The song of the day for Thursday, May 10, 2013 is Lost in the Stars.
About This Song
This is the title song from the 1949 musical Lost in the Stars written by Kurt Weill with lyrics and book by Maxwell Anderson. The musical was based on Alan Paton’s 1948 novel Cry, The Beloved Country, based in apartheid South Africa. It was Weill’s last work; he died in 1950.
About This Version
This song has been a part of Tony Bennett’s repertoire since this recording from 1956 and was released as a single as well as included on the 1957 album Tony, his second full album (following Cloud 7).
In writing this blog, I listen to a lot of singing by Tony Bennett. I knew earlier today that I wanted to use Lost in the Stars. The question then remains: the 1962 Carnegie Hall concert version? Or the 1972 version from Life Is Beautiful? Or this once from 1956? All of them are lovely, but this one I find very special.
In listening to some of Tony’s recordings from the 1950s, especially with less profound songs, you can hear him working with material that doesn’t always feel right for him and his voice sometimes sounds forced. But there are also songs, like Lost in the Stars, that he owns and sings them in a such a way that they could have been recorded in any of the decades that he has recorded — the real Tony Bennett sound that we all love. Or, as I have said to my co-blogger, when the producer “let Tony be Tony” in those early days, the results are phenomenal, as they are with Lost in the Stars. It’s a combination of a superb song, the voice, an arrangement that doesn’t try to hide the voice, his impeccable phrasing and the intense emotional context that Bennett brings to his best work.
The very effective arrangement is by Percy Faith and features the guitar of Chuck Wayne, who worked closely with Bennett closely in the 1950s, including Cloud 7.
Lost in the Stars, as well as the remastered album Tony, is available from iTunes.