Satin Doll Lyrics

Satin Doll is one of the most iconic jazz standards of all time. Written by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, it has become one of the most beloved jazz compositions of the 20th century. The lyrics to Satin Doll are clever and captivating, and the song has been covered by countless artists throughout the years. While the lyrics may seem simple at first, the words have a deeper meaning that is open to interpretation. In this article, we will take a closer look at the lyrics of Satin Doll, exploring their deeper meanings and the reasons why the song has become so popular.

Exploring Satin Doll

Satin Doll is a jazz standard composed by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn with lyrics by Johnny Mercer. It was first recorded in 1953 and has since become a classic, recorded by many different artists including Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, and Oscar Peterson. This classic tune has become an iconic jazz staple and is widely considered one of the greatest jazz compositions ever written.

The song has become a symbol of the cool jazz era, with its classic melody and its timeless lyrics. The opening lyrics “Satin doll, a rare and gentle sight/To see your brown eyes, so tender and bright” perfectly capture the sentiment of the time. It has since become a go-to choice for jazz musicians to improvise on and to use as a tool for teaching the genre.

The song has contributed to the jazz genre in many ways. Not only does the song serve as a perfect vehicle for improvisation, but it has also become a way to reflect on the glory days of the jazz musicians of the past. The lyrics of the song have become part of the jazz culture and are often quoted in many interviews and discussions about the music.

The song has been covered by many other renowned artists including Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Thelonious Monk. It has also been featured in a variety of films including The Talented Mr. Ripley, The Great Gatsby, and Notting Hill. The song has become synonymous with the jazz genre, and has been a source of inspiration to many jazz musicians over the years.

Background: Duke Ellington Composer

Satin Doll is a classic jazz standard composed in 1953 by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. The lyrics were written by Johnny Mercer, who was inspired by Ellington’s sound. The song has become one of the most famous jazz standards in the world, and has been performed by many jazz greats such as Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, and Dizzy Gillespie. In addition, Satin Doll has been featured in many films such as The Thomas Crown Affair and The Hangover Part II.

The composition of Satin Doll is a combination of jazz, blues, and ballad elements, and is considered one of Ellington’s masterpieces. According to musicologist Gunther Schuller, Ellington’s arrangement heavily influences the harmonic structure of the song. In particular, Schuller notes that Ellington’s use of brassy and bluesy harmonies gives Satin Doll a unique sound.

Notably, Satin Doll has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, which is a special award given to recordings that are “culturally significant”. In addition, the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) has recognized Satin Doll as one of the most performed songs of the 20th century.

The song has also become a staple of the jazz repertoire. Many jazz bands, particularly in the big band style, include Satin Doll in their repertoire. In fact, many jazz festivals and competitions require the performance of the song for all participating jazz bands.

Analysis: Satin Doll’s Lyrics

Satin Doll, composed by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn and originally recorded in 1953, is a jazz standard that has captivated audiences for decades. According to, the tune has been recorded over 900 times. The lyrics to Satin Doll were originally written by Johnny Mercer, and provide a lyrical and interesting narrative that reflects the complexity of the musical composition.

The song paints the tale of a woman whose beauty and elegance is unparalleled. The lyrics imply that the woman is so captivating that she could even make a “satin doll out of a rag doll”. This imagery conveys the idea that the woman is more beautiful than any material item, no matter how luxurious.

The song also alludes to a feeling of longing, that the speaker would do anything to be with the woman. In the bridge, Mercer writes that the speaker will “go to the ends of the earth” to be with the woman. This imagery reflects the intensity of the speaker’s feelings, providing a vivid and almost desperate description of the speaker’s desire.

The lyrics of Satin Doll have an almost timeless quality. The song’s themes of beauty, longing, and unrivaled elegance speak to generations of listeners. The lyrics, combined with Ellington’s iconic composition, make Satin Doll one of the most beloved and memorable jazz standards of all time.

Musical Elements: Jazz Harmony

The classic jazz standard “Satin Doll”, composed by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, is a beloved classic for jazz musicians and listeners alike. With its infectious melody, swinging rhythm, and intricate harmonic structure, “Satin Doll” is a true jazz classic. Harmonically speaking, the song is based on a 32-bar, AABA form. The A section consists of four 8-bar phrases in the key of G, each of which contains a unique harmonic progression. The B section, however, is harmonically much more interesting. It is in the key of C, and consists of chords that move in a chromatic pattern from D-flat9 to B-flat9, to E-flat13, to F7, an example of what is known as “diatonic substitution.” It’s this substitution that gives the song its unique flavor, and sets it apart from other jazz standards of the time. The harmonic structure of “Satin Doll” is a perfect example of the level of sophistication that jazz musicians of the era achieved in their craft. It’s no surprise that it continues to be an important part of the jazz canon today.

