The song of the day for Tuesday, January 14, 2014 is “Blues in the Night.”
About This Song
Today’s song, “Blues in the Night,” was written by Arlen and Johnny Mercer for the 1941 film of the same name. I actually managed to catch this movie on Turner Classic Movies a few months ago; it’s not the world’s greatest film by any means, but the score was incredible, thanks mainly to this wonderful song. Harold Arlen wrote a perfect blues song and Mercer’s lyrics are legendary. The famous first lines of the lyric “My mama done tole me, when I was in knee pants” was just a scribble in a margin on one of the pages of Mercer’s notes while he was working on the lyric. Arlen saw this scribble and suggested that Mercer start with those lines. He said it was the few times he ever suggested any words to Mercer.
About This Version
Today’s song is from Tony Bennett’s third album The Beat of My Heart, released in 1957. In that same year, Tony Bennett auditioned an English jazz pianist named Ralph Sharon and hired him immediately. Sharon encouraged Bennett to continue to explore his interest and love of performing jazz. Tony Bennett came up with the idea of spotlighting rhythm songs and inviting the world’s great percussionists to join him. Sharon and Bennett worked out the songs and arc of the album while they were on the road. Upon returning to New York, the recordings began, with percussionists including Jo Jones, Chico Hamilton, Art Blakey, Candido, Sabu and Bennett’s regular drummer, Billy Exiner. With great arrangements by Sharon and great performances from all the artists, The Beat of My Heart, along with his first album Cloud 7, secured Tony Bennett’s reputation as a jazz singer. The album was not only a success with the listening public, but was all very well received by the jazz critics.
“Blues in the Night” features the great Jo Jones on drums.
“Blues in the Night,” as well as The Beat of My Heart, is available from iTunes.