Hernando's Hideaway

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"Hernando's Hideaway" is a tango show tune, largely in long metre, from the musical The Pajama Game, written by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross and published in 1954. The lyrics describe a sleezy, dark, raunchy and secretive nightclub where alcohol and prostitution is the order of the day. It was sung in the stage and film versions of the musical by Carol Haney.

The most successful recording of the song was done by Archie Bleyer, the record reaching #2 on the Billboard chart in 1954. A rendition by Enoch Light was featured prominently on Command Records' Provocative Percussion as well as the Command test record. It has also been covered by David Clayton Thomas and is often played by breakbeat DJs. The R&B singer Debelah Morgan sampled it (with different lyrics and a new middle section) on her international pop hit "Dance With Me" released in 2000. The instrumental section of The Johnston Brothers' 1955 recording (a #1 UK hit that year) was used as the theme for Brick Top Polford in the movie Snatch.

A live recording (from Carnegie Hall in 1954) by Ella Fitzgerald[1] can be found on the Verve/Polygram release Jazz at the Philharmonic, the Ella Fitzgerald Set, with Ray Brown on bass and Buddy Rich on drums.

The Pajama Game is set in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Hernando's Hideaway was a raunchy dive in East Dubuque, Illinois, perched on a high cliff overlooking the highway between Dubuque and Galena. The movie was based on the stage play of the same name which, in turn, was based on the book; it is only in the original book that there is information about where the story takes place. A number of places around the world today are named Hernando's Hideaway, evidently based on the popularity of the song.

There are at least 15 Finnish versions by different artists of the song, the first and most popular by Olavi Virta, in 1956.

"Hernando's Hideaway" also became a nickname for the smoking room for British parliamentarians in the House of Commons. The Labour Member of Parliament, Stephen Pound, told the House during a smoking debate on February 14, 2006: "I refer the House to the dystopic hell – 'Hernando's Hideaway' – that is the Smoking Room on the Library Corridor. It is like the Raft of the Medusa most nights, with great groups of people crammed into it."[citation needed]

Recorded versions[edit]


  1. ^ "Ella Fitzgerald | Hernando's Hideaway in Lyrics House". Lyrics-house.com. Retrieved 2012-12-11. 
  2. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 451. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.