The song of the day for Friday, July 12, 2019, is “The Folks That Live on the Hill.”
About This Song
“The Folks That Live on the Hill” was written in 1937 by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein. This song was written for the 1937 movie High, Wide, and Handsome, where it was introduced by Irene Dunne. Bing Crosby recorded it that same year. Peggy Lee recorded it in 1957 for her album The Man I Love, conducted by Frank Sinatra. Other recordings include those by Diana Krall, Jo Stafford, and Nina Simone.
We’ve chosen this song today to honor the great Oscar Hammerstein, who was born as Oscar Greeley Clendenning Ritter von Hammerstein II on July 12, 1895; he died in 1960. His career as a lyricist took off when he worked with Jerome Kern in 1928 with their collaboration on Show Boat. Many years later, Hammerstein’s wife Dorothy bristled when she heard a remark that Jerome Kern had written “Ol’ Man River.” “Indeed not,” she retorted. “Jerome Kern wrote ‘dum, dum, dum-dum.’ My husband wrote ‘Ol’ Man River’.”
After the death of Larry Hart, Hammerstein teamed up with Richard Rodgers for a string of musicals that defined mid-century America, including Oklahoma, Carousel, The King and I, and The Sound of Music. In addition to the lyrics for these musicals, Hammerstein also wrote the book. In addition to this, he was a mentor to a young high school student named Stephen Sondheim.
About This Version
Tony Bennett recorded “The Folks That Live on the Hill” for his 1990 autobiographical album Astoria: Portrait of the Artist. Jorge Callandrelli wrote the arrangement and conducted the orchestra.
The Folks That Live On The Hill, a song by Tony Bennett on Spotify
“The Folks That Live on the Hill,” as well as Astoria: Portrait of the Artist, is available from iTunes.