Written by Irving Berlin in 1926 as a last-minute addition to the Rodgers and Hart musical Betsy, “Blue Skies” became an instant success despite running it for 39 performances only. Audiences on the opening night demanded 24 encores of the piece from star Belle Baker. Berlin was prompted though to sing during the final repetition from his seat in the front row when Ms. Baker suddenly forgot her lyrics.
The music was published in 1927 and the recorded version by Ben Selvin became a hit. The song had given the opportunity to be one of the first songs featured in a talkie with Jolson’s performance in The Jazz Singer in that same year. Another song was recorded in 1935 by Goodman and his Orchestra. The composition of Berlin was famous as well among the beboppers and jazz players. The most historic year for the song was on 1946 when Bing Crosby/Fred Astaire film took its title. In addition, there are two recorded versions of the song performed by Count Basie which reached 8th on the pop charts and Benny Goodman which reached 9th. Both singers performed the song during White Christmas in 1978. The song was also adapted in other genres. The most notable adaptation was Willie Nelson’s recording in 1978 which became the number one country music of the year. Moon Mullican released early country version of the song in 1939 and Jim Reeves in 1962. On a different note, Thelonius Monk, a pianist, based his “In Walked Bud” on the song’s chord progressions.
You can find “bluebird of happiness” which symbolizes of the cheer: “Bluebirds singing a song—Nothing but bluebirds all day long” on many popular songs such as “Blue Skies.” What makes the vibe of the song ironic is that the positivity and sunny meaning of the lyrics were accompanied by minor key.