“Straighten Up and Fly Right” is a 1943 song written by Nat King Cole and Irving Mills and performed by The King Cole Trio. The single was the trio’s most popular single reaching number one on the Harlem Hit Parade for ten nonconsecutive weeks. The single also peaked at number nine on the pop charts.[1] “Straighten Up and Fly Right” also reached number one for six nonconsecutive weeks on the Most Played Jukebox Hillbilly Records.[2]

The song was based on a black folk tale that Cole’s father had used as a theme for one of his sermons. In the tale, a buzzard takes different animals for a joy ride. When he gets hungry, he throws them off on a dive and eats them for dinner. A monkey who had observed this trick goes for a ride; he wraps his tail around the buzzard’s neck and gives the buzzard a big surprise by nearly choking him to death.

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