The song of the day for Saturday, November 18, 2017 is “I Wanna Be Around.”
About This Song
“I Wanna Be Around” was written in 1959 by Johnny Mercer and Sadie Vimmerstedt.
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 I’m featuring the best of the best: Tony’s original 1962 recording of “I Wanna Be Around,” arranged by Marty Manning. It was released on the album I Wanna Be Around, released in 1963. This is a superlative recording of a great song.
“I Wanna Be Around,” as well as the album I Wanna Be Around, is available from iTunes.
The great Johnny Mercer was born in Savannah, Georgia on November 18, 1909. Please me in remembering one of America’s greatest lyricists on the anniversary of his birth.
As it’s Saturday, I have, of course, a video for you. Here’s Tony singing today’s song on a beautiful afternoon at the Newport Jazz Festival in 2002.