Straighten Up and Fly Right



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Straighten Up and Fly Right on Wikipedia

"Straighten Up and Fly Right" is a 1943 song written by Nat King Cole and Irving Mills and performed by The King Cole Trio. The single was the trio's most popular single reaching number one on the Harlem Hit Parade for ten nonconsecutive weeks. The single also peaked at number nine on the pop charts.[1] "Straighten Up and Fly Right" also reached number one for six nonconsecutive weeks on the Most Played Jukebox Hillbilly Records.[2]

The song was based on a black folk tale that Cole's father had used as a theme for one of his sermons. In the tale, a buzzard takes different animals for a joy ride. When he gets hungry, he throws them off on a dive and eats them for dinner. A monkey who had observed this trick goes for a ride; he wraps his tail around the buzzard's neck and gives the buzzard a big surprise by nearly choking him to death.

The song was a part of the score of the 1943 film Here Comes Elmer.[3]

The song was used in the 1995 HBO historical war drama The Tuskegee Airmen and the title was quoted by the pilots when going into battle.

The song was used in the season 4 episode of Tales from the Crypt, "Split Personality".

The song was used in NBC's drama series This Is Us, "The best washing machine in the whole world". Rebecca Pearson (played by Mandy Moore) sang the song during rehearsal.

Cover versions

  • The Andrews Sisters' version of the song reached number 8 on the charts in 1944. In 1958, The DeJohn Sisters recorded the song, which peaked at number 73 on the pop chart.[4] The Andrews Sisters' version is featured in the 2010 video game Mafia II as one of the in-game radio songs.
  • Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys, KGO radio in San Francisco recorded at the Fairmont Hotel. Tiffany Transcriptions 01 (late '40s)
  • Linda Ronstadt, For Sentimental Reasons (1986)
  • Natalie Cole, Unforgettable... with Love (1991)
  • Norman Foote recorded a jazz version on his album If the Shoe Fits in 1992.
  • Diana Krall, Stepping Out (1993)
  • Sharon, Lois & Bram's version of the song was featured on their 1995 album Let's Dance. The trio also performed the song numerous times on tour.
  • Oscar Brown Jr., Sin & Soul ...and then some (track recorded 1960, album released 1996)
  • Neal McCoy, The Life of the Party (1999)
  • Nnenna Freelon (with Take 6), Soulcall (2000)
  • Robbie Williams, Swing When You're Winning (2001)
  • Lyle Lovett, Smile (2003)
  • Dianne Reeves, Good Night, and Good Luck (2005)
  • Med Flory, The Best Of Supersax And The LA Voices (2006)
  • Imre Saarna "Estonian Idol - Eesti Otsib Superstaar Lilleball concerti" (2010)
  • King's Singers, Swimming Over London (2010)
  • Caravan Palace, Human Leather Shoes for Crocodile Dandies on the album <I°_°I> (2015) quotes four lines of the lyrics


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 126. 
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944-2006, Second edition. Record Research. p. 85. 
  3. ^ The New York Times
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 126. 

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