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Blue Velvet (song)

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Title: Blue Velvet (song)  
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Subject: Bobby Vinton, There! I've Said It Again, The Clovers, Lana Del Rey videography, The Greatest Songs of the Sixties
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Blue Velvet (song)

"Blue Velvet"
Single by The Clovers
from the album Blue Velvet
Released 1954
Format 12" vinyl record
Genre Rhythm & Blues
Length 2:33[1]
Label Atlantic

"Blue Velvet" is a popular song written in 1950 by Bernie Wayne and Lee Morris. The song was originally recorded and performed by Tony Bennett, who charted with it in 1951. It was remade four years later by the traditional R&B group the Clovers. Many other artists have recorded the song, most notably Bobby Vinton. The original recording by Bennett was a top twenty hit, while Vinton's version soared to the number one position on the Billboard Hot 100.


  • Background 1
  • Tony Bennett version 2
  • The Clovers version 3
  • Bobby Vinton version 4
    • Chart performance 4.1
  • Lana Del Rey version 5
    • Background 5.1
    • Music video 5.2
    • Critical reception 5.3
    • Track listing 5.4
    • Personnel 5.5
    • Chart performance 5.6
    • Release history 5.7
  • Other recordings 6
  • Use in film soundtracks 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


While visiting friends in Richmond VA songwriter Bernie Wayne stayed at the Jefferson Hotel, and it was the sight of a woman at a party held at the Jefferson which inspired Wayne to write the lyric for "Blue Velvet".[2] When Wayne pitched "Blue Velvet" to Columbia Records head a&r man Mitch Miller he'd only played the opening line: "She wore blue velvet...", when Miller interrupted saying: "How about [my giving the song to] Tony Bennett?" Wayne's response: "Don't you want to hear the rest of the song", drew this advice from Miller: "Quit while you're ahead!"[3]

Tony Bennett version

The first artist for whom "Blue Velvet" was a hit was Tony Bennett. Bennett's 1951 recording peaked at No. 16 on the Billboard chart of "Records Most Played by Disc Jockeys",[4] while reaching No. 18 on Billboard's chart of "Best Selling Pop Singles",[5] and No. 18 on Billboard's chart of "Most Played Juke Box Records".[6]

The Clovers version

The song was recorded by the Clovers for their album of the same name.[1][7] Released in 1954 through Atlantic Records, the song was released as a single on 10" shellac.[7] The song was initially recorded, produced, and released when the R&B group was still composed of John "Buddy" Bailey (lead singer), Billy Mitchell, Matthew McQuater, Harold Lucas, Harold Winley, Bill Harris.[7] Various members of the group left, died, or were replaced, although the group as a whole still performed the song regardless of whom its members were. The song reached No. 14 on Billboard's Rhythm & Blues Records chart of "Best Sellers in Stores".[8]

Bobby Vinton version

"Blue Velvet"
Single by Bobby Vinton
from the album Blue on Blue
B-side "Is There a Place (Where I Can Go)"
Released 1963
Format Vinyl, 7", 45 RPM
Genre Traditional pop
Length 2:47
Label Epic
Producer(s) Bob Morgan
Bobby Vinton singles chronology
"Blue on Blue"
"Blue Velvet"
"There! I've Said It Again"

The most successful recording of "Blue Velvet" was released by Bobby Vinton in 1963. Vinton's version reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on September 21, 1963, and held the top spot for three weeks.[9][10] It also spent eight weeks at No. 1 on the U.S. Middle-Road Singles chart.[11]

Vinton's No. 3 hit in the summer of 1963 "Blue on Blue" prompted him to record a Blue on Blue album comprising songs featuring the word "blue" in the title. Vinton's friend music publisher Al Gallico suggested "Blue Velvet" as a Blue on Blue album track. Gallico sent his secretary with a dollar to a music store to purchase the song's sheet music, and an hour later Vinton recorded "Blue Velvet" in two takes. Vinton did not expect the song to be a hit, and believed his remake of "Am I Blue?" had more sales potential.[12]

In August 1963 Bobby Vinton released the song for his sixth studio album, Blue on Blue, which was alternately titled Blue Velvet. The song served as the album's lead single and is, arguably, the most popular recording of the song to exist.

