This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2012)
It was included in the soundtrack for the 1960 Columbia Pictures feature Let No Man Write My Epitaph, recorded on Verve by Ella Fitzgerald, also in 1960. The version by Ella Fitzgerald was a favourite song of Polish Nobel Prize laureate Wisława Szymborska who chose it as the song to be performed at her funeral.
"Black Coffee"'s first two measures are nearly identical to Mary Lou Williams 1938 piece "What's Your Story Morning Glory", and both songs share melodic motifs drawn from blues (including a strong melodic emphasis on the flat third and flat seventh intervals, known as "blue notes"). Williams felt that Burke and Webster plagiarized her composition, and reportedly considered taking legal action over the matter. The two songs have significant melodic and rhythmic differences after the first two measures of their respective 'A' sections, and "Black Coffee" has a completely unique bridge section that has no parallel in "Morning Glory". However, during her piano solo, Williams plays both the identical feel and harmonies that appear on "Black Coffee," with dominant chords moving up and down by half steps in lieu of staying on the tonic chord. While not a carbon copy, Burke and Webster arguably picked sections of "What's Your Story Morning Glory" to string together to create a new song. Coincidentally, jazz trumpeter Paul Webster (no relation to lyricist Paul Francis Webster) was given co-writer cr for "Morning Glory" by Williams when she published her song in 1938.
Other versions of "Black Coffee" were performed by: