The song of the day for Sunday, July 15, 2018 is “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered.”
About This Song
“Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered,” written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, was one of the hit songs from the 1940 musical Pal Joey, where it was introduced by Vivienne Segal. Notable recordings are by Benny Goodman, Mel Tormé, Oscar Peterson, Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra. Alec Wilder admired the lyric and the verse, but found the song “notey.” In spite of being notey, it’s a cornerstone of the American Songbook.
About This Version
Tony Bennett recorded “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” in 1959 with Ralph Sharon for their extraordinary album Tony Sings For Two. Why extraordinary? I see Tony Sings For Two was declaration of independence from the heavy hand of producer Mitch Miller who seems to have had a weakness for novelty and pop songs. This album was the artist breaking free: recording the songs he wanted to record (and what a great selection of songs the album has) and with the sound he wanted (just the elegant Ralph Sharon on piano).
Tony Bennett describes it in his autobiography, The Good Life:
I always wanted to be unpredictable, and so for my next project, I decided to go in the opposite direction from the big orchestral albums I’d been doing lately and cut an intimate piano-vocal album with Ralph Sharon. We booked time in the studio and pored through music books, trying one tune after another. The arrangements were spontaneous, and we finished each song in one or two takes. In one afternoon we laid down sixteen tunes–which must be some kind of record–twelve of which made it onto the album, which became 1961’s Tony Sings for Two. Mitch Miller showed up at the start of these sessions, furious that I was really going through with it. When he saw that there was no dissuading me, he turned to Frank Laico and said, “I’m leaving. I can’t support this.” Tony Sings for Two turned out to be one of my finest records ever.
“Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered,” as well as Tony Sings For Two, is available from iTunes.