Listen Here: “East of the Sun” – Sarah Vaughan (1955)

Brooks Bowman

The origin of the song is fascinating.

“East of the Sun (and West of the Moon)” was written by Brooks Bowman, an undergraduate member of Princeton University’s Class of 1936, for the 1934 production of the Princeton Triangle Club’s production of Stags at Bay. It was published in 1934 and soon became a hallmark of the Princeton Tigertones, one of Princeton University’s all-male a cappella groups. 

Here’s a painful note on the short life of Mr. Bowman.

Following his graduation from Princeton with the class of 1936, Bowman moved to California where, in 1937, he briefly worked under contract as a songwriter for Selznick International Pictures. Released from his contract in September 1937, he returned to the East where he formed a songwriting partnership, in which he would have been the lyricist, with a former Princeton classmate.

A New York music publisher offered the team a contract, but before it was signed Brooks Bowman died on October 17, 1937 when a car in which he was riding crashed into a stone wall on Cat Rock Road near Garrison, New York. Four days later, on October 21, he would have celebrated his 24th birthday.

“East of the Sun” has been a jazz standard since the 1950s.

This Sarah Vaughan version appears on her 1955 album Sarah Vaughan in Hi-Fi. The album is a “12 track compilation album by the singer released in 1955 and recorded from December 21, 1949 through January 5, 1953.

As you can see from the AllMusic entry, it contains a great many classics, this being one of them.

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