On the sixth day of the Tony Bennett 90th Birthday Bash, August 4, 2016, he song of the day is “I Wanna Be Around.”
About This Song
The story of “I Wanna Be Around” is legendary in the music business. Sadie Vimmerstedt, who lived in Youngstown, Ohio, was a big fan of Johnny Mercer’s music. She wrote the opening line ‘I want to be around to pick up the pieces, when somebody breaks yours heart’ and felt it sounded like a Johnny Mercer song. She mailed a letter to ‘Johnny Mercer, Songwriter, New York.’ The post office forwarded the letter to ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers), who got the letter to Mercer. Mercer wrote the melody himself and completed the lyrics for “I Wanna Be Around” in 1959 and asked Tony Bennett to record it, which he did in 1962. Mercer gave 50% of the profits to Ms. Vimmerstedt, which made her a wealthy woman and enabled her to retire and travel the world. It is one of the great songs in the American Songbook.
About This Version
Today’s version is the original one from 1962 and was released on the album I Wanna Be Around in 1963. The arrangement is by Marty Manning.
“I Wanna Be Around,” as well as the album I Wanna Be Around, is available from iTunes.