The song of the day for Friday, June 2, 2017 is “Penthouse Serenade.”
About This Song
“Penthouse Serenade” was written in 1931 by Will Jason and Val Burton. It is one the classic Depression-era songs with the yearning for the glamorous Manhattan apartment by the poor, yet romantic, couple. The first known use of “Penthouse Serenade” was for the 1933 animated short Betty Boop’s Penthouse, where it was sung by Mae Questel. On a more serious note, “Penthouse Serenade” has had exceptional recordings: Nat King Cole recorded it in 1952 as a piano solo for an album of the same name and Tony Bennett’s recording for his 1959 album Hometown, My Town is really wonderful with a brilliant arrangement by Ralph Burns.
About This Version
Tony Bennett recorded “Penthouse Serenade” in 1958 for his concept album Hometown, My Town. I love everything about this album; with just six songs, Tony Bennett tells a marvelous story about a young man setting out to make his place in Manhattan. I see this album as a companion to the 1990 Astoria: Portrait of the Artist, recorded some 30-plus years later. This album is a real favorite of mine and is a minor masterpiece by the young artist. In fact, if you consider Cloud 7, The Beat of My Heart, and Hometown, My Town, all recorded between 1955 and 1958, you can see the genius of Tony Bennett at the start of his career.
“Penthouse Serenade,” as well as Hometown, My Town, is available from iTunes.
Today we kick off our tribute to this month’s musical collaborator of the month, the arranger Ralph Burns.