Something to Live For (song)

"Something to Live For" is a 1939 jazz composition by Billy Strayhorn. It was the first collaboration between Strayhorn and Duke Ellington and became the first of many Strayhorn compositions to be recorded by Ellington's orchestra.[1] The song was based on a poem Strayhorn had written as a teenager.[2] According to an all-day tribute to Strayhorn on KCSM radio on 29 November 2008—Strayhorn's birthday—Strayhorn began working on this tune in 1933 when he was 18.

The song has been recorded many times, by Ellington, Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Carmen McRae, Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis, Mel Torme and many others. Fitzgerald has called it her favorite song.[3]


  1. Bradbury, David (2005). Duke Ellington. Haus Publishing. p. 49. ISBN 978-1-904341-66-6.
  2. Van de Leur, Walter (2002). Something to Live For: The Music of Billy Strayhorn. Oxford University Press US. pp. 177–178. ISBN 978-0-19-512448-4.
  3. Giddins, Gary (2000). Visions of Jazz: The First Century. Oxford University Press US. p. 257. ISBN 978-0-19-513241-0.

See also

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