Stormy Weather Harold Arlen Arlen wrote Stormy Weather for the 1933 Cotton Club Revue. By that time the Cotton Club was at its height as a premiere Harlem night spot for the white social elite of New York. Here all the customers were white and the performers black.
Ted Koehler wrote the words to Arlen's music as he did with all
of Arlen's Cotton Club compositions. His phrases mirrored the roots of jazz and blues, so lines such as 'all I do is pray/that the Lord will let me/ walk in the sun once more' hark back to the language of the black slave spiritual.
The song had been intended for Cab Calloway and his band but he had left the Cotton Club to be replaced by Duke Elllington who gave the song to Ethel Waters.
In the meantime Harold Arlen himself had been singing the song with the Leo Reisman Band and Reisman was so impressed with the version he released a recording of the song a few months before the revue opened, giving the composer a rare hit both as a writer and performer.
Since then it has gained a place in many singer's repertoire though not all have managed to replicate the intricate jazz inflections of Arlen's own version.
For Richard Rodney Bennett evidence of Arlen's expertise can be seen in his published piano parts, notated which Arlen wrote out himself.