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Jalousie is a tango written by Danish composer Jacob Gade in 1925. Its full title is Jalousie 'Tango Tzigane' (Jealousy 'Gypsy Tango') and it soon became popular around the world and is today a classic in the modern songbook.


The work consists of two themes – the first “a temperamental theme in D minor”, followed by a “lyrical section in D major”, both with a typical tango rhythm.[1] Although it became Gade’s most popular and successful work, he wrote successor tangos, such as the 'Romanesca, Tango' in 1933.[1]


The composer claimed that the mood of the piece had been inspired by his reading a sensational news report of a crime of passion, and 'jealousy' became fixed in his mind.[2]

Gade was principal conductor of the 24-piece orchestra of the Palads Cinema in Copenhagen at the time he composed the piece. He wrote it at Tibirke Mølle, north Zealand, where he had a holiday home,[3] as part of the musical accompaniment for the Danish premiere of the silent film Don Q, Son of Zorro.[3] It was performed under Gade's baton on the opening night, 14 September 1925.

Publication and performance history

The music was published in 1925 by Gade and Warny in Denmark, then the following year in New York and Paris.[1] Radio broadcasts and its use in 1930s films spread its popularity. The first recording was made in 1935 by the Boston Pops Orchestra, conducted by Arthur Fiedler, on the Victor label.[1] Many others followed, often in highly different arrangements.[4]

The royalties from the performances of the work allowed Gade to found a charity to help young Danish musicians, called Jacob Gade's Legat.[5]

Patience Strong (writing under the name Vera Bloom) later provided English lyrics, the song being re-titled in the vocal version with the simple English translation "Jealousy". It too proved popular.


Arthur Fiedler and the Boston "Pops" Orchestra recorded a version that was released in November 1943 on V-Disc 52 (VP 161)[6]

Harry James recorded a version in 1946 (released in 1947) on Columbia 37218.

As "Jalousie" the song was released on a single in 1951 by Frankie Laine with Paul Weston & his Orchestra (Columbia Records catalog number 4-39585). A cover-version with amended English lyrics by Billy Fury reached No.2 on the UK singles chart in 1961, giving Fury his biggest UK hit single.

Also in 1961, Esquivel, aka Juan Garcia Esquivel, recorded a popular "space-age" version that later gained even more currency as the soundtrack of a classic Ernie Kovacs sketch in which office supplies come to life.

In addition to Bloom's, lyrics in many languages have been fitted to the composition.

In film

With and without vocals the piece by its various names has been used in numerous films,[7] including:

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