Perdido (song)

"Perdido" is a jazz standard composed by Juan Tizol that was recorded on December 3, 1941 by Duke Ellington. However, it is the January 21, 1942, recording of the song on the Victor label by the Ellington orchestra, of which Tizol was a member, that is regarded as the original recording.[1] In 1944, Ervin Drake and Hans Lengsfelder were hired to write lyrics for the song.

Juan Tizol in 1943
Written1941 (music), 1944 (lyrics)
Composer(s)Juan Tizol
Lyricist(s)Ervin Drake, Hans Lengsfelder

"Perdido" was not usually sung with the Ellington band, the exception being Ella Fitzgerald on her 1957 album Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Duke Ellington Songbook. Many others recorded the song, including Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington, Art Tatum, Quincy Jones, the Charlie Parker Quintet, Dave Brubeck, Charles Mingus, Randy Weston, Erroll Garner, Bill Doggett, and Harry James.

"Perdido" is Spanish and means lost, but also sloppy or indecent.[2] The song refers to Perdido Street in New Orleans.[3]


  1. "Perdido" at
  2. H. J. Schaal Jazz-Standards. p. 395.
  3. Basilio Serrano, "Juan Tizol: His talents, his collaborators, his legacy", Centro Journal 18(2): 83–99 (2006).

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