In honor of the birthday of Robert Farnon, the song of the day for July 24, 2013 is “Country Girl.”
About Robert Farnon
Robert Farnon was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on July 24, 1917. In his long and extraordinary career, Farnon was a composer, conductor and arranger in addition to playing the trumpet. He not only composed for film and television, but is known for his classical works as well.
When World War II started, Farnon was commissioned as a Captain in the Canadian Army and was named the head of the Canadian Band of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force and served his country in Europe during the war. After the war, he decided to make England his home, settling in the town of Guernsey.
Farnon had the well-deserved reputation of being one of the finest arrangers in the world. Tony Bennett recalled in The Good Life:
I met Bob Farnon in early 1952, when I was playing the Casino in Toronto. … Even back then, Bob wanted us to record together, but I had such reverence for his work that I told him I wasn’t ready. I just didn’t feel that I had developed enough as an artist to make an album with him. I thought I’d have to wait about twenty years before I sang with Bob, and I was pretty close, because we didn’t work together until 1967.
Their first album together Bennett’s 1968 album Snowfall, which is arguably the finest Christmas album ever recorded and stands tall as an album in and of itself and is anything but a standard album of Christmas songs.
Farnon and Bennett continued to work together on, including With Love, his live concert album Get Happy with The London Philharmonic Orchestra, Tony Bennett’s Greatest Hits, Volume 7 (for Verve), and, in 1992, Perfectly Frank, which not only was a gold record in the US, but won the Grammy for Best Traditional Pop Performance.
Robert Farnon died on April 23, 2005 at the age of 87, in Guernsey. At his memorial service, held at St. Paul’s Church, Covent Garden, Tony Bennett sang “Country Girl.”
For more information about Robert Farnon and his exceptional accomplishments, please visit the Robert Farnon Society website.
About This Song
The song “Country Girl” was written by Farnon based on the Wordsworth poem The Solitary Reaper. “Country Girl” was written in 1966 for the Eurovision Song Contest; it came in third. All I can say is that those other two songs must have been phenomenal, because “Country Girl” is one of the most beautiful and touching songs that I have ever heard.
About This Version
Today’s version comes from the 1967 album Tony Makes It Happen! and was arranged and conducted by Marion Evans.
“Country Girl,” as well as the album Tony Makes It Happen!, is available from iTunes.