The song of the day for Tuesday, February 16, 2016 is “While We’re Young.”
About This Song
Today’s song, “While We’re Young,” was written in 1944 by Alec Wilder, Morty Palitz and William Engvick. It was first recorded in 1944 by the Fred Waring Singers and again in 1949 by Meredith Willson (who wrote The Music Man) and his Orchestra. Peggy Lee also recorded the song in 1949, but not to Wilder’s liking. Marion McPartland quotes Wilder as telling Miss Lee that “The next time you come to the bridge (of the song), jump off!” “While We’re Young” remains popular in the American songbook, having been recently recorded by Jane Monheit and Ben Sidron.
About This Version
Tony Bennett first recorded “While We’re Young” early in his career, in 1951. Today’s recording is his other recording, from a live club appearance in Buffalo, New York and released on Tony Bennett, The McPartlands and Friends Make Magnificent Music on Tony’s own Improv label.
“While We’re Young,” as well as Tony Bennett: The Complete Improv Recordings, is available from iTunes.
Alec Wilder was born 109 years ago today, February 16, 1907 in Rochester, New York. He was a member of a prominent family, though he was unhappy enough as a teenager to hire a lawyer and become an emancipated minor and also gained part of the family fortune. He studied composition with professors at the Eastman School of Music, though he was never enrolled nor received a degree.
Wilder’s career is fascinating in that it spanned both popular and classical music. He was a great friend to many of the 20th century’s greatest singers: Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Mabel Mercer and Peggy Lee. He also wrote the pre-eminent American Popular Song, the most important, complete and well-written book on the American Songbook. At the same time, he composed classical music, musicals, film music, opera and art songs.
The Year of Tony Bennett is pleased to remember the great Alec Wilder on his birthday.