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stardust.jpg"Stardust" is an American popular song composed in 1927 by Hoagy Carmichael with the lyrics added four years later by Mitchell Parish.
"Stardust" (the song's original title was "Star Dust", which has long since been compounded into "Stardust") was composed and first recorded in Richmond, Indiana for Gennett Records by Carmichael's band in 1927 as a peppy jazz number. Carmichael said he was inspired by the types of improvisations made by Bix Beiderbecke. The tune at first only attracted moderate attention, mostly from fellow musicians, a few of whom (including Don Redman) recorded their own versions of Carmichael's tune.

Carmichael reworked the piece as a slow ballad in 1929, and the same year Mitchell Parish added lyrics. Carmichael wanted to make a new recording for Gennett, but company executives vetoed the idea since they already had his earlier version in their catalogue. Bandleader Isham Jones, however, recorded Carmichael's new arrangement of "Stardust" which became the first of many hit records of the tune. By 1932 over two dozen other bands had recorded "Stardust".

"Stardust" became a standard of the big band era, covered by almost every prominent band and singer of the generation. An arrangement by Glenn Miller was very popular. Versions have been recorded by Louis Armstrong, Artie Shaw, Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie, Nat King Cole, Mel Torme, Connie Francis, Harry Connick Jr, Ella Fitzgerald, The Peanuts, Django Reinhardt, Barry Manilow, John Coltrane, Rod Stewart, Willie Nelson, Billy Ward and the Dominoes, and an instrumental by the Jack Jenney Orchestra featuring Jack's long trombone solo cut one year before he repeated it with a shorter solo on Artie Shaw's recording.

Some critics have called "Stardust" the finest love ballad ever written, Parish's evocative lyrics, redolent of loss and nostalgia, perfectly integrated with the phrasing of Carmichael's melody. Unusually for a popular song, the verse is both highly melodic and musically sophisticated. Frank Sinatra famously recorded just the verse in a 1961 Reprise recording, much to Carmichael's chagrin (although Carmichael is said to have changed his mind on hearing the recording.