The song of the day for Wednesday, June 19, 2013 is “The Boulevard of Broken Dreams.”
About This Song
“The Boulevard of Broken Dreams” was written by Harry Warren and Al Dubin for the 1933 movie Moulin Rouge, starring Constance Bennett, who introduced the song.
Tony Bennett first recorded this song in 1949 with Leslie Records as demo record, with “Crazy Rhythm” on the flip side, both arranged by Bennett’s friend and vocal coach Tony Tamburello. Tony Bennett relates the story in The Good Life:
Not long after Mitch took over as head of A&R (at Columbia), he heard my demo disks of “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” and “Fascinatin’ Rhythm.” This was around the same time that he had the his now-infamous feud with Frank Sinatra. They constantly fought over what songs Frank should record. The industry was beginning to give Mitch a lot of flack for that, and I always suspected he signed me partially to show people that he wasn’t prejudiced against Italian singers! He had never heard of me, but he was so impressed by the way I sang “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” that he signed me to the label sight unseen and selected “Boulevard” as my first single for Columbia. As it turned out, it was one of the few times that Mitch and I saw eye to eye on the subject of repertoire.
“The Boulevard of Broken Dreams” was released on May 22, 1950.
About This Version
Today’s version is from one of my favorite albums, the 1990 Astoria: Portrait of the Artist. It’s a slower and somewhat more romantic arrangement that it is quite sweet and tender.
“The Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” as well as the full Astoria album, is available from iTunes.