"Body and Soul" was written in New York City for the British actress and singer Gertrude Lawrence, who introduced it to London audiences. Published in England, it was first performed in the U.S. by Libby Holman in the 1930 Broadway revue Three's a Crowd. Louis Armstrong was the first jazz musician to record "Body and Soul". The tune grew quickly in popularity, and by the end of 1930 at least eleven groups had recorded it.
"Body and Soul" remains a jazz standard, with hundreds of versions performed and recorded by dozens of artists. Classic vocal recordings include those of Ella Fitzgerald, Annette Hanshaw, Billie Holiday, Billy Eckstine, Etta James, Sarah Vaughan (for the 1954 album, Sarah Vaughan with Clifford Brown and the 1957 album, Swingin' Easy) and Frank Sinatra, and such musicians as Benny Goodman, Lee Konitz, Bill Evans, John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk, Stan Kenton, Royce Campbell, and Lester Young contributed notable instrumental recordings. To this day, "Body and Soul" is the most recorded jazz standard.