits. Billboard Books. p. 137. 
  19. ^ "Top 100 Chart Hits of 1963," Cash Box, December 28, 1963. p. 18. Retrieved April 18, 2017.
  20. ^ "Top 100 Chart Hits of 1964," Cash Box, December 26, 1964. p. 12. Accessed July 28, 2016.
  21. ^ a b Bobby Vinton - Full Official Chart History, Official Charts Company. Accessed October 22, 2015
  22. ^ "Hits of the World", Billboard, November 16, 1963. p. 36. Accessed October 23, 2015
  23. ^ "CHUM Hit Parade", CHUM, Week of October 07, 1963
  24. ^ "Lever Hit Parade" 17-Oct-1963, Flavour of New Zealand. Accessed October 22, 2015
  25. ^ "Hits of the World", Billboard, December 7, 1963. p. 28. Accessed October 23, 2015
  26. ^ a b "Hits of the World", Billboard, November 30, 1963. p. 30. Accessed October 23, 2015
  27. ^ Bobby Vinton - Chart History - Adult Contemporary, Accessed October 22, 2015
  28. ^ Bobby Vinton - Blue Velvet, Ultratop. Accessed October 23, 2015
  29. ^ Artist Search Results for "Bobby Vinton", The Irish Charts. Accessed October 12, 2016.
  30. ^ Alexander, Ella (July 17, 2012). "H&M Confirms Lana". Vogue UK. Condé Nast Publications. Retrieved September 19, 2012. 
  31. ^ London, Bianca (July 17, 2012). "Lana del Rey for H&M: Singer announced as the new face of the high street brand". Daily Mail. Associated Newspapers. Retrieved September 19, 2012. 
  32. ^ "Lana Del Rey: Blue Velvet". September 2012. Archived from the original on May 9, 2013. Retrieved September 16, 2012. 
  33. ^ Lee, Anne. "Lana Del Rey treats fashion crowd to Blue Velvet at H&M launch party". Metro. Associated Newspapers. Retrieved 5 October 2012. 
  34. ^ Thornhill, Cher (19 September 2012). "Lana Del Rey 'Blue Velvet' cover featured in H&M ad now available online". Daily Mail. London: Associated Newspapers. Retrieved 5 October 2012. 
  35. ^ Nissim, Mayer. "Lana Del Rey unveils full 'Blue Velvet' advert video - watch". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines. Retrieved 5 October 2012. 
  36. ^ "Lana Del Rey - Blue Velvet". H&M. YouTube. September 19, 2012. Retrieved September 20, 2012. 
  37. ^ Hogan, Marc. "Watch Lana Del Rey Sing 'Blue Velvet' in Mohair for H&M". Spin. Buzz Media. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  38. ^ a b c Nika, Colleen (September 17, 2012). "Lana Del Rey Debuts Lynchian H&M Commercial". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media LLC. Retrieved September 20, 2012. 
  39. ^ a b Rubenstein, Jenna Hally. "Watch Lana Del Rey Cover 'Blue Velvet' For H&M (VIDEO)". MTV. Viacom. Retrieved 5 October 2012. 
  40. ^ a b Snead, Elizabeth (September 17, 2012). "Lana Del Rey Stars in David Lynch-Inspired 'Blue Velvet' H&M Commercial (Video)". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved September 20, 2012. 
  41. ^ a b Williot, Carl. "Lana Del Rey's Dreary "Blue Velvet" Cover: Hear It In Full". Idolator. Buzz Media. Retrieved 5 October 2012. 
  42. ^ Cowels, Charlotte. "Lana Del Rey's H&M Commercial Includes a Little Person, Wigs, Telephones". New York. Retrieved 5 October 2012. 
  43. ^ Cress, Jennifer. "Exclusive Video: Behind the Scenes of Lana Del Rey's H&M Campaign". People. Time Inc. Retrieved 5 October 2012. 
  44. ^ a b c Freeman, Nate. "Lana Del Rey to Channel David Lynch's "Blue Velvet" as the Face of H&M's New Global Campaign". Artinfo. Louise Blouin Media. Retrieved 5 October 2012. 
  45. ^ a b "Watch Lana Del Rey cover 'Blue Velvet' for H&M commercial". NME. Time Inc. Retrieved 5 October 2012. 
  46. ^ "iTunes – Music – Blue Velvet – Single by Lana Del Rey". United Kingdom: iTunes Store. Archived from the original on September 23, 2012. 
  47. ^ Paradise (Booklet). Lana Del Rey. Polydor Records. 2012. 
  48. ^ " – Lana Del Rey – Blue Velvet" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved December 16, 2014.
  49. ^ " – Lana Del Rey – Blue Velvet" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved December 16, 2014.
  50. ^ " – Lana Del Rey Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH. Retrieved December 16, 2014.
  51. ^ " – Lana Del Rey – Blue Velvet" Canciones Top 50. Retrieved December 16, 2014.
  52. ^ " – Lana Del Rey – Blue Velvet". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved December 16, 2014.
  53. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved December 16, 2014.
  54. ^ "Blue Velvet: Lana Del Rey:" (in French). Archived from the original on February 15, 2013. 
  55. ^ "Blue Velvet: Lana Del Rey:" (in German). Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. 
  56. ^ "Blue Velvet: Lana Del Rey:". Archived from the original on December 6, 2013. 
  57. ^ "Blue Velvet (2012) | Lana Del Rey". United States: 7digital. Retrieved December 16, 2014. 
  58. ^ "Blue Velvet (2012) | Lana Del Rey". Canada: 7digital. Retrieved December 16, 2014. 
  59. ^ Meunier, Michael. Ray Mason: Baritone From Brockton. 
  60. ^ Bubbling Under the Hot 100", Billboard vol 75 #39 (28 September 1963) p. 22. Accessed 15 October 2016.
  61. ^ Pelly, Jenny. "Watch: Lana Del Rey Covers "Blue Velvet" in New David Lynch-Inspired H&M Commercial". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 5 October 2012. 
  62. ^ Borden, Lizzie (September 23, 1986). "The World According to Lynch". Village Voice. 
  63. ^ Mysteries of Love: The Making of Blue Velvet, Blue Velvet Special Edition DVD documentary, [2002].
  64. ^ Blue Velvet film score at The City of Absurity; Retrieved June 24, 2007

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"My Boyfriend's Back" by The Angels
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
September 21, 1963 (three weeks)
Succeeded by
"Sugar Shack" by Jimmy Gilmer & the Fireballs
Preceded by
"Blowin' in the Wind" by Peter, Paul and Mary
"Billboard" Easy Listening number-one single by
Bobby Vinton

September 7, 1963
(eight weeks)
Succeeded by
"Washington Square" by The Village Stompers