Did you know that Duke Ellington was born today in 1899? Duke Ellington was an American composer, musician, and band or orchestra leader. He had a musical career that lasted more than 50 years, and composed more than 3000 songs. Duke Ellington is often associated with swing or orchestral jazz music. Some of his well-known songs include “It Don’t Mean a thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” and “Mood Indigo”. Duke Ellington and his orchestra became very popular, not only in the United States, but also internationally as well.
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Duke Ellington’s actual name is Edward Kennedy Ellington. He was given the nickname “Duke” because of his grace and refined behavior when he was a child. Ellington’s friend, Edgar McEntree, is credited with coming up with the nickname.
Duke Ellington earned many awards including:
- President’s Gold Medal in 1966
- Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1969
- 13 Grammy Awards
- Pulitzer Prize
- French Legion of Honor in 1973