The song of the day for Saturday, December 7, 2013 is “The Way You Look Tonight.”
About This Song
Today’s song, “The Way You Look Tonight,” was written by two of America’s greatest songwriters: Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields. The song was written for the 1936 film Swing Time and was, of course, originally introduced by Fred Astaire. In 1936, the song was also recorded by Bing Crosby with his current wife Dixie Lee and also Billie Holiday. It has been steadily recorded ever since, with major jazz and popular recordings up to today.
Even though Fields’ lyrics are exquisite, “The Way You Look Tonight” has had many fine instrumental recordings as well, including those by Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson.
Dorothy Fields is quoted as saying “the first time Jerry played that melody for me I went out and started to cry. The release absolutely killed me. I couldn’t stop, it was so beautiful.”
I couldn’t agree more.
About This Version
Today’s version of “The Way You Look Tonight” was recorded in 1958 for the album Long Ago and Far Away. The album was arranged and conducted by Frank DeVol; his orchestra was used for the album as well. Bennett made another wonderful recording of this song in 1997 for the movie My Best Friend’s Wedding; this version is included on the 50/60 Years: The Artistry of Tony Bennett (which I featured a couple of months ago; you can read that post here). But today I find it interesting to listen to Mr. Bennett singing his original version and then the one fifty years later, on our YouTube Saturday video.
Tony Bennett sings this song regularly in concert and it always moves the audience to tears, including your opinionated author. At one concert, a woman I didn’t even know cried on my shoulder after he sang this song. I have never heard anyone sing any song with so much emotional depth and heart as Tony Bennett singing this song in concert.
“The Way You Look Tonight,” as well as the album Long Ago and Far Away, is available from iTunes.
It’s YouTube Saturday again, and so we’re featuring a Tony Bennett video today. The song of the day version was recorded in 1958. This video was recorded fifty years later, in 2008 on an Elvis Costello television special. Mr. Bennett is accompanied by Bill Charlap.
And today we’ll double down … here’s Fred and Ginger: