Playlist: The Queen’s Hour

Bow to the queens, friends.

These are the first ladies of jazz, the original divas. There’s a pretty wide selection of songs here, from heartbreaking chest-achy stuff to more pop-infused swing for pretending you are in a romantic comedy. This is the perfect soundtrack for a dinner party, or sobbing into your coffee, or gazing into the eyes of a really beautiful girl. It also makes anything instantly classy. Play this mix, and eating leftovers in your underwear is instantly classy.

The Queen’s Hour


The Very Thought of You – Billie Holiday
Stormy Weather – Etta James
Fever – Peggy Lee
Cry Me A River – Julie London
Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps – Doris Day
I Put A Spell On You – Nina Simone
Dream A Little Dream of Me – Ella Fitzgerald
I Want To Be Evil – Eartha Kitt
Lover Man – Blossom Dearie
Night & Day – Billie Holiday
Sing, Sing, Sing – Anita O’Day
Destination Moon – Dinah Washington
You Belong To Me – Jo Stafford
Wild Is The Wind – Nina Simone
Careless – Sarah Vaughan
I Wish You Love – Nancy Wilson
What A Diff’rence A Day Makes – Dinah Washington
Give Me The Simple Life – Rosemary Clooney
Sunny Side of the Street – Peggy Lee

BONUS: Sinnerman (Felix Da Housecat Cellular Remix) – Nina Simone

the queen’s hour from Autostraddle on 8tracks Radio.


Tell me your favorite jazzy tracks below.

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Full-time writer, part-time lover, freelancing in fancy cheese and cider.

Kate has written 130 articles for us.


  1. Yes! Amazing playlist. I may or may not be studying jazz at uni right now and have to play an ultimately terrifying recital in like, 5 weeks, where I drum to a smosgasbord of different tunes and show a panel of esteemed jazz heads that I’ve like, learnt something in these last three years.



    I’m really glad that Sarah Vaughn is in here. I’m doing a drum solo version of Perdido but I picked the tune because the first version I heard/saw was by her and she just had this twinkle in her eye and a smile to die for.

    Here’s the clip actually!

    Billy Strayhorn’s ‘Lush Life’ is a beautiful ballad. It also has the winning opening phrase ‘I used to visit all the very gay places’, which is extra great. Also because Strayhorn was actually gay. WIN!

    • Also, in the interest of ranting about favourite jazzy tracks (also be forewarned, most of these probably have a bias towards tunes with excellent drumming):

      Satin Doll by Duke Ellington. I used to think this would be the perfect song to waltz to with a special lady friend, and I don’t even waltz. However, the part where the horns come in can sometimes be super intense and almost give me a fright. But sometimes you have to make those sacrifices.

      Jazz Crimes by Joshua Redman. My twin sister doesn’t get why I like this tune because the melody is kind of disjointed and obscure and not ‘easy listening’. However, all you need to do is tune in to the master Mr Brian Blade cooking up a contemporary funk-infused storm on the kit to understand why jazz drummers all over bow to this track. I also like that Brian just about falls off his chair in the videos where he’s playing this song. Dedication.

      Get a Life by Trio Toykeat (plus anything else ever by Trio Toykeat). I indeed had a new appreciation for life after hearing this tune. I am also surprised that the piano didn’t catch on fire Gaga style.

      Pinzin Kinzin by Avishai Cohen is one that I’m just getting into. It’s got a beautiful melody but also some really interesting rhythmic stuff going on underneath. Avishai is basically a Super Saiyan of really pretty melodies, and double bass to my ears is what Emily Blunt is to my eyes: very, very nice.

      Someday My Prince Will Come is from Alice in Wonderland which makes it Disney and therefore relevant to many of our interests also. PLUS it is also lovely.

      AND,, Dancing Men on the Burning for Buddy soundtrack is a glorious big band number that just makes my heart SWELL x 249238098.

      All the jazz feelings <3

  2. I love all these songs! My Nina Simone station on Pandora is my most played. Thanks for this playlist!

  3. ALSO anything I have ever heard by Esperanza Spalding! Aside from also being nice to look at, she bridges the pop-jazz gap which makes her extra palatable and oh gosh she’s so good. Prodigious singing + double-bassing skills and just all round excellence. And already lecturing at Berklee? What a talent.

  4. Yes. All of this. Many of these artists and tracks show up on my work Pandora station. Makes the day beautiful.

    Even though she’s modern, I’d like to add Madeleine Peyroux.

    • I bloody LOVE Madeline Peyroux.

      Also, this whole playlist made my day. Swaying at my desk to the strains of Nina Simone in my headphones and giving no fucks about the weird looks from my coworkers.

  5. definitely going to listen to this while writing two essays that are due tonight. i’m going to feel like the classiest procrastinator ever. probably going to skip wild is the wind, because it usually makes me tear up.

  6. Oh god, this is a fantastic playlist. I adore torch singers. I’ll have to add some Judy Garland to it, though. “Blue Prelude” gets me every time.

  7. YISSSSS. I am all about this life. Also, best lady jazz song OF ALL TIME is Ella Fitzgerald’s recording of “Mack the Knife” live in Berlin. She fucks it up and it ends up being so much better than it would’ve been had she not fucked up.

    And her impetus behind singing the song is that, “we haven’t heard a girl do it yet.” BAD ASS.

    • Also I saw “The Master” a week ago and Ella’s “Get Thee Behind Me Satan” is used PERFECTLY in that movie and I can’t stop listening to it. So that’s another one.

  8. I think I might have to listen to this playlist every day. Was having a bad day but not any more :D

  9. Thank you so much, nice to see such a post to write such a beautiful post, and when I saw this post of yours, I was very happy to see its design and when I read it, I love to appreciate it. Because those who write such a beautiful post must get credit for it.

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