The song of the day for Friday, November 8, 2013 is “There’s A Small Hotel.”
About This Song
“There’s A Small Hotel” was written in 1935 by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. It was originally intended to be used in the musical extravaganza Jumbo, but was not used; it did get use the next year in On Your Toes. Several small hotels that once had Mr. Rodgers as a guest claimed that their hotel was the inspiration for the song. I believe that we all have an image and memory of a small hotel, whether we actually stayed there or not. You can read more about There’s A Small Hotel, as well as read the lyrics, at our sister site, The Interactive Tony Bennett Discography.
About This Version
Todays version is from the work that Tony Bennett did The Ruby Braff / George Barnes Quartet in 1973 and was released originally on Tony Bennett Sings More Great Rodgers and Hart. The two albums of Rodgers and Hart songs that Bennett did are among my very favorites. The quartet of cornet, two guitars and bass is rather extraordinary.
The writer Whitney Balliet wrote an essay about Tony Bennett titled “A Quality That Lets You In” that was published in the New Yorker Magazine on January 7, 1974. This essay has been collected in several of Balliet’s books, including American Singers: Twenty-Seven Portraits in Song. You can read the essay at no charge on Google Books. (Your opinionated author only wishes she could write a paragraph to compare with Balliet’s first paragraph in this essay). Subscribers to The New Yorker can sign up to read all back issues of the magazine online. The essay covers a few days when Tony Bennett was appearing in New York and singing Rodgers and Hart songs with the quartet.
“There’s a Small Hotel,” as well as The Complete Improv Recordings, is available from iTunes.