I Couldn’t Sleep a Wink Last Night was part of the soundtrack of the 1943 film Higher and Higher. It was recorded in Calcutta two years later by Chic Chocolate and his Music Makers and featured the band’s regular vocalist, Charles Sheppard.
Darktown Strutter’s Ball is a tune with a long history: it was composed in 1917 by a Canadian named Shelton Brooks and the same year was recorded by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band – the outfit that, in February 1917, had become the first jazz band ever to cut a record. (Emile Christian, the bass player who joined the ODJB after its initial flush of success, would find himself performing in Bombay in 1935.)
This version of the tune, recorded in Calcutta in 1942, features Teddy Weatherford on piano and vocals, with Tony Gonsalves on bass and Trevor McCabe on drums.
The previous year, the saxophonist Hal Green and his band played an event in Bombay Central named after the song. It would perhaps shock some contemporary employees of the Bombay police force to realise that ladies have been getting into parties free for six decades now without aspersions being cast on their characters, as the second-last line of the handbill demonstrates.
Cuban songwriter Osvaldo Farres composed Quizas, Quizas, Quizas in 1947 and it took only a few years to become a hit all around the world, inspiring local versions in several countries. Nat King Cole recorded an English version called Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps in 1958 – four years after the melody had already found its way into a Hindi film.
Ibrahim Ferrer and Omara Portuondo sing Quizas, Quizas, Quizas.
Geeta Dutt sings Babuji Dheere Chalna from Aar Paar. Music by OP Nayar, 1954.
The Lebanese diva Fairouz sings Torah, Torah, Torah.