Saint Louis Blues (music)
"Saint Louis Blues" was one of the first blues songs to succeed as a pop song, performed by everyone from Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith to Glenn Miller and the Boston Pops Orchestra. It was written and published by W.C. Handy in 1914, and has been called "the jazzman's Hamlet".
Handy had said that he had been inspired to write the song by a chance meeting with a black woman on the streets of New Orleans distraught over her husband's absence, who lamented: "Ma man's got a heart like a rock cast in de sea," a key line of the song. Details of the story vary but agree on the meeting and the phrase.
Though the name of the song implies that it is about events in the City of Saint Louis, Missouri, it instead refers to a sophisticated woman from that city who has stolen the affection of the singer's lover.
The form is unusual in that the verses are the familiar standard 12-bar blues in common time with three lines of lyrics, the first two lines repeated, but it also has a 16-bar bridge written in the habanera rhythm.
The opening line, "I hate to see that evenin' sun go down" may be one of the more recognizable lyrics in pop music, and set the tone for many subsequent blues songs.
For other things of this name, see the disambiguation page "Saint Louis Blues".