The song of the day for Wednesday, October 16, 2013 is “Once Upon A Time.”
About This Song
“Once Upon A Time” was written in 1962 by Charles Strouse (music) and Lee Adams (lyrics) for All American, which starred Ray Bolger. The song was introduced by Mr. Bolger and Eileen Herlie in the original production. The song is quite beautiful and has been widely recorded. In my household, I grew to love this song based on the Andy Williams recording, a favorite of my mother. It has also be recorded by Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin, Perry Como, Mabel Mercer and, of course, Tony Bennett.
About This Version
Tony Bennett first recorded this song in 1962; it was the A-side of the 45 RPM single with “I Left My Heart In San Francisco.” And we all know how that turned out. The song did well, even though overshadowed by the huge success of the B-side. Mr. Bennett sings this song in concert to this day and it’s always well-received by the audience.
Today’s version is from the newly-released Live At The Sahara: Las Vegas, 1964 concert album. I find the concert album quite remarkable in what is a real master class in performance. On a superficial level, Bennett knows he’s playing a Las Vegas house and the banter and dialogue back that up. But Tony Bennett is incapable of not giving a nuanced and emotional performance and again and again in the concert, he gives this song the emotional arc that it deserves. It’s not just this song, either. “It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie,” “Ain’t Misbehaving” and “I’m Way Ahead of the Game” are just as emotionally complex and fully realized.
“Once Upon A Time,” as well as Live At The Sahara: Las Vegas, 1964 is available from iTunes.