The song of the day for Thursday, July 11, 2013 is “Because Of You.”
About This Song
“Because Of You” was written in 1940, with music by Dudley Wilkinson and lyrics by Arthur Hammerstein (uncle to Oscar Hammerstein). It was a moderate hit when written, but really took off in 1952 with Tony Bennett’s recording.
About This Version
“Because Of You” holds a special place in the musical history of Tony Bennett. Having been signed to contract at Columbia in 1950, by 1951 he hadn’t produced a huge hit and there was talk of dropping him from the label. He says in his autobiography The Good Life:
I went into Percy’s (Percy Faith) office and he said, “In this next session you really have to deliver. We have only three songs ready, so we need another song.” I remember that he looked through a bunch of sheet music on his desk, grabbed a song, and said, “Well, let’s do this one.” That song was “Because Of You.” I was doing a lot of dramatic singing on my early records … but Percy said to me, “Just relax. Use your natural voice and sing the song,” I took his advice.
And what great advice that was. The record didn’t start out getting a lot of airplay. It did, however, get a lot jukebox plays and so a groundswell of popularity began for this recording and the calls came pouring in to the DJs at the radio stations to play “Because of You.”
.. it reached number one on Billboard magazine’s pop chart on June 23, 1951. It stayed on the chart for thirty-two weeks–ten weeks at number one. I finally had my first major hit record.
I have no doubt that Tony Bennett would have become the legend he is today even if “Because of You” had not been picked up off the desk that day. That said, it was an amazing bit of good fortune that Percy Faith did pick it up that day. “Because of You” sold a million copies and firmly cemented Tony Bennett as a star.
Today’s version is, of course, the original version from 1951. It sounds as fresh and wonderful as if it had been recorded this year.
“Because Of You,” as well as the The Columbia Singles, Vol. 1, is available from iTunes. This volume of the Columbia single also includes other great early singles including “The Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” “Sing You Sinners,” “Cold, Cold Heart,” and a heart-breakingly beautiful version of “While We’re Young.”