Vocal: Herb Jeffries. Grouya was a Romanian Ellington fan who wrote it exclusively for his idol. He even tried to deliver it personally at the end of a Philadelphia gig. Singer Herb Jeffries was the only one he met. Through him Billy Strayhorn got the tune and while he was noodling along with the melody, the Duke immediately ordered for an arrangement. Recorded while the band was hired for all black Hollywood musical Jump For Joy.
Tony Martin [with the David Rose orchestra; one of the first white rip-offs of a black popular tune]
Patricia Burke [in British revue Big Top]
Herb Jeffries [with his own orchestra and in '58 on lp Senor Flamingo]
Earl Bostic [n°1 R&B]
Blossom Dearie [with Bobby Jaspar]
Caterina Valente [with Sy Oliver]
Herb Alpert [top 30 US]
Cult hit Flamingo generated a series of actions. First it gave its name to a club in Wardour Street in London. Georgie Fame rose to fame there and so did the earliest incarnation of Them. The original Rolling Stones were considered a bit palish there, much to the annoyance of drummer Charlie Watts who owes a lot to this Earl Bostic hit: "The strength I got into listening to jazz at the age of 12 was cause I heard a guy called Earl Bostic who had a n°1 hit with a record called Flamingo. And from that I bought Charlie Parker, which is a bloody big jump for a 12 year old to do but it was quite normal for me at the time." In other words: Earl Bostic's Flamingo was for Charlie what the first Rolling Stones singles were for a whole generation after him, that is to say: they discovered blues by Howlin' Wolf just like Charlie discovered jazz by Charlie Parker. With all due respect for Charlie Watts and his musical example, but Flamingo is ten years older than Bostic.