The song of the day for Saturday, July 12, 2014 is “The Folks That Live On The Hill.”
About This Song
“The Folks That Live On The Hill” was written in 1937 by Jerome Kern, with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein. It was introduced in the 1937 movie High, Wide and Handsome, where it was introduced by Irene Dunne. Bing Crosby recorded it that same. Peggy Lee recorded this song in 1957 for her album The Man I Love, which was conducted by Frank Sinatra and the song has remained associated with her since that time.
About This Version
Tony Bennett recorded “The Folks That Live On The Hill” for his autobiographical album Astoria: Portrait of the Artist, released in 1990. It was arranged and conducted by Jorge Calandrelli.
We choose this song today in honor of its lyricist, Oscar Hammerstein II, who was born on July 12, 1895 in New York City. Best known for his very successful collaborations with Richard Rodgers, he worked in the earlier part of his career with Jerome Kern, with whom he co-wrote Show Boat in 1927. During his later years, he lived in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. One of the his neighbors was Foxy Sondheim, who had just divorced her husband, and brought her son Stephen to live in Bucks County. Stephen Sondheim became friends with the Hammerstein children and, eventually, with Oscar. Oscar mentored the young Sondheim and taught him about the musical theater. Even though Sondheim was primarily a musician and composer, Hammerstein urged the young Sondheim to work with Leonard Bernstein on West Side Story and with Jule Styne on Gypsy. And thus was born one of the great artists of musical theatre.
“The Folks That Live On The Hill,” as well as Astoria: Portrait of the Artist, is available from iTunes.
Since it’s Saturday, here’s Miss Peggy Lee singing today’s song, from 1981.