The song of the day for Sunday, May 18, 2014 is “East of the Sun.”
About This Song
“East of the Sun” was written in 1934 by Princeton undergraduate Brooks Bowman for a production by the Princeton Triangle Club. It was first recorded in December, 1934 by Hal Kemp and soon found its way into the American songbook. It is, of course, beloved at Princeton University and is often sung by their choirs. After graduation, Bowman worked briefly as a songwriter for Selznick International Pictures, but soon returned to the East Coast to form a songwriting partnership with a fellow Princeton graduate. He died in October 1937 from an automobile accident. It is widely thought that he would have been once of the great songwriters.
His song has been widely recorded by jazz and popular musicians, including those by Stan Getz, Charlie Parker, Ella Fitzgerald, Diana Krall, and Sarah Vaughan. The Frank Sinatra recording was quite popular and the song is widely associated with Sinatra.
About This Version
Tony Bennett recorded “East of the Sun” for his 1992 album Perfectly Frank, where he sings songs made famous by Sinatra. It was arranged by Ralph Sharon and backed by the Ralph Sharon trio, with Paul Langosch on bass and Joe LaBarbera on drums. Bennett included this recording on the 50 Years: The Artistry of Tony Bennett box set. In his liner notes for the box set, Bennett writes:
Frank Sinatra was my best friend. When I made my album honoring him, Perfectly Frank, it was a particular challenge. Rather than record songs that were Frank’s most popular, I chose ones that I felt best represented the essence of his artistry. I also wanted to sing the songs that had the greatest influence on me as a singer, besides being my favorites. “East of the Sun” is one of those songs. I find that it runs through my mind all the time, it was a natural choice to record this song for the project.
“East of the Sun,” as well as the album Perfectly Frank, is available on iTunes.