The song of the day for Wednesday, June 10, 2015 is “Manhattan.”
About This Song
Written for the Garrick Gaieties in 1925, “Manhattan” is an early Rodgers and Hart song. The song was introduced by the Sterling Holloway. The song made its first film appearance the following year in a short entitled Makers of Melody. The song has remained popular up to today and is frequently recorded by jazz and popular singers. In addition to Bennett’s recording, “Manhattan” has been recorded by Blossom Dearie, Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Tormé and Dinah Washington. It is often used in films, including Silent Movie, Mighty Aphrodite and The English Patient.
In 1924, the writing team of Rodgers and Hart seemed rather stalled. So much so that Rodgers felt compelled to look for a day job. A job selling baby’s underwear was offered for $50 a week; Rodgers asked for 24 hours to think it over. That evening during dinner with his parents (or so the story goes), he gets a call with an offer to write the music for the Garrick Gaieties revue. And so they wrote the song “Manhattan.”
About This Version
It’s only natural that Tony Bennett, the ultimate New Yorker, would sing this song by Rodgers and Hart. I really like this arrangement and the work from The Ruby Braff / George Barnes Quartet is perfect.
As you may know, Tony Bennett has the flu and had to cancel his 2nd concert in London. Please join The Year of Tony Bennett in wishing him a speedy recovery.
“Manhattan,” as well as The Complete Improv Recordings, is available from iTunes.