|Composed for orchestra, Blue Tango was completed for
recording by the
composer on June 28, 1951, in analog mono sound, where it was first
performed. It is 2 minutes and 50 seconds long. It was released on both of
the competing record formats of the day, a 10 inch Long Playing record and a 45 rpm two song record. On the 45 it was paired with "Belle of the Ball" which the composer thought that the public might like the best. The public decided differently and Blue Tango, became a top song of the juke boxes and radios of the day. Anderson received a gold record in 1952 for "Blue Tango," the first instrumental recording to sell over one million copies. Leroy Anderson's original mono recording of Blue Tango was re-released in 1998.
Lyrics were added by Mitchell Parish in 1952. It was re-recorded by the
composer in analog stereo sound on May 26, 1959. There are numerous
recordings available including those by Arthur Fiedler, Leonard Slatkin and
Composer Quote: "It's very interesting that it (Blue Tango) was released in
the fall (of 1951) and then the Christmas season came along and it dropped down, because of all the Christmas material. Then is started up in January, and by February - I was stationed (in the Army) at the time at Fort Bragg and I got a telegram from Decca Records saying that by the signs, from what they knew, it was now headed up and would probably soon reach the top. It then kept going up and up and finally got up to number 2, where it held and of course the whole thing was completely unbelievable to me because the kind of music I write was not popular music, it was concert music, rather than a pop song, and week after week went and I just kept waiting to see if it would hit number one. It not only did but it held it, then it held number one and for 15 weeks it was on The Hit Parade."