According to Jelly Roll Morton, the tune was composed in 1905. Morton first recorded the number in 1923 as a piano solo, but did not file a copyright on the tune until 1924. That year, Morton recorded a duet version with Joe "King" Oliver on cornet. Morton said that he had actually written the tune almost 20 years earlier, and that it was named after his friend and fellow pianist Porter King.
On July 1, 1935, Benny Goodman and his orchestra recorded Fletcher Henderson's arrangement of the number, backed with "Sometimes I'm Happy". It was released July 31 as Victor 25090, and became a sizeable hit and a standard of the Big Band era. Goodman's recording featured the well known trumpeter of the day Bunny Berigan. Fletcher Henderson had recorded his own arrangement several times with his own band during the 1920s and early 1930s. Harry James recorded a version in 1939 on Brunswick 8366. Other big bands also recorded the tune, as did more traditional jazz groups.
Late 1960s "space-age" bandleader Pat Williams recorded the song on his 1968 Verve LP Shades of Today.