The song of the day for Saturday, August 3, 2013 is “It Amazes Me.”
About This Song
“It Amazes Me” was written by Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh in 1958. While Coleman and Leigh composed the scores for a number of very good Broadway musicals, including Sweet Charity, they also wrote many stand-alone songs, including this one.
About This Version
Tony Bennett first recorded “It Amazes Me” in 1958 for Long Ago and Far Away. However, today’s version is from his 1962 concert at Carnegie Hall.
While I was driving home from the office this evening, I was listening to the Carnegie Hall concert on the car stereo. At a long stop light, “It Amazes Me” began to play and it was as if I was really hearing it for the first time. This happens to us every so often; a song that we listened to and loved suddenly sounds completely new, as we hear things we never heard before. And what I heard this afternoon was a perfect performance of a very fine song.
More and more I am struck by Bennett’s perfect diction and phrasing and this is so evident in “It Amazes Me.” We hear each word perfectly, but it’s not forced, it grows out of the performance and is so natural. (My true test for any singer is “The Man That Got Away” and ‘tomorrow he may turn up.” For too many singers, it comes out “tomorrow he may turnip.” Bennett passes this test with flying colors, even at the emotional dramatic peak of the song.)
Aided by a subtle and lovely arrangement by Ralph Sharon, I hear the amazement and wonder and awe in this delivery. And it speaks to the great versatility of the performer Tony Bennett. He can deliver big, emotional dramatic songs and I love those. But equally I love this side: the precise, quiet delivery where each note, each syllable, each phrase is perfect … and still with that thing that nobody else I’ve ever heard can do: singing a song so perfectly while it sounds as if it’s being written at that moment. Never rote, with all the joy of discovery of wonder in a song.
All I can say is that this song amazes me. Every time. As if it were the first time.
“It Amazes Me,” as well as the complete Tony Bennett at Carnegie Hall concert album, is available from iTunes.