The song of the day for Monday, February 15, 2015 is “The Man That Got Away.”
About This Song
“The Man That Got Away” written by Harold Arlen, with lyrics by Ira Gershwin, in 1953 for the Judy Garland version of A Star Is Born, co-starring James Mason. Garland’s performance of the song is legendary in film history, with 27 takes in three days, three separate sessions, and two different directors. The filmed scene is brilliant and made the song a huge hit for Garland, who sang it in most of her concerts.
The song is ranked #11 on the American Film Institute’s list of best movie songs. For reasons that completely evade me, “Three Coins In A Fountain” won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. Oh well, to each his/her own.
About This Version
Tony Bennett recorded “The Man That Got Away” in 1959 with Ralph Sharon on their extraordinary album of standards Tony Sings For Two. Recorded in one session, with just Bennett and Sharon and a briefcase of sheet music, one of the greatest albums of songs from the American Songbook was recorded. Every time I listen to this album, which I do frequently, I am amazed all over again by the artistry and heart in every note.
“The Man That Got Away,” as well as Tony Sings For Two, is available from iTunes.
Harold Arlen was born 111 years ago today on February 15, 1905 in Buffalo, New York and was son of a cantor. Rather than summarize his life and amazing career, I would like to point you to his official website haroldarlen.com, managed by his son Sam Arlen. The site has many wonderful resources and information about our songwriter of the month.
So far this year, we’ve looked at Jerome Kern, born in 1885, and Harold Arlen, born in 1905. I can only speak for myself, but the songs by these two greats sound, in almost all cases, just as fresh and relevant and they did when they were written some 50 to 80 years ago. I grew up listening to these songs (thanks Mom) and except for a brief college flirtation with late 1960s rock music, the American Songbook has been my touchstone for my entire life.
Naturally, it’s no wonder that I fell in love with the voice of Tony Bennett, who has devoted his professional life to these wonderful songs that I, and many others, love so much.
So, Happy Birthday to Harold Arlen.
As our song of the day is “The Man That Got Away,” here’s a little something special.