In its heyday, the Cotton Club served as a hip meeting spot, with regular "Celebrity Nights" on Sundays that featured guests such as Jimmy Durante , George Gershwin , Sophie Tucker , Paul Robeson , Al Jolson , Mae West , Richard Rodgers , Irving Berlin , Eddie Cantor , Fanny Brice , Langston Hughes , Judy Garland , playwright and director Moss Hart , and Mayor Jimmy Walker among others.

The club also drew from white popular culture of the day. Walter Brooks, who had produced the successful Broadway show Shuffle Along , was the nominal owner. Dorothy Fields and Jimmy McHugh , one of the most prominent songwriting teams of the era, and Harold Arlen provided the songs for the revues , one of which, Blackbirds of 1928 , starring Adelaide Hall, featured the songs " I Can't Give You Anything But Love " and "Diga Diga Doo", produced by Lew Leslie on Broadway.

In 1934, Adelaide Hall starred at the Cotton Club in Cotton Club Parade 1934 , the biggest grossing show that ever appeared at the club. The show opened on 11 March and ran for eight months, attracting over 600,000 paying customers. The score was written by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler and featured the classic song " Ill Wind ". During Hall's performance of "Ill Wind", to add authenticity to the production, a dry-ice machine was used on stage to create a fog effect. It was the first time such equipment had been used on a stage. [2] Featured on the bill was the 16-year-old Lena Horne .

Ill Wind - Wikipedia

(Cotton Club movie) Lonette McKee - Ill Wind - YouTube

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