That Old Black Magic was published in 1942, during World War II, as a popular song in an era when love was difficult to sustain due to the number of young men overseas in the military. Johnny Mercer originally wrote the lyrics for Judy Garland, with whom he did have intimate relations at times.
As with many popular songs, it has been recorded by numerous performers in various arrangements. The song is structured in a straightforward ABA format, with a contrasting bridge between the similar beginning and ending sections. The 4/4 rhythm is marked with syncopation in some arrangements, is interpreted as a ballad in others.
Possibly the best known instrumental version of the song was played by the Glenn Miller Orchestra, recorded in 1943. Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald are two of the best known vocalists to have recorded the song.