Legacy: Popular Recording Artists

The Satin Doll standard, composed by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, has been a popular recording artist for over 60 years. It has been covered by jazz songsters Ella Fitzgerald, Stan Getz, and Nina Simone, among many others. The song is instantly recognizable for its tight melodies, lush chords, and memorable lyrics. As a testament to its legacy, the Satin Doll has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and was featured in the movie “Goodfellas”.

The lyrics to Satin Doll were written by Ellington and Strayhorn and tell the story of a lovesick man’s longing for the woman he loves. The lyrics express a deep sense of longing for a lost love, despite all the “shiny things a fool could own”. The lyrics have been covered by legendary singers such as Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone, both of whom have earned Grammy Awards for their covers.

The Satin Doll standard has been covered by many recording artists over the years, each with their own unique rendition. The song has also been featured in films such as “Goodfellas” and “The Fabulous Baker Boys”. It has been sampled by contemporary hip-hop artists, such as Nas and Jay-Z, and been featured in video games, television shows, and commercials.

The Satin Doll standard is a timeless classic with a long and storied legacy. Its simple yet meaningful lyrics and timeless melodies have connected with listeners and touched generations of jazz fans. Its influence continues to be felt in the contemporary music

Interpretation: Meaning Behind Lyrics

The classic jazz standard “Satin Doll” has been covered by countless artists and is one of the most recognizable jazz songs of all time. Composed by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn in 1953, the song has captivated audiences for generations. The lyrics of the song convey a strong message of love and longing for a partner. The song tells the story of a man who is in love with a woman dressed in satin, but he is unable to express his true feelings because he is too shy.

The song has a very deep and powerful meaning, which is reflected in the lyrics. The man’s feelings of love and admiration for the woman are described as “reaching up to the sky” and “reaching down to the depths of the sea.” He also expresses his devotion to her in the line “for you, I’ll be a satin doll.” This line emphasizes the extent of his love and appreciation for her.

The song also has a very unique and memorable melodic structure, which is often praised for its technical complexity. The melody of the song is a classic example of a “swinging” jazz style, which is characterized by a strong backbeat and syncopated rhythms. The use of the piano and the horns also contribute to the song’s unique sound.

In addition to its lyrical and melodic components, “Satin Doll” is also noted for its historical significance. It was a major hit for Ellington and the song is often regarded as one of the earliest examples of jazz-influ

Impact: Social and Cultural Influence

Satin Doll, written by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, is a jazz standard recorded by hundreds of artists over the years. It has had a great social and cultural impact. First released in 1953, it quickly became a favorite among jazz musicians and was recorded by Ellington’s band 32 times. Since then, it has been featured in a variety of contexts, from movies like The Big Chill to jazz festivals worldwide.

Satin Doll is considered a jazz masterpiece and has influenced generations of musicians. It is celebrated for its intricate chord progressions, complex rhythms and accessible melodies. Critics and historians often cite it as one of the greatest jazz compositions of all time. Moreover, it is an important example of the integration of classical music with jazz; Strayhorn blended ragtime, folk and gospel to create an original work of art.

The song has also had a deep cultural impact. The lyrics are seen as being ahead of their time, as they are a commentary on gender roles and the divisions of social classes. The lyrics have been interpreted in a variety of ways, but the overall message sent is one of empowerment, that it’s ok to be independent. This has resonated with many generations since the song was released, showing its timelessness.

Moreover, Satin Doll has been chosen as the official song of the US Navy, and has been used for numerous commercial campaigns and advertisements. This is a testament to its widespread appeal. It is a song of optimism and freedom, which is a message the entire world can appreciate.


Satin Doll is a timeless classic that encapsulates the spirit of jazz and swing music. It is a classic for a reason; the combination of smooth, sophisticated lyrics and music that swings create a timeless feeling. The many interpretations of the song over the years show its versatility and it is a song that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. The easy-listening nature of the song makes it a great choice for any occasion. The lyrics are simple, but they tell a story that is both romantic and timeless. If you haven’t heard Satin Doll before, it’s time to give it a listen. It’s a song that will stay with you long after the last notes have played.