The song of the day for Thursday, December 11, 2014 is “If I Ruled The World.”
About This Song
Written by Cyril Ornadel and Leslie Bricusse, “If I Ruled The World” was written in 1963 for the London musical Pickwick, based on Dicken’s The Pickwick Papers. Harry Secombe, the British actor, originated the role of Pickwick and his version of this song charted at #18 in the UK. The production opened in New York in 1965 on Broadway; Bennett’s recording was the first American recording.
About This Version
Tony Bennett recorded “If I Ruled The World” in 1965 for his album If I Ruled The World: Song For The Jet Set, which is one of my favorite albums since that day in 1965 when my parents brought it home. The album has a beautiful photograph of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil that enchanted me; I remember listening to this album while looking at the photograph. I have yet to make my trip to Brazil to see it in person, though… Oh sorry, back on track … the arrangement is by Don Costa.
I’m not sure if I have this story completely right, but I do know that Tony Bennett sang this song in London in 1971, a concert that was captured on Get Happy with The London Philharmonic Orchestra. As he started to sing the song (at rehearsal, perhaps), Bobby Hackett, the great cornet player, said to Bennett “What do you mean if?” Exactly.
“If I Ruled the World,” as well as If I Ruled The World: Songs For The Jet Set, is available from iTunes.