The song of the day for Wednesday, July 23, 2014 is “Days of Wine and Roses.”
About This Song
Today’s song is the theme song for the 1962 film of the same name, which starred Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick and was directed by Blake Edwards. The song was composed by Johnny Mandel, with lyrics by Johnny Mercer, and won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. Andy Williams recorded it in 1962 and his is probably the best-known recording of this song. Other recordings include those by Perry Como, and Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass.
About This Version
Tony Bennett recorded “Days Of Wine And Roses” in 1965 for The Movie Song Album, released in 1966. It was arranged by Larry Wilcox and conducted by the composer, Johnny Mandel.
I remember hearing the Andy Williams version from the very beginning; it was, and still is, a lovely, sweet song. But I have to say that when I finally saw the film about 15 years ago, I realized that this version did this magnificent film no huge favor. For this listener, it didn’t begin to express the despair and horror of the alcoholism of the couple played by Lemmon and Remick.
Tony Bennett’s version is quite different: more introspective, much quieter. And much more suited to the arc of the film. Great job, here. Even with the same lovely tune, the deep sadness is much more profound here. Perhaps the producers’ tag line for the movie says it best: “This, in its own terrifying way, is a love story.”
“Days of Wine and Roses,” as well as The Movie Song Album, is available from iTunes.