The song of the day for Monday, September 16, 2019, is “But Beautiful.”
About This Song
“But Beautiful” was written in 1947 by Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke for Bing Crosby to sing in the 1947 movie The Road to Rio. The song has been widely recorded, including recordings by Bill Evans, Johnny Hartman, Billie Holiday, Gregory Porter, Frank Sinatra, and Nat King Cole.
About This Version
Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga recorded “But Beautiful” in 2014 for their album Cheek To Cheek, featuring an arrangement by Jorge Calandrelli. It’s a pleasure to present this recording. I feature this song often on this site, but always the recording that Tony made with Bill Evans for The Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Album. Both of these recordings are stunning.
“But Beautiful,” as well as Cheek To Cheek, is available from iTunes.
I’d also like to include this video from the recording of “But Beautiful for Cheek To Cheek. Thre are many videos of Tony Bennett recording with duet partners, but this one is my absolute favorite. First, it’s a great illustration of how Tony likes to record, which is not as common these days. The video shows Tony and Lady Gaga in the recording studio, as well as Bennett’s quartet. These are all great musicians and it’s wonderful to see them. Note the exquisite guitar by Gray Sargent. Second, it’s meaningful to see these Tony and Lady Gaga work this song. “But Beautiful” is not your garden-variety love song, with lyrics like
Love is tearful, or it’s gay
it’s a problem or it’s play
It’s a heartache either way
Even reading these lines tugs at my heart. Watching Tony and Lady Gaga sing this song is like watching the arc of a love affair.