On Tony Bennett’s 90th birthday, the song of the day for August 3, 2016 is “I Left My Heart In San Francisco.”
About This Song
This song is, of course, Tony Bennett’s signature song. It actually became that quite by accident. As Bennett’s musical director, songwriters were constantly giving Ralph Sharon copies of their songs. Douglass Cross and George Cory had done that and Sharon had stuck the song in a drawer and forgotten all about it. In 1961, he and Bennett were heading out on tour, which included a stop in San Francisco at The Venetian Room at the Fairmont Hotel on Nob Hill. Sharon came across the music and thought it might be a nice local number for the San Francisco audience. After a performance in Hot Springs, Arkansas, they found a piano and started to work on the song a bit. An early fan was the bartender, who said that he’d buy the first copy if they ever decided to record it. Of course, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” was a huge hit at the performance and in January, 1962, Bennett recorded it and released it on a 45 RPM record on the B-side to “Once Upon a Time.” But gradually, I Left My Heart in San Francisco started getting all the airplay and it became a major hit for Bennett, winning him his first Grammy Award. It is his signature song and is beloved by all of his fans.
About This Version
Today, we honor Tony Bennet with the first, and truly wonderful, recording of “I Left My Heart In San Francisco,” recorded on January 23, 1962. It was soon released as a single and was the foundation for the album I Left My Heart In San Francisco. The arrangement is by Marty Manning.
“I Left My Heart In San Francisco,” as well as the album I Left My Heart In San Francisco, is available from iTunes.
I find highly appropriate to note that August 3 not only Tony Bennett’s birthday, but also that of composer of “I Left My Heart In San Francisco”: George Cory, who was born in San Francisco on August 3, 1920. He and his partner (romantic and professional) Douglass Cross were a pair of homesick, struggling songwriters living in New York when they wrote this song in 1953.
So today, we wish Tony Bennett a very happy birthday and remember George Cory on the 96th anniversary of his birth.