The Best of All Worlds  - official EARLE HAGEN website
Composer of "Harlem Nocturne"

While an arranger with the Ray Noble Orchestra in 1939, Earle Hagen composed the unforgettably sultry “Harlem Nocturne” which has lived on and on through various guises and performers.

It was first taken up as the theme tune for the Randy Brooks Orchestra in 1941.  Originally written as a tribute to saxophonist Johnny Earle Hodges, Hagen confirms that he was inspired by Duke Ellington's band, and he wrote the piece for Ray Noble Orchestra member Jack Dumont.

Stacy Keach as Mike Hammer

While it became a  staple of the rhythm and blues repertoire, the song has been recorded by a whole roster of artists, ranging from Herbie Fields and Johnny Otis to the strings of Mantovani and Latin sound of Tito Puente.  It hit the charts again in 1959 with a memorable rendition by the Viscounts.  And appropriately enough, returned full circle when Earle Hagen used it as the signature theme for the television series “Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer” in 1984, and the 1986 film “The Return of Mike Hammer.”

And the LATEST NEWS about the song is that in the fall of 2004 there will be a new website devoted entirely to some 500 renditions on record.  Details to be found in the NEWS SECTION as soon as they are known.

Go to  for more info about "Harlem Nocturne"

Here's a list of some of the 500 artists and groups who've recorded the piece:

Ray Anthony
Charlie Barnet
Les Brown
Larry Elgart
Ted Heath
Woody Herman
Stan Kenton
Ray McKinley
Tiptoe Puente
Peter Appleyard,
  Per-cus-sive Jazz Doctored for Super Stereo, Audio Fidelity DFS 7002
Ernestine Anderson, Fascinating Ernestine, Mercury MG 20492/SR 60171
Georgie Auld, Manhattan with Strings, United Artists UAS 6068
Sil Austin, Great Sax, Sun CD
Sid Bass, Big Piano, Big Band, Big Sound, Capitol ST-1625
Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers, Any Way You Want to Go
Clebanoff Strings, Strings Afire, Mercury PPS 6019
Spencer Collingswood, Cool Sounds!, Hollywood Records LPH-16
King Curtis, Night Train, Prestige 24153
Martin Denny, Another Taste of Honey, Liberty LST-7277
Lou Donaldson, Play the Right Thing, Milestone 9190
Les Elgart, For Dancers Only, Columbia CL 753
Les and Larry Elgart, The New Elgart Touch, Columbia CL 2301
Juan Garcia Esquivel, Infinity in Sound, RCA Victor LSP-2225
Bob Freedman and Orch., Music To Strip By, Surprise Records # SUR 100
Danny Gatton, Cruising Deuces
Marty Gold and his Orchestra, Soundpower!, RCA Victor LSP-2620
Joe Harnell, Hud, Kapp KL-1339
Joe Harnell, Naked City: the Sound of Midnight, Medallion ML-7517
Illinois Jacquet, Swing's the Thing, Verve MG V-8023
Quincy Jones, Got a Brand New Bag, Mercury MG21063
Wayne King, Dream a Little Dream of Me, Decca DL 75070
Herbie Mann, Latin Fever, Atlantic 1422
Mantovani, Manhattan, London PS.328
Art Martin Quartet, Harlem Nocturne, AMR Records AMR 100
Robert Maxwell, A Crowning Performance, Command RSSD 972-2
Robert Maxwell, Harpistry in Motion, Command RS 932 S
Leon Merian, The Magic Horn, Decca DL 8678
Jerry Murad's Harmonicats, The Cat's Meow, Mercury MG 21036
The Naughty Ones, I Dig Your Voodoo, Continental CD
101 Strings, Strings After Dark, Somerset SF-21900
101 Strings, Swingin' Things, Alshire S-5055
Paul Phillips & his Orchestra, Naked City: The Sound of Midnight,
  Kapp/Medallion LP
Tito Puente, Tito Puente & Buddy Morrow: Revolving Bandstand,
  BMG/Tropical 17448
Boots Randolph, Hip Boots, Monument MLP-8015
Willie Restum, At the Dream Lounge, Gone LP 5011
The Rumblers, Boss, Dot DLP-3509/25509
The Rumblers, Boss, DCC Compact Classics DZS-044
Spies Who Surf, Calling All Martians
Sam "The Man" Taylor, Blue Mist, MGM E3292
Jim Tyler and Orchestra, Impact! Brass, Time S/2028
Various Artists, Stereo & All That Jazz, Audio Fidelity AFSD 6196
The Ventures, The Ventures, Dolton BST-8004
The Viscounts, Bell 45
Marty Wilson, Jun'gala, Warner Brothers WB-1326

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1946 edition