Any shortlist of the most iconic Jersey songs of all time would have to include “Jersey Bounce,” which makes a promise that any fan of New Jersey music has to love: “If you don’t feel so hot/Go out to some Jersey spot/And whether you’re hep or not/The Jersey Bounce’ll make you swing.”
The version below is by Ella Fitzgerald, who first recorded it for her 1961 album, Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie! But there are other versions, too, some instrumental and some with words, by Benny Goodman, Jimmy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, Ella Mae Morse, The King Sisters and others. Goodman really deserves most of the credit for popularizing it, as he had a No. 1 hit with it in 1942.
In case where you’re wondering where the Jersey Bounce started, it’s Jersey City. “It started on Journal Square/And somebody heard it there/He put it right on the air/And now you hear it everywhere,” goes the second verse. And even now that it has spread, “no town makes it sound the same as where it came from.”
The song has a stellar cast of songwriters, with music by by Tiny Bradshaw, Eddie Johnson and Bobby Plater, and lyrics by Buddy Feyne. Bradshaw co-wrote “The Train Kept a-Rollin’,” Plater was a saxophonist who was born and raised in Newark, and Feyne also wrote the lyrics for “Tuxedo Junction.”
New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday from Sept. 2014 to Sept. 2015. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we marked the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, for almost a year — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. The complete list is here.