The words met with approval from Ellington, who described them as "wonderful—but not entirely fitted to my original conception." That original conception was inspired by three of Ellington's grade school teachers. "They taught all winter and toured Europe in the summer. To me that spelled sophistication." Duke Ellington and His Orchestra introduced Sophisticated Lady in 1933 with an instrumental recording of the song that featured solos by Toby Hardwick on alto sax, Barney Bigard on clarinet, Lawrence Brown on trombone and Ellington on piano. The recording entered the charts on 27 May 1933, and stayed there for sixteen weeks, rising to number three.
They say into your early life romance came And in this heart of yours burned a flame A flame that flickered one day and died away Then, with disillusion deep in your eyes You learned that fools in love soon grow wise The years have changed you, somehow I see you now
Smoking, drinking, never thinking of tomorrow, nonchalant, Diamonds shining, dancing, dining with some man in a restaurant Is that all you really want? No, sophisticated lady, I know, You miss the love you lost long ago And when nobody is nigh you cry