The song of the day for Thursday, June 26, 2014 is “Darn That Dream.”
About This Song
“Darn That Dream” was written for the 1939 musical Swingin’ the Dream by Jimmy Van Heusen and Eddie DeLange. The musical was an adaptation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream. The cast had many big names: Louis Armstrong playing Bottom, Maxine Sullivan as Titania, Bill Bailey and Dorothy Dandridge. The song was introduced by Maxine Sullivan who spends much of the play “enamored of an ass,” the transformed Bottom (Louis Armstrong).
It only ran for 13 performances and is considered to be a flop. Fortunately, “Darn That Dream” proved to be a hit and earned some money for the investors. In addition to Bennett’s fine recording, the song has also been recorded by Miles Davis, Thelonius Monk, George Shearing, Dexter Gordon and Billie Holiday.
About This Version
Tony Bennett recorded “Darn That Dream” for his first full-length album, Cloud 7. After half a decade of recording a string of great singles for Columbia, Cloud 7 was the jazz album that he longed to make. He relates in his autobiography The Good Life:
I was already singing a lot of jazz numbers live, and I continue to plead with Mitch (Miller) and everybody else at Columbia to allow me to record a full-length jazz album. Finally, perhaps out of fear that I’d leave the label, they relented and let me have my way.
All I can say to that is thank goodness. It’s an excellent album with a wonderful group of musicians, including Al Cohn, Davey Schildkraut, Ed Shaughnessy and Chuck Wayne, who arranged most of the album.
“Darn That Dream,” as well as the album Cloud 7, is available from iTunes.