The song of the day for Sunday, October 19, 2014 is “I Wanna Be Around.”
About This Song
“I Wanna Be Around” has a wonderful show business story. A woman from Youngstown, Ohio named Sadie Vimmerstedt was a big Johnny Mercer fan. One day in February 1957, the words “I wanna be around, to pick up the pieces, when somebody breaks your heart” came to her and she knew immediately that it was Johnny Mercer lyric. So, she wrote Mercer a letter, addressed to Johnny Mercer, Songwriter, Los Angeles, CA” and thanks to an alert post office employee the letter was delivered to Mercer. He agreed with Ms. Vimmerstedt and in 1962 decided to write the music for the song himself, as well as finishing out the lyrics. He split the royalties with Ms. Vimmerstedt 50-50, enabling her to travel and retire in great style. Besides … it’s a really great song.
About This Version
In finishing the song “I Wanna Be Around,” Mercer felt that it was a good song for Tony Bennett, and thus Bennett made the first recording of “I Wanna Be Around,” which was released as single in 1962 and was the title song for the album I Wanna Be Around, released in 1963. Your author has heard Bennett mention in concerts, where he regularly sings this song, that Ms. Vimmerstedt used to send him post cards of her world travels.
On October 19, 1962, 52 years ago today, Tony Bennett entered the CBS 30th Street Studio with arranger and conductor Marty Manning and recorded seven (!) songs for the album I Wanna Be Around, including today’s song. You can click the date to read more about this recording session at our sister site The Interactive Tony Bennett Discography.