The song of the day for Sunday, November 10, 2013 is “Laura.”
About This Song
“Laura” was written for the 1944 film of the same name, which starred Gene Tierney, Clifton Webb and Dana Andrews. The music was written by David Raksin and lyrics were added later by Johnny Mercer. Raksin was a noted film composer who wrote “The Bad and the Beautiful,” which Bill Evans played as a solo on his and Tony’s album Together Again. “Laura” is jazz standard, ranking #35 on the jazz standards.com website. In 1945, the year the film was released, there were five different recordings, with Woody Herman’s version gaining million-seller status. Over the years, “Laura” has been recorded by artists including Frank Sinatra, Billy Eckstine, Ella Fitzgerald and many others, including Tony Bennett.
About This Version
Tony Bennett recorded “Laura” at the famed CBS 30th Street Studio in New York on this day in 1959. At the same session, he also recorded “Autumn Leaves,” “Speak Low” and “Tenderly.” The album was arranged and conducted by Frank DeVol and has a lush orchestral sound that suits the song selection very well. As an aside, Bucky Pizzarelli played guitar at this session. You can read more about the session here.
“Laura” appeared on Tony Bennett’s 1960 album To My Wonderful One, his eighth album at Columbia.
“Laura,” as well as the album To My Wonderful One, is available from iTunes.
Max Weissengruber says
Hello Suzanne. The composer of “Laura’ is David Raksin not Raskin, a natural error given the more common name Raskin. I met David in Toronto in 1976 when he was writing original music for a CBC series on the modern Olympics which were held in Montreal in 1976. Director Otto Preminger gave David the weekend to come up with a suitable theme for the movie. That weekend, while David was seated at the piano, he read a letter from his wife saying that their marriage was over. Despite being overcome emotionally by this news, he stumbled across some notes that formed the beginning of what eventually became ” Laura.” Johnny Mercer added the lyrics after the film was released and it has been a favorite song ever since.
Hi Max. Thanks for the correction, as well as the story of his composing of the song. I’ve enjoyed dipping into your blog today and will definitely continue to read it. Thanks for checking out The Year of Tony Bennett. Suzanne