The song of the day for Thursday, July 12, 2018 is “All In Fun.”
About This Song
“All In Fun” was written by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein for the 1939 Broadway musical Very Warm For May. Though the show was not well-reviewed, the score contained some wonderful songs including this one and “All The Things You Are.”
About This Version
Tony Bennett recorded “All In Fun” in 2004 for the album The Art of Romance and features an arrangement by Lee Musiker.
I absolutely adore the The Art of Romance. I bought it when it came out and loaded in on my iPod–I know I must have listened to this album 2 or 3 times a day for a month or more. I call it my Tony Bennett gateway album; I’ve given it to friends that I want to introduce to Tony Bennett and it always works. It’s a gorgeous album with a masterful selection of songs, including today’s song “All In Fun.”
“All In Fun,” as well as The Art of Romance, is available from iTunes.
The Year of Tony Bennett is pleased to honor Oscar Hammerstein, the lyricist of today’s song.
Oscar Hammerstein II was born on July 12, 1895 into one of America’s great show business families. His father, a noted theatrical manager, did not want his son to follow him into the business and encouraged him to study law at Columbia University. However, his extra-curricular activities included his participation in college theatrical productions.
Hammerstein dropped out of college to pursue a career in theatre and apprenticed with Otto Harbach. This association led to his collaboration with Jerome Kern, leading to the 1927 collaboration on Show Boat. One of my favorite stories about Hammerstein arises from their work on Show Boat:
Many years later, Hammerstein’s wife Dorothy bristled when she heard a remark that Jerome Kern had written “Ol’ Man River.” “Indeed not,” she retorted. “Jerome Kern wrote ‘dum, dum, dum-dum.’ My husband wrote ‘Ol’ Man River’.”
I don’t know if this story is true, but if is isn’t, it should have been.
Show Boat broke the paradigm of the Broadway musical. It was musical theatre, not musical comedy. And, unlike the other musicals in that time period, it was an integrated musical, where the script, the songs and the choreography was a single, focused artistic statement.
In 1943, Hammerstein broke even more theatrical ground when he joined Richard Rodgers to create Oklahoma, an even more significant contribution to the development of musical theatre. Rodgers and Hammerstein created a brilliant string of hit musicals: Carousel, The King and I, South Pacific and many more, including Hammerstein’s last production, The Sound of Music.
Oscar Hammerstein died from stomach cancer in August, 1960, shortly after The Sound of Music opened.