Vinton's recording failed to make the British charts when originally released, but a re-release in 1990 reached No. 2 on the UK Singles Chart.[13]

Chart performance

Chart (1963) Peak
US Billboard Hot 100[9] 1
US Billboard Middle-Road Singles[14] 1
Canada - CHUM Hit Parade[15] 1
New Zealand - "Lever Hit Parade"[16] 1
Philippines[17] 5
South Africa[17] 6
Peru - La Prensa[18] 8
Australia - Music Maker[19] 9
Chart (1990) Peak
UK Singles Chart[13] 2
Flemish Belgium[20] 38

Lana Del Rey version

"Blue Velvet"
Single by Lana Del Rey
from the album Paradise
Released September 20, 2012 (2012-09-20)
Format Digital download
Length 2:36
Label Interscope
  • Bernie Wayne
  • Lee Morris
Producer(s) Emile Haynie
Lana Del Rey singles chronology
"National Anthem"
"Blue Velvet"
Audio sample

American recording artist Lana Del Rey released a cover of the song "Blue Velvet" in 2012. It was taken from reissue of her second studio album Born to Die - The Paradise Edition and her third EP, Paradise. It was released as a single on September 20, 2012, through Interscope Records, and used in an advertising campaign for the clothing retailer H&M.


Del Rey had recorded a cover of "Blue Velvet" for her 2012 H&M Autumn campaign.[21][22] On September 20, the song was released as a single.[23] Del Rey was selected for the H&M ad campaign after an impressionable performance at a Mulberry dinner party. Industry moguls Michelle Williams, Alexa Chung, Elizabeth Olsen, and Anna Wintour attended the party and were impressed by the performance. A public relations manager for H&M said Del Rey was chosen because they "were looking for a style icon and singer to model our fall collection and so Lana Del Rey was the perfect choice".[24][25][26]

Music video

On September 19, the music video, which serves as a commercial for the H&M 2012 Autumn Collection as well, for "Blue Velvet" was released through H&M.[27] In the video, Del Rey is singing the song in a low-lit room before an audience of pallid people, playing an Americana lounge singer dressed in a pink mohair sweater,[28] She is then hypnotized.[29] Three women dressed identically to Del Rey sit on a couch and watch her coldly.[30] At the end, a little man walks into the room, pulls out the plug for Del Rey's microphone, silencing her.[29] Compared to the David Lynch film of the same name,[31] it was directed by Johan Renck.[31] and composed in post-World War II Americana fashion and the notion of external beauty cloaking inner vulnerability.[32] A behind the scenes video was filmed and posted to H&M's official YouTube station.[33]

Critical reception

Rolling Stone

called Del Rey's cover "doleful".[29] Carl Williot of Idolator dubbed Del Rey's cover, "beautifully languorous and dreary (though [it] is replete with her go-to swell of strings and grainy programmed beats).[32] Jenna Hally Rubenstein, writing for MTV, called the commercial and vocals, "moody, totally broody", playfully adding, "what would a Lana Del Rey campaign be if it didn't make you feel a tad depressed?" In the video, Rubenstein said Del Rey was a "ridiculous beauty" sporting a Brigitte Bardot–inspired look, which she added, not every singer can pull off.[30] People said the video was dramatic, intriguing, unique, and played off the moody, vintage Hollywood image of the retro-inspired starlet. Appropriately, they wrote, the video had film noir elements.[34] Specifically, it was compared to the neo-noir film, Mulholland Drive as well as the film Blue Velvet itself.[35] In an interview with Artinfo, David Lynch spoke out about Del Rey's cover:[35][36]

Track listing

"Digital download"[37]
  1. "Blue Velvet" – 2:36


Credits adapted from the liner notes of Paradise.[38]

