my generation knows the song "istanbul" from the 1990 they might be giants version; an awful lot of us gained first exposure to tmbg through the tiny toons cartoon set to it.
last night, i was flipping around emusic in pursuit of something completely unrelated (fwiw, ray anthony's version of the dragnet theme....) and ran across a 1953 song called "istanbul." i click, it's the song. i had no idea the version i grew up with was a cover.
wikipedia lists a bunch of other remakes. before i ran out of my monthly download quota, i grabbed three. (caterina valente's is the most likely to show up at a dance soon!)
coincidentally, since reading a few passages about life among the russian emigrés in constantinople just after WWI in the orientalist, i've been doing occasional google searches to see what i can find about jazz there during the era just before it became istanbul. no luck yet, but reiss mentioned an african american jazz club, and i'm curious.