The song of the day for Saturday, March 7, 2015 is “I Left My Heart In San Francisco.”
About This Song
“I Left My Heart In San Francisco” was written in 1953 by two homesick natives of San Francisco: George Cory and Douglass Cross. It 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 that 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
Today we feature not the original 1962 version, but the version from 2006 that was included on Duets: An American Classic. In this version, he’s accompanied only by Bill Charlap on piano. No worries; it is a solo performance.
NPR did a nice story with Tony Bennett, Phil Ramone and Bill Charlap about the recording of this version, which you can listen to here.
“I Left My Heart In San Francisco,” as well as Duets: An American Classic, is available from iTunes.
For our Saturday video, here’s Tony Bennett singing this song with Judy Garland, from her television program.