  • The Larry Gold Orchestra – strings
Technical and production
  • Ben Baptie – mixing assistant
  • Spencer Burgess Jr. – assistant recording engineer
  • John Davis – mastering
  • Tom Elmhirst – mixing
  • Larry Gold – string arrangements
  • Emile Haynie – production

Chart performance

Chart (2012) Peak
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[39] 40
France (SNEP)[40] 40
Germany (Official German Charts)[41] 49
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[42] 44
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[43] 42
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[44] 60

Release history

Country Date Format Label
France[45] September 20, 2012 Digital download Universal Music Group
United Kingdom[47] Polydor Records
United States[48] September 25, 2012 Interscope Records

Other recordings

Use in film soundtracks

"Blue Velvet" is one of thirteen songs featured in Kenneth Anger's groundbreaking experimental film Scorpio Rising (1964). Tony Bennett's version of the song is featured in The Last Picture Show and Raging Bull.

Bobby Vinton's version is featured several times in David Lynch's film, Blue Velvet (1986). The film is partly inspired by the song's lyrics, where Isabella Rossellini, who plays a singer in the film, also sings the song in-character.[51] Lynch selected the song because it conceptually matched the mood of the film. Specifically, Lynch said of the song: "the mood that came with that song a mood, a time, and things that were of that time".[52] The film itself heavily incorporates portions of the song. During filming, Lynch placed speakers on set and in streets and played Shostakovich to set the correct mood he wanted to convey for the song.[53] The score makes direct quotations from Shostakovich's 15th Symphony, which Lynch had been listening to regularly while writing the screenplay.[54]


  1. ^ a b "iTunes - Music - Blue Velvet - The Clovers".  
  2. ^ Herbert, Paul N (2012). The Jefferson Hotel: the history of a Richmond landmark (1st US ed.). Charleston SC: The History Press. p. 126.  
  3. ^ Bennett, Tony (1998). The Good Life: the autobiography of Tony Bennett. New York: Simon & Shuster.  
  4. ^ "Records Most Played by Disc Jockeys", Billboard, November 3, 1951. p. 34. Accessed October 22, 2015
  5. ^ "Best Selling Pop Singles", Billboard, November 24, 1951. p. 34. Accessed October 22, 2015
  6. ^ "Most Played Juke Box Records", Billboard, November 24, 1951. p. 42. Accessed October 22, 2015
  7. ^ a b c "Record of the Week - "Blue Velvet" by The Clovers". The Vocal Group Harmony. Retrieved 9 November 2012. 
  8. ^ "Best Sellers in Stores", Billboard, April 9, 1955. p. 44. Accessed October 22, 2015
  9. ^ a b Bobby Vinton - Chart History - The Hot 100, Accessed October 22, 2015
  10. ^ Joel Whitburn, "The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits", Billboard Publications, Inc., 1987. p. 316
  11. ^  
  12. ^ Bronson, Fred (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits. Billboard Books. p. 137. 
  13. ^ a b Bobby Vinton - Full Official Chart History, Official Charts Company. Accessed October 22, 2015
  14. ^ Bobby Vinton - Chart History - Adult Contemporary, Accessed October 22, 2015
  15. ^ "CHUM Hit Parade", CHUM, Week of October 07, 1963
  16. ^ "Lever Hit Parade" 17-Oct-1963, Flavour of New Zealand. Accessed October 22, 2015
  17. ^ a b "Hits of the World", Billboard, November 30, 1963. p. 30. Accessed October 23, 2015
  18. ^ "Hits of the World", Billboard, December 7, 1963. p. 28. Accessed October 23, 2015
  19. ^ "Hits of the World", Billboard, November 16, 1963. p. 36. Accessed October 23, 2015
  20. ^ Bobby Vinton - Blue Velvet, Ultratop. Accessed October 23, 2015
  21. ^ Alexander, Ella (July 17, 2012). "H&M Confirms Lana".  
  22. ^ London, Bianca (July 17, 2012). "Lana del Rey for H&M: Singer announced as the new face of the high street brand".  
  23. ^ "Lana Del Rey: Blue Velvet".  
  24. ^ Lee, Anne. "Lana Del Rey treats fashion crowd to Blue Velvet at H&M launch party".  
  25. ^ Thornhill, Cher (19 September 2012). "Lana Del Rey 'Blue Velvet' cover featured in H&M ad now available online". Daily Mail (London: Associated Newspapers). Retrieved 5 October 2012. 
  26. ^ Nissim, Mayer. "Lana Del Rey unveils full 'Blue Velvet' advert video - watch".  
  27. ^ "Lana Del Rey - Blue Velvet".  
  28. ^ Hogan, Marc. "Watch Lana Del Rey Sing 'Blue Velvet' in Mohair for H&M".  
  29. ^ a b c Nika, Colleen (September 17, 2012). "Lana Del Rey Debuts Lynchian H&M Commercial".  
  30. ^ a b Rubenstein, Jenna Hally. "Watch Lana Del Rey Cover 'Blue Velvet' For H&M (VIDEO)".  
  31. ^ a b Snead, Elizabeth (September 17, 2012). "Lana Del Rey Stars in David Lynch-Inspired 'Blue Velvet' H&M Commercial (Video)".  
  32. ^ a b Williot, Carl. "Lana Del Rey’s Dreary "Blue Velvet" Cover: Hear It In Full".  
  33. ^ Cowels, Charlotte. "Lana Del Rey’s H&M Commercial Includes a Little Person, Wigs, Telephones".  
  34. ^ Cress, Jennifer. "Exclusive Video: Behind the Scenes of Lana Del Rey’s H&M Campaign".  
  35. ^ a b c Freeman, Nate. "Lana Del Rey to Channel David Lynch’s "Blue Velvet" as the Face of H&M's New Global Campaign".  
  36. ^ a b "Watch Lana Del Rey cover 'Blue Velvet' for H&M commercial".  
  37. ^ "iTunes – Music – Blue Velvet – Single by Lana Del Rey". United Kingdom:  
  38. ^ Paradise (Booklet). Lana Del Rey. Polydor Records. 2012. 
  39. ^ " – Lana Del Rey – Blue Velvet" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved December 16, 2014.
  40. ^ " – Lana Del Rey – Blue Velvet" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved December 16, 2014.
  41. ^ " – Lana Del Rey Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH. Retrieved December 16, 2014.
  42. ^ " – Lana Del Rey – Blue Velvet" Canciones Top 50. Retrieved December 16, 2014.
  43. ^ " – Lana Del Rey – Blue Velvet". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved December 16, 2014.
  44. ^ "Archive Chart: 2012-09-09" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved December 16, 2014.
  45. ^ "Blue Velvet: Lana Del Rey:" (in French).  
  46. ^ "Blue Velvet: Lana Del Rey:" (in German). Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. 
  47. ^ "Blue Velvet: Lana Del Rey:". Archived from the original on December 6, 2013. 
  48. ^ "Blue Velvet (2012) | Lana Del Rey". United States:  
  49. ^ "Blue Velvet (2012) | Lana Del Rey". Canada: 7digital. Retrieved December 16, 2014. 
  50. ^ Meunier, Michael. Ray Mason: Baritone From Brockton. 
  51. ^ Pelly, Jenny. "Watch: Lana Del Rey Covers "Blue Velvet" in New David Lynch-Inspired H&M Commercial".  
  52. ^ Borden, Lizzie (September 23, 1986). "The World According to Lynch".  
  53. ^ Mysteries of Love: The Making of Blue Velvet, Blue Velvet Special Edition DVD documentary, [2002]
  54. ^ Blue Velvet film score at The City of Absurity; Retrieved June 24, 2007

External links

Preceded by
"My Boyfriend's Back" by The Angels
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
September 21, 1963 (three weeks)
Succeeded by
"Sugar Shack" by Jimmy Gilmer & the Fireballs
Preceded by
"Blowin' in the Wind" by Peter, Paul and Mary
"Billboard" Easy Listening number-one single by
Bobby Vinton

September 7, 1963
(eight weeks)
Succeeded by
"Washington Square" by The Village Stompers
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