The song of the day for Saturday, April 5, 2014 is “Is That All There Is?”
About This Song
“Is That All There Is?” was written by the legendary songwriting team of Mike Stoller and Jerry Leiber in 1968. Most people are familiar with Peggy Lee’s recording of this song, from January 1969. The lyrics for this song were inspired by a story by Thomas Mann, Disillusionment. Leiber’s wife Gaby, who escaped the Nazis from the Netherlands prior to the war, introduced her husband to the story and assisted with the lyrics. In fact, most of the words in the chorus are taken verbatim from the Mann story.
About This Version
In his autobiography The Good Life, Tony Bennett relates his struggles with Columbia in the late 1960s:
After much disagreement, Clive Davis convinced me to do the kind of record he wanted. The album was called Tony Sings The Great Hits of Today, a collection of contemporary cover tunes. I started planning the record by listening to as many current hits as I could stand. I mean, some of these songs made me physically ill. Even Clive Davis says in his book that I became so nauseous before the first recording session that I literally threw up.
Today’s song comes from that album. I don’t listen to it often myself. But today I had my iPod on shuffle and Tony’s version of “Is That All There Is?” popped up and I loved it. I’ve always loved Miss Peggy Lee’s version of it. Even thought the arrangements are similar, it’s a completely different song from the Peggy Lee version; Bennett’s incurable optimism comes through, making for a very interesting listen. The arrangement is by Peter Matz. I hope you enjoy this little detour.
“Is That All There Is?” as well as the album Tony Sings The Great Hits of Today, is available from iTunes.
And here is Miss Peggy Lee, singing today’s song, live in concert from 1969.