The song of the day for Thursday, May 4, 2023, is “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.”
Today we remember Douglass Cross, who wrote the lyrics for “I Left My Heart In San Francisco.” Cross was born on May 4, 1920, and died on January 7, 1975. He and his partner, George Cory, were from San Francisco and had moved to New York to better their chances as songwriters.
About This Song
“I Left My Heart in San Francisco” was written in 1953 by Douglass Cross and George Cory.
This song is, of course, Tony Bennett’s signature song. It actually became that quite by accident. As Bennett’s musical director, songwriters were constantly giving Ralph Sharon copies of their songs. Cross and Cory had done that and Sharon had stuck the song in a drawer and forgotten all about it. In 1961, he and Bennett were heading out on tour, which included a stop in San Francisco at The Venetian Room at the Fairmont Hotel on Nob Hill. Sharon came across the music and thought it might be a nice local number for the San Francisco audience.
After a performance in Hot Springs, Arkansas, they found a piano and started to work on the song a bit. An early fan was the bartender, who said he’d buy the first copy if they ever decided to record it. Of course, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” was a huge hit at the performance, and in January 1962, Bennett recorded it and released it on a 45 RPM record on the B-side to “Once Upon a Time.” But gradually, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” started getting all the airplay and it became a major hit for Bennett, winning him his first Grammy Award. It is his signature song and is beloved by all of his fans.
About This Version
Tony Bennett and Bill Charlap made the first studio recording of “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” since the original 1962 single that hit the world by storm. The recording was included on the 2006 album Duets: An American Classic.
“I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” as well as Duets: An American Classic is available on Apple Music